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Ann Nutr Metab. 2011;59(2-4):176-86. doi: 10.1159/000334071. Epub 2011 Dec 2.

Effects of monounsaturated fatty acids on cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Institute for Nutritional Sciences and Physiology, Hall in Tirol, Austria.


The appropriate pattern of macronutrient distribution for dietary protocols aimed at treating or preventing obesity and its associated cardiovascular diseases is still a controversial topic of discussion. Recommendations considering a specific percentage or range for monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are rare. It was the aim of this study to analyze long-term, randomized, controlled dietary intervention trials and to investigate the effects of MUFA on the biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular risk factors. Dietary regimens with a high amount of MUFA (>12%) were compared to those with ≤12%. The biomarkers taken into account were weight, waist circumference, fat mass, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triacylglycerols, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as C-reactive protein. A total of 12 studies met the inclusion criteria. Data analysis was performed using the Review Manager 5.0.25 software. Significant differences between high- and low-MUFA protocols could be observed with respect to fat mass [-1.94 kg (confidence interval -3.72, -0.17), p = 0.03], systolic blood pressure [-2.26 mm Hg (confidence interval -4.28, -0.25), p = 0.03] and diastolic blood pressure [-1.15 mm Hg (confidence interval -1.96, -0.34), p = 0.005] favoring the dietary protocols with >12% MUFA. Therefore, MUFA might represent a useful tool in the design of dietary regimens for obesity and cardiovascular disease.

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