Partial hydrogenation of oil results in fats containing unusual isomeric fatty acids characterized by cis and trans configurations. Hydrogenated fats containing trans fatty acids increase plasma total cholesterol (TC) and LDL-cholesterol while depressing HDL-cholesterol levels. Identifying the content of trans fatty acids by food labeling is overshadowed by a reluctance of health authorities to label saturates and trans fatty acids separately. Thus, it is pertinent to compare the effects of trans to saturated fatty acids using stable isotope methodology to establish if the mechanism of increase in TC and LDL-cholesterol is due to the increase in the rate of endogenous synthesis of cholesterol. Ten healthy normocholesterolemic female subjects consumed each of two diets containing approximately 30% of energy as fat for a fourweek period. One diet was high in palmitic acid (10.6% of energy) from palm olein and the other diet exchanged 5.6% of energy as partially hydrogenated fat for palmitic acid. This fat blend resulted in monounsaturated fatty acids decreasing by 4.9 % and polyunsaturated fats increasing by 2.7%. The hydrogenated fat diet treatment provided 3.1% of energy as elaidic acid. For each dietary treatment, the fractional synthesis rates for cholesterol were measured using deuterium-labeling procedures and blood samples were obtained for blood lipid and lipoprotein measurements. Subjects exhibited a higher total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol level when consuming the diet containing trans fatty acids while also depressing the HDL-cholesterol level. Consuming the partially hydrogenated fat diet treatment increased the fractional synthesis rate of free cholesterol. Consumption of hydrogenated fats containing trans fatty acids in comparison to a mixtur e of palmitic and oleic acids increase plasma cholesterol levels apparently by increasing endogenous synthesis of cholesterol.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.