Now, a Penn State study provides evidence that the optimum dietary fat isn't one that contains either more PUFAs or more MUFAs, but one that contains a proper balance of both to control cardiovascular risk factors.
In the Penn State study, detailed in the current issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, two heart healthy oils, a new PUFA-rich sunflower oil (NuSun) and the more MUFA-rich olive oil, were compared in a diet designed to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Dr. Penny Kris Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition who directed the study, says, "We expected the PUFAs, which are higher in the sunflower oil than the olive oil, to produce a greater reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels in the study participants -- and they did. The surprise was the fact that the olive oil diet, which is also low in saturated fat, did not lower cholesterol levels compared with the average American diet. Also surprising was that the greater percentage of PUFAs in the NuSun sunflower oil diet did not increase LDL oxidation products that are risk factors for atherosclerosis."
The results are described in the paper, "Balance of Unsaturated Fatty Acids is Important to Cholesterol-Lowering Diet: Comparison of Mid-Oleic Sunflower Oil and Olive Oil on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors." The authors are Dr. Amy E. Binkoski, former Penn State doctoral student, Dr. Penny M. Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutritional sciences, Dr. Thomas W. Wilson, assistant professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Margaret L. Mountain, dietitian, University of Pittsburgh Medical
Contact: Barbara Hale