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Concept: Unsaturated fat


To systematically review associations between intake of saturated fat and trans unsaturated fat and all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated mortality, coronary heart disease (CHD) and associated mortality, ischemic stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Concepts: Hypertension, Heart disease, Heart, Fat, Saturated fat, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Unsaturated fat


BACKGROUND: Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) dietary fiber, essential nutrients and phytochemicals. However, no epidemiologic data exist on their effects on diet quality, weight management and other metabolic disease risk factors. The objective of this research was to investigate the relationships between avocado consumption and overall diet quality, energy and nutrient intakes, physiological indicators of health, and risk of metabolic syndrome. METHODS: Avocado consumption and nutrition data were based on 24-hour dietary recalls collected by trained NHANES interviewers using the USDA Automated Multiple Pass Method (AMPM). Physiological data were collected from physical examinations conducted in NHANES Mobile Examination Centers. Diet quality was calculated using the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index-2005. Subjects included 17,567 US adults >19 years of age (49% female), including 347 avocado consumers (50% female), examined in NHANES 2001–2008. Least square means, standard errors, and ANOVA were determined using appropriate sample weights, with adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and other covariates depending on dependent variable of interest. RESULTS: Avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of vegetables (p < 0.05); fruit, diet quality, total fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, dietary fiber, vitamins E, K, magnesium, and potassium (p < 0.0001); vitamin K (p = 0.0013); and lower intakes of added sugars (p < 0.0001). No significant differences were seen in calorie or sodium intakes. Body weight, BMI, and waist circumference were significantly lower (p < 0.01), and HDL-C was higher (p < 0.01) in avocado consumers. The odds ratio for metabolic syndrome was 50% (95th CI: 0.32-0.72) lower in avocado consumers vs. non-consumers. CONCLUSIONS: Avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. Dietitians should be aware of the beneficial associations between avocado intake, diet and health when making dietary recommendations.

Concepts: Obesity, Monounsaturated fat, Unsaturated fat, Avocado, Epidemiology, Vitamin, Fat, Nutrition


The obesity epidemic in the U.S. has led to extensive research into potential contributing dietary factors, especially fat and fructose. Recently, increased consumption of soybean oil, which is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), has been proposed to play a causal role in the epidemic. Here, we designed a series of four isocaloric diets (HFD, SO-HFD, F-HFD, F-SO-HFD) to investigate the effects of saturated versus unsaturated fat, as well as fructose, on obesity and diabetes. C57/BL6 male mice fed a diet moderately high in fat from coconut oil and soybean oil (SO-HFD, 40% kcal total fat) showed statistically significant increases in weight gain, adiposity, diabetes, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance compared to mice on a diet consisting primarily of coconut oil (HFD). They also had fatty livers with hepatocyte ballooning and very large lipid droplets as well as shorter colonic crypt length. While the high fructose diet (F-HFD) did not cause as much obesity or diabetes as SO-HFD, it did cause rectal prolapse and a very fatty liver, but no balloon injury. The coconut oil diet (with or without fructose) increased spleen weight while fructose in the presence of soybean oil increased kidney weight. Metabolomics analysis of the liver showed an increased accumulation of PUFAs and their metabolites as well as γ-tocopherol, but a decrease in cholesterol in SO-HFD. Liver transcriptomics analysis revealed a global dysregulation of cytochrome P450 (Cyp) genes in SO-HFD versus HFD livers, most notably in the Cyp3a and Cyp2c families. Other genes involved in obesity (e.g., Cidec, Cd36), diabetes (Igfbp1), inflammation (Cd63), mitochondrial function (Pdk4) and cancer (H19) were also upregulated by the soybean oil diet. Taken together, our results indicate that in mice a diet high in soybean oil is more detrimental to metabolic health than a diet high in fructose or coconut oil.

Concepts: Unsaturated fat, Glucose, Insulin, Metabolism, Fat, Saturated fat, Obesity, Nutrition


Over-nutrition has fuelled the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes, but the role of individual macronutrients to the diabetogenic process is not well delineated. We aimed to examine the impact of dietary fatty acid intake on fasting and 2-hour plasma glucose concentrations, as well as tissue-specific insulin action governing each. Normoglycemic controls (n = 15), athletes (n = 14), and obese (n = 23), as well as people with prediabetes (n = 10) and type 2 diabetes (n = 11), were queried about their habitual diet using a Food Frequency Questionnaire. All subjects were screened by an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and studied using the hyperinsulinemic/euglycemic clamp with infusion of 6,62H2-glucose. Multiple regression was performed to examine relationships between dietary fat intake and 1) fasting plasma glucose, 2) % suppression of endogenous glucose production, 3) 2-hour post-OGTT plasma glucose, and 4) skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity (glucose rate of disappearance (Rd) and non-oxidative glucose disposal (NOGD)). The %kcal from saturated fat (SFA) was positively associated with fasting (β = 0.303, P = 0.018) and 2-hour plasma glucose (β = 0.415, P<0.001), and negatively related to % suppression of hepatic glucose production (β = -0.245, P = 0.049), clamp Rd (β = -0.256, P = 0.001) and NOGD (β = -0.257, P = 0.001). The %kcal from trans fat was also negatively related to clamp Rd (β = -0.209, P = 0.008) and NOGD (β = -0.210, P = 0.008). In contrast, the %kcal from polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) was negatively associated with 2-hour glucose levels (β = -0.383, P = 0.001), and positively related to Rd (β = 0.253, P = 0.007) and NOGD (β = 0.246, P = 0.008). Dietary advice to prevent diabetes should consider the underlying pathophysiology of the prediabetic state.

Concepts: Unsaturated fat, Fat, Blood sugar, Saturated fat, Glucose tolerance test, Diabetes mellitus, Insulin, Nutrition


BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that dietary patterns are associated with future risk of depressive symptoms. However, there is a paucity of prospective data that have examined the temporality of this relation. OBJECTIVE: We examined whether adherence to a healthy diet, as defined by using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), was prospectively associated with depressive symptoms assessed over a 5-y period. DESIGN: Analyses were based on 4215 participants in the Whitehall II Study. AHEI scores were computed in 1991-1993 and 2003-2004. Recurrent depressive symptoms were defined as having a Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score ≥16 or self-reported use of antidepressants in 2003-2004 and 2008-2009. RESULTS: After adjustment for potential confounders, the AHEI score was inversely associated with recurrent depressive symptoms in a dose-response fashion in women (P-trend < 0.001; for 1 SD in AHEI score; OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.47, 0.75) but not in men. Women who maintained high AHEI scores or improved their scores during the 10-y measurement period had 65% (OR: 0.35%; 95% CI: 0.19%, 0.64%) and 68% (OR: 0.32%; 95% CI: 0.13%, 0.78%) lower odds of subsequent recurrent depressive symptoms than did women who maintained low AHEI scores. Among AHEI components, vegetable, fruit, trans fat, and the ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat components were associated with recurrent depressive symptoms in women. CONCLUSION: In the current study, there was a suggestion that poor diet is a risk factor for future depression in women.

Concepts: Whitehall Study, Polyunsaturated fat, Health, Unsaturated fat, Trans fat, Saturated fat, Epidemiology, Nutrition


Infant dietary patterns tend to be insufficient sources of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, as well as excessive in salt, added sugars, and overall energy. Despite the serious long-term health risks associated with suboptimal fruit and vegetable intake, a large percentage of infants and toddlers in the U.S. do not consume any fruits or vegetables on a daily basis. Since not all fruits and vegetables are nutritionally similar, guidance on the optimal selection of fruits and vegetables should emphasize those with the greatest potential for nutrition and health benefits. A challenge is that the most popularly consumed fruits for this age group (i.e., apples, pears, bananas, grapes, strawberries) do not closely fit the current general recommendations since they tend to be overly sweet and/or high in sugar. Unsaturated oil-containing fruits such as avocados are nutritionally unique among fruits in that they are lower in sugar and higher in fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids than most other fruits, and they also have the proper consistency and texture for first foods with a neutral flavor spectrum. Taken together, avocados show promise for helping to meet the dietary needs of infants and toddlers, and should be considered for inclusion in future dietary recommendations for complementary and transitional feeding.

Concepts: Tomato, Sugar, Vegetarian cuisine, Food, Unsaturated fat, Vegetable, Fruit, Nutrition


Effects of major dietary macronutrients on glucose-insulin homeostasis remain controversial and may vary by the clinical measures examined. We aimed to assess how saturated fat (SFA), monounsaturated fat (MUFA), polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), and carbohydrate affect key metrics of glucose-insulin homeostasis.

Concepts: Diet and heart disease, Trans fat, Polyunsaturated fat, Fatty acids, Saturated fat, Lipids, Unsaturated fat, Nutrition


To determine health and equity benefits and cost effectiveness of policies to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids from processed foods, compared with consumption remaining at most recent levels in England.

Concepts: Butter, Fatty acids, Unsaturated fat, Heart disease, Saturated fat, Hydrogenation, Nutrition


Saturated fat (SFA), ω-6 (n-6) polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), and trans fat (TFA) influence risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but attributable CHD mortalities by country, age, sex, and time are unclear.

Concepts: Fatty acids, Lipids, Essential fatty acid, Trans fat, Unsaturated fat, Polyunsaturated fat, Nutrition, Saturated fat


Cardiovascular diseases and cancers are leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Reducing dietary saturated fat and replacing it with polyunsaturated fat is still the main dietary strategy to prevent cardiovascular diseases, although major flaws have been reported in the analyses supporting this approach. Recent studies introducing the concept of myocardial preconditioning have opened new avenues to understand the complex interplay between the various lipids and the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The optimal dietary fat profile includes a low intake of both saturated and omega-6 fatty acids and a moderate intake of omega-3 fatty acids. This profile is quite similar to the Mediterranean diet. On the other hand, recent studies have found a positive association between omega-6 and breast cancer risk. In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids do have anticancer properties. It has been shown that certain (Mediterranean) polyphenols significantly increase the endogenous synthesis of omega-3 whereas high intake of omega-6 decreases it. Finally, epidemiological studies suggest that a high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio may be the optimal strategy to decrease breast cancer risk. Thus, the present high intake of omega-6 in many countries is definitely not the optimal strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancers. A moderate intake of plant and marine omega-3 in the context of the traditional Mediterranean diet (low in saturated and omega-6 fatty acids but high in plant monounsaturated fat) appears to be the best approach to reduce the risk of both cardiovascular diseases and cancers, in particular breast cancer.

Concepts: Fat, Lipids, Fatty acids, Fatty acid, Unsaturated fat, Essential fatty acid, Saturated fat, Nutrition