Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Invest. 1990 Jan;85(1):144-51.

A low-fat diet decreases high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels by decreasing HDL apolipoprotein transport rates.

Author information

Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021.


Diets that reduce atherosclerosis risk lower levels of HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), but the significance of this is unclear. To better understand the mechanism of this phenomenon we studied the turnover of HDL apolipoproteins A-I and A-II in 13 subjects on two contrasting metabolic diets. Upon changing from high to low intake of saturated fat and cholesterol the mean HDL-C decreased 29% from 56 +/- 13 (SD) to 40 +/- 10 mg/dl, while apo A-I levels fell 23% from 139 +/- 22 to 107 +/- 22 mg/dl (both P less than 0.001). Mean apo A-II levels did not change. The fractional catabolic rate (FCR) of apo A-I increased 11% from 0.228 +/- 0.048 to 0.254 +/- 0.063 pools/d, while its absolute transport rate (TR) decreased 14% from 12.0 +/- 2.7 to 10.3 +/- 3.4 mg/kg per d (both P = 0.005). The decrease in HDL-C and apo A-I levels correlated with the decrease in apo A-I TR (r = 0.79 and 0.83, respectively; P less than 0.001), but not with the increase in apo A-I FCR (r = -0.04 and -0.02, respectively). In contrast, within each diet the HDL-C and apo A-I levels were inversely correlated with apo A-I FCR both on the high-fat (r = -0.85 and -0.77, P less than 0.001 and = 0.002, respectively) and low-fat diets (r = -0.67 and -0.48, P = 0.012 and 0.098, respectively) but not with apo A-I TR. In summary, diet-induced changes in HDL-C levels correlate with and may result from changes in apo A-I TR. In contrast, differences in HDL-C levels between people on a given diet correlate with and may result from differences in apo A-I FCR. Therefore, the mechanism of dietary effects on HDL levels differs substantially from the mechanism explaining the differences in levels between individuals on a fixed diet. In assessing coronary heart disease risk, it may be inappropriate to conclude that diet-induced decreases in HDL are equivalent to low HDL within a given diet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Society for Clinical Investigation Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center