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Lipids

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 209–228 | Cite as

Dietary Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Are Protective Against Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

  • Leah G. Gillingham
  • Sydney Harris-Janz
  • Peter J. H. JonesEmail author
Review

Abstract

Over 50 years of research has sought to define the role dietary fat plays in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Although optimal dietary fat quantity has been keenly pursued over past decades, attention has recently centered on the value of dietary fat quality. The purpose of the present review is to provide a critical assessment of the current body of evidence surrounding efficacy of dietary monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) for reduction of traditional risk factors defining metabolic syndrome (MetS) and CVD. Due to existing and emerging research on health attributes of MUFA rich diets, and to the low prevalence of chronic disease in populations consuming MUFA rich Mediterranean diets, national dietary guidelines are increasingly recommending dietary MUFA, primarily at the expense of saturated fatty acids (SFA). Consumption of dietary MUFA promotes healthy blood lipid profiles, mediates blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity and regulates glucose levels. Moreover, provocative newer data suggest a role for preferential oxidation and metabolism of dietary MUFA, influencing body composition and ameliorating the risk of obesity. Mounting epidemiological and human clinical trial data continue to demonstrate the cardioprotective activity of the MUFA content of dietary fat. As the debate on the optimal fatty acid composition of the diet continues, the benefit of increasing MUFA intakes, particularly as a substitute for dietary SFA, deserves considerable attention.

Keywords

Monounsaturated fatty acids Metabolic Syndrome Cardiovascular disease Fatty acids Lipids Nutrition 

Abbreviations

ALA

Alpha-linolenic acid

BMI

Body mass index

CHD

Coronary heart disease

CHO

Carbohydrate

CVD

Cardiovascular disease

DM

Diabetes mellitus

HDL-C

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol

LF

Lower fat

LNA

Linoleic acid

LDL-C

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

MetS

Metabolic syndrome

MF

Moderate fat

MUFA

Monounsaturated fatty acids

OLA

Oleic acid

PUFA

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

SFA

Saturated fatty acids

STA

Stearic acid

TAG

Triglyceride

TC

Total cholesterol

TFA

Trans fatty acids

Notes

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

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Copyright information

© AOCS 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leah G. Gillingham
    • 1
  • Sydney Harris-Janz
    • 1
  • Peter J. H. Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and NutraceuticalsUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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