Current Atherosclerosis Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 391–396 | Cite as

Dietary Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Appear Not to Provide Cardioprotection

  • Chiara Degirolamo
  • Lawrence L. RudelEmail author


Dietary interventions have been consistently proposed as a part of a comprehensive strategy to lower the incidence and severity of coronary heart disease (CHD), in the process providing long-term cardioprotection. Replacement of dietary saturated fatty acids (SFA) with higher intakes of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) has been reported to be inversely associated with risk of CHD. The observed lower incidence of CHD among populations consuming a Mediterranean-type diet, mainly enriched in MUFA from olive oil, has long supported the belief that MUFA are an optimal substitution for SFA. However, both epidemiologic and interventional studies suggest that although substituting MUFA-rich foods for SFA-rich foods in the diet can potentially lower total plasma cholesterol concentrations, this substitution does not lower the extent of coronary artery atherosclerosis. In addition, although recent evidence suggests that the source of MUFA (animal fat vs vegetable oils) may differentially influence the correlation between MUFA intake and CHD mortality, animal studies suggest that neither source is cardioprotective.


Fatty acids Dietary fat Lipoprotein metabolism Atherosclerosis Cholesterol Coronary heart disease Low-density lipoproteins High-density lipoproteins 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Translational PharmacologyConsorzio Mario Negri SudS. Maria ImbaroItaly
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Section on Lipid SciencesWake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA

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