The serum LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is influenced more favorably by exchanging saturated with unsaturated fat than by reducing saturated fat in the diet of women.J Nutr. 2003 Jan; 133(1):78-83.JN
We compared the effects of a high fat diet [38.4% of energy (E%) from fat; HSAFA diet, polyunsaturated/saturated fatty acid (P/S) ratio = 0.14], a low fat diet (19.7 E% from fat; LSAFA diet, P/S = 0.17), both based on coconut oil, and a diet with a high content of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; 38.2 E% from fat; HUFA diet, P/S = 1.9) on serum lipoproteins. The 25 women studied consumed each diet for 3-wk periods in a crossover design. The two high fat diets were identical except for the quality of the test fat. The LSAFA diet was identical to the HSAFA diet except that half the fat was replaced by carbohydrates. Serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and apoB concentrations did not differ between the HSAFA and the LSAFA diet periods. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and apoB were lower when women consumed the HUFA diet than when they consumed the other two diets. HDL cholesterol and apoA-I were 15 and 11%, respectively, higher when women consumed the HSAFA diet than when they consumed the LSAFA diet; HDL cholesterol and apoA-I were lower when women consumed the HUFA diet than when they consumed the HSAFA diet, but not the LSAFA diet. The LDL cholesterol/HDL cholesterol and apoB/apoA-I ratios were higher when women consumed the LSAFA diet than when they consumed the HSAFA diet. The LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio was higher when women consumed either the LSAFA or the HSAFA diet than when they consumed the HUFA diet, whereas apoB/apoA-I was higher when women consumed the LSAFA diet than when they consumed the HUFA diet. Triacylglycerol and VLDL cholesterol were higher when women consumed the LSAFA diet than when they consumed either the HSAFA or the HUFA diet. We conclude that, to influence the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, changing the proportions of dietary fatty acids may be more important than restricting the percentage of total or saturated fat energy, at least when derived mainly from lauric and myristic acids, both of which increase HDL cholesterol.