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J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):131-40.

Effect of low and high fat diets on nutrient intakes and selected cardiovascular risk factors in sedentary men and women.

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Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Professions and School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.



The desired level of dietary fat intake is controversial. The effect of decreasing fat intake to 19% and increasing it to 50% from a control diet of 30% on nutritional status and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy individuals was studied.


Eleven healthy subjects (5 men and 6 women) were randomized to consume diets with 19% and 50% calories from fat. Each diet lasted 3 weeks, with a one-week washout. The habitual and washout diets were determined to be 30% fat. At the beginning and the end of each diet, fasting blood was collected to determine plasma lipoproteins, and physiological factors were measured.


Total caloric expenditure was similarly balanced to intake on the 30% and 50% fat diets, but intake was significantly lower on the 19% fat diet and led to a loss of 0.6 kg body weight. Consumptions of essential fatty acids, vitamin E and zinc were improved with increased fat intake, but folate intake was compromised on the 30% and 50% fat diets. Compared with the 50% fat diet, subjects consuming the 19% fat diet had significantly lower HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) (54 +/- 3 vs. 63 +/- 3 mg. dL(-1), p < 0.05) and apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) (118 +/- 4 vs. 127 +/- 3 mg/dL, p < 0.05). Changing the levels of fat intake did not affect % body fat, heart rate, blood pressure, blood triglycerides, total cholesterol (TC), LDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B (ApoB), TC/HDL-C and ApoA1/ApoB ratios.


A low fat diet (19%) may not provide sufficient calories, essential fatty acids, and some micronutrients (especially vitamin E and zinc) for healthy untrained individuals, and it also lowered ApoA1 and HDL-C. Increasing fat intake to 50% of calories improved nutritional status, and did not negatively affect certain cardiovascular risk factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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