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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;69(6):1135-43.

Differential effects of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids on postprandial lipemia and incretin responses in healthy subjects.

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Aarhus Amtssygehus, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.



Elevations of postprandial triacylglycerol-rich plasma lipoproteins and suppressions of HDL-cholesterol concentrations are considered potentially atherogenic. Long-term studies have shown beneficial effects of monounsaturated fatty acids (eg, oleic acid) on fasting lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in humans. A direct stimulatory effect of oleic acid on the secretion of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) was shown in animal studies.


We compared the postprandial responses of glucose, insulin, fatty acids, triacylglycerol, gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), and GLP-1 to test meals rich in saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.


Ten young, lean, healthy persons ingested 3 meals: an energy-free soup consumed with 50 g carbohydrate (control meal), the control meal plus 100 g butter, and the control meal plus 80 g olive oil. Triacylglycerol and retinyl palmitate responses were measured in total plasma, in a chylomicron-rich fraction, and in a chylomicron-poor fraction.


No significant differences in glucose, insulin, or fatty acid responses to the 2 fat-rich meals were seen. Plasma triacylglycerol responses were highest after the butter meal, with chylomicron triacylglycerol rising 2.5-5-fold. Retinyl palmitate responses were higher and more prolonged after the butter meal than after the control and olive oil meals, whereas both postprandial HDL-cholesterol concentrations and GLP-1 and GIP responses were higher after the olive oil meal than after the butter meal.


Olive oil induced lower triacylglycerol concentrations and higher HDL-cholesterol concentrations than butter, without eliciting differences in concentrations of glucose, insulin, or fatty acids. Furthermore, olive oil induced higher concentrations of GLP-1 and GIP than did butter, which may point to a relation between fatty acid composition, incretin responses, and triacylglycerol metabolism in the postprandial phase.

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