Background: Public health strategies to lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk involve reducing dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake to ≤10% of total energy (%TE). However, the optimal type of replacement fat is unclear.
Objective: We investigated the substitution of 9.5-9.6%TE dietary SFAs with either monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) or n-6 (ω-6) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on vascular function and other CVD risk factors.
Design: In a randomized, controlled, single-blind, parallel-group dietary intervention, 195 men and women aged 21-60 y from the United Kingdom with moderate CVD risk (≥50% above the population mean) followed one of three 16-wk isoenergetic diets (%TE target compositions, total fat:SFA:MUFA:n-6 PUFA) that were rich in SFAs (36:17:11:4, n = 65), MUFAs (36:9:19:4, n = 64), or n-6 PUFAs (36:9:13:10, n = 66). The primary outcome measure was flow-mediated dilatation; secondary outcome measures included fasting serum lipids, microvascular reactivity, arterial stiffness, ambulatory blood pressure, and markers of insulin resistance, inflammation, and endothelial activation.
Results: Replacing SFAs with MUFAs or n-6 PUFAs did not affect the percentage of flow-mediated dilatation (primary endpoint) or other measures of vascular reactivity. Of the secondary outcome measures, substitution of SFAs with MUFAs attenuated the increase in night systolic blood pressure (-4.9 mm Hg, P = 0.019) and reduced E-selectin (-7.8%, P = 0.012). Replacement with MUFAs or n-6 PUFAs lowered fasting serum total cholesterol (-8.4% and -9.2%, respectively), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (-11.3% and -13.6%), and total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio (-5.6% and -8.5%) (P ≤ 0.001). These changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol equate to an estimated 17-20% reduction in CVD mortality.
Conclusions: Substitution of 9.5-9.6%TE dietary SFAs with either MUFAs or n-6 PUFAs did not significantly affect the percentage of flow-mediated dilatation or other measures of vascular function. However, the beneficial effects on serum lipid biomarkers, blood pressure, and E-selectin offer a potential public health strategy for CVD risk reduction. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01478958.
Keywords: blood pressure; dietary fatty acids; flow-mediated dilatation; lipids; vascular function.
© 2015 American Society for Nutrition.