In order to inform and contribute to the development of updated WHO recommendations on SFA intake, this study reviewed and meta-analyzed the effect of modifying SFA intake on serum lipid and lipoprotein levels by exchanging SFA with cis-monounsaturated fatty acids (cis-MUFA), cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids (cis-PUFA) or carbohydrates.
Effects on the serum lipoprotein profile of reducing SFA intake by replacing a mixture of SFA with cis-PUFA (predominantly linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid) or cis-MUFA (predominantly oleic acid) were more favourable than replacing SFA with a mixture of carbohydrates.
Differences in effects of the individual SFA on the serum lipoprotein profile were observed. Compared with a mixture of carbohydrates, an increased intake of lauric (C12:0), myristic (C14:0) or palmitic acid (C16:0) raised serum total, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, and lowered triglyceride levels, while increased intake of stearic acid (C18:0) did not appear to have a significant effect on these or other serum lipid values.
Figure 1A and 1B. Predicted changes in the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and in LDL- and HDL-cholesterol concentrations when carbohydrates constituting 1% of energy are replaced iso-energetically with SFA, cis-MUFA or cis-PUFA.
Figure2. Predicted changes in the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and in LDL- and HDL-cholesterol concentrations when carbohydrates constituting 1% of energy are replaced isoenergetically with lauric acid (12:0), myristic acid (C14:0) palmitic acid (C16:0) or stearic acid (C18:0).
These studies largely confirm the conclusions from earlier publications on SFA (Mensink, 2003), with only minor changes as result of slightly different criteria for inclusion of individual studies.
The study can be downloaded here.