Author(s): Spritz N, Mishkel MA
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Abstract Several aspects of the effects of dietary fat on plasma lipids and lipoproteins were investigated in 12 subjects during the long-term feeding of formulas containing 40\% of their calories as either saturated or unsaturated fats. The changes in fatty acid composition of plasma lipids, shown previously to occur after prolonged feedings of a dietary fat, required 10-14 days to be complete and were synchronous with the effect of the fat on plasma lipid concentrations. The change in lipid concentration occurred in low but not in high density lipoproteins. The effects on lipid levels of the low density lipoproteins were found to occur with little or no effect on the concentration of the protein moiety of these lipoproteins; as a result, cholesterol- and phospholipid to protein ratios in low density lipoproteins fell during unsaturated fat feeding. The effects of dietary fat on plasma phospholipids were studied in detail: the relative amounts of phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, sphingomyelin, and lysophosphatidylcholine were unaffected by the type of dietary fat. However, the molecular species of phosphatidylcholine were markedly affected. More than 90\% of the fatty acids at the alpha-position were saturated during both saturated and unsaturated feedings. In contrast, during unsaturated feedings, linoleate at the beta-position outnumbered oleate by approximately 4:1, whereas during saturated feedings these two types of fatty acids were present in nearly equal amounts.This paper also presents the following hypothesis for the lipid-lowering effect of unsaturated dietary fat: since unsaturated fatty acids occupy a greater area than saturated acids, they alter the spatial configuration of the lipids into which they are incorporated; as a result, fewer lipid molecules can be accommodated by the apoprotein of the low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and thus the lipid content of the lipoprotein is lowered. The experimental findings of this study, while not proving this hypothesis, are consistent with it.
This article was published in J Clin Invest
and referenced in Endocrinology & Metabolic Syndrome