The relationship of dietary fat to plasma lipid levels as studied by factor analysis of adipose tissue fatty acid composition in a free-living population of middle-aged American men

Am J Clin Nutr. 1986 Aug;44(2):220-31. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/44.2.220.


We have used adipose tissue biopsies to assess the quality of fat in the diet and its influence on plasma lipid levels in 413 free-living normolipidemic male subjects. Factor analysis identified three factors which separated the fatty acids on the basis of their chemical structure. F1--monounsaturates--animal fats; F2--saturates--carbohydrates; F3--polyunsaturates--vegetable oils. An increase in F1 was associated with an increase in plasma triglycerides (TG), plasma total cholesterol (TC), and VLDL-C: an increase in F2 led to a decrease in VLDL-C. A rise in F3 was associated with lowered TG, VLDL-C, and HDL-C but increased LDL-C. However, the contribution of each of these factors to the variance in TG, TC, LDL-C, and HDL-C was small, namely: 5.48, 1.30, 2.57, and 2.02%, respectively. A special relationship between F3 and VLDL-C was found such that 16.22% of its variance could be attributed to F3. Our conclusion is that adipose tissue composition and, by implication, the type of dietary fat intake, explains only a small proportion (1-19%) of the variance in plasma lipids in normolipidemic subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / analysis
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Humans
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids