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BACKGROUND AND AIM: Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat reduces plasma cholesterol concentrations; however, it has not been well documented how rapidly the decline occurs nor how long is required to reach the maximum cholesterol-lowering effect. The aim of the present study was to determine the time course of change in plasma cholesterol concentrations when participants adopt a lipid-lowering diet. METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants (n = 19) were asked to follow for 19 days a diet high in saturated fat and then crossed over--without washout--for 19 days to a diet high in n-6 polyunsaturated fat. Participants were asked to maintain a total fat intake of 30-33% of total energy on both diets. Energy and nutrient intakes were assessed by self-reported food records covering 3 days. Plasma total cholesterol concentrations were measured on days 0, 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, and 19 of the n-6 polyunsaturated fat rich diet. Mean (95% CI) plasma total cholesterol concentration declined from 5.10 mmol/L (4.77, 5.46) at day 0 to 4.25 mmol/L (3.83, 4.67) on day 12 and remained unchanged at 4.23 mmol/L (3.85, 4.61) on day 19. A statistically significant decrease in plasma cholesterol concentration was achieved on day 2 of the intervention; by day 5, 59% (0.51 mmol/L) of the maximum reduction (0.87 mmol/L) had been reached. CONCLUSIONS: Adopting a lipid lowering diet initiates an immediate decline in plasma cholesterol concentration, the full effect of which is achieved within two weeks.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis

Publication Date

10/2002

Volume

12

Pages

291 - 295

Keywords

Adult, Cholesterol, Cross-Over Studies, Diet Records, Diet, Fat-Restricted, Dietary Fats, Dietary Fats, Unsaturated, Fatty Acids, Omega-6, Fatty Acids, Unsaturated, Female, Humans, Hypercholesterolemia, Male, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome