To evaluate the effects of a trans fat-free monounsaturated fatty acid-rich vegetable oil (NuSun sunflower oil, National Sunflower Association, Bismark, ND) that is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and low in saturated fatty acids on lipid and lipoprotein levels and oxidative stress.
A double-blinded, randomized, three period crossover, controlled feeding study.
Thirty-one men (n=12) and women (n=19) with moderate hypercholesterolemia who were 25 to 64 years of age.
Experimental diets provided 30% fat (olive oil or NuSun sunflower oil contributed one half of the total fat), 8.3% vs 7.9% saturated fatty acid, 17.2% vs 14.2% monounsaturated fatty acid, and 4.3% vs. 7.7% PUFA (olive oil and NuSun sunflower oil, respectively), and 294 mg cholesterol. The control diet was an average American diet (34% fat, 11.2% saturated fatty acid, 14.9% monounsaturated fatty acid, 7.8% PUFA). Subjects consumed each diet for 4 weeks with a 2-week compliance break before crossing over to another diet.
Lipid and lipoprotein levels were measured, and measures of oxidative stress, including lag time, rate of oxidation, total dienes, and lipid hydroperoxides, were assessed.
The mixed model procedure was used to test for main effects of diet, feeding period, and order of diets. Tukey-Kramer adjusted P values were used to determine diet effects.
The NuSun sunflower oil diet decreased both total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels compared with the average American diet and the olive oil diet. There was no effect of the olive oil diet compared with the average American diet. Total cholesterol decreased 4.7% and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased 5.8% on the NuSun sunflower oil diet vs the average American diet. There was no effect of the experimental diets on triglyceride levels, rate of oxidation, total dienes, lipid hydroperoxides, or alpha-tocopherol. Lag time was the longest following the olive oil diet and shortest following the NuSun sunflower oil diet.
The higher PUFA content appeared to account for the greater total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering and reduction in lag time of the NuSun sunflower oil diet. However, the fact that there were no differences in the resulting oxidation products suggests there were no adverse effects on low-density lipoprotein oxidation. Since PUFAs are important for cholesterol lowering, foods that replace saturated fatty acids should include a balance of unsaturated fatty acids.