Effect of monounsaturated fatty acids versus complex carbohydrates on high-density lipoproteins in healthy men and women

Lancet. 1987 Jan 17;1(8525):122-5. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(87)91965-9.


The effects of two strictly controlled diets, one rich in complex carbohydrates, the other rich in olive oil, on serum lipids were studied in healthy men and women. Serum cholesterol levels fell on average by 0.44 mmol/l in the carbohydrate group and 0.46 mmol/l in the olive oil group. HDL cholesterol levels fell by 0.19 mmol/l in the carbohydrate group and rose by 0.03 mmol/l in the olive oil group. Serum triglycerides rose by 0.19 mmol/l in the carbohydrate group and fell by 0.06 mmol/l in the olive oil group. The changes in both HDL and triglycerides were larger in men than in women. These results clearly show that the olive-oil-rich diet, unlike the complex-carbohydrate-rich diet, caused a specific fall in non-HDL cholesterol while leaving serum triglyceride levels virtually unchanged.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol