Results from a recent Norwegian study suggest that exchanging a few routinely consumed foods with foods containing improved fat quality can significantly reduce total cholesterol levels.
At present, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains an important determinant of disease globally. Research has shown that raised levels of LDL-cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, an excess of which can be detrimental to health) is a well-known predictor of developing CVD; studies have also indicated that moderating nutritional fatty acids plays a fundamental role in altering the risk of CVD. Notably, a wealth of evidence has supported the conception that the replacement of SFA (saturated fats which are solid at room temperature, such as lard), with PUFA (polyunsaturated fats that are liquid at room temperature, for instance corn oil or sunflower seed oil) will result in a decrease in CVD risk. Prior research has also verified that adhering to a Nordic diet has positively affected fats in the blood amongst people at risk of developing CVD. A minuscule amount of research in the form of randomized controlled trials has examined the effects of replacing the consumption of a few food items with comparable food items containing superior fat quality. The primary aim of this study was to discern the effect of replacing regularly consumed foods with comparable food items with enhanced fat quality in a group of healthy Norwegian participants with moderate hypercholesterolemia (a condition characterized by excess cholesterol levels within the blood) over the course of 8 weeks.
Data from 90 participants in total were incorporated into the analysis. No significant variations in demographic characteristics existed between the control diet group and the experimental diet group. Once the study had concluded, the experimental diet group experienced substantial changes in the total amount of fatty acids when compared to the control diet group. Adhering to the diet involving better fat quality food items also resulted in a significant reduction in total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein which is regarded as protective), and LDL-cholesterol among the experimental diet group. Moreover, no substantial effects involving glucose, insulin, or blood pressure levels was observed. However, a noteworthy change in body weight among the control diet group was recorded.
Overall, this study provides evidence that replacing a grouping of routinely consumed foods with foods possessing better fat quality was easy to implement, compliance to dietary changes such as these can be high, and can precipitate reductions in cholesterol levels. In other words, this study demonstrated that reducing the SFA consumption and increasing the PUFA intake decreased total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels by 9% and 11%, respectively, in comparison to those that adhered to the control diet.
Written By: Melissa Booker