HealthDay News — In weight gain, polyunsaturated fats appear to be less detrimental to cardiovascular health compared with saturated fat, results of a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association indicate.

“The possibility of preventing or reversing cardiovascular disease by dietary interventions has received much interest recently, and the potential anti‐atherogenic effects of unsaturated fats in particular,” noted David Iggman, MD, of Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues.

To evaluate the effects of different cooking fats, the investigators tasked 39 healthy participants, aged 27 years on average, with increasing their body weight by 3% by eating four muffins containing either unsaturated fat or saturated fat per day.

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Over seven weeks, participants in both groups gained about 2.2% of their body weight. Those who ate muffins containing unsaturated fat had lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol compared with those whose muffins were made with saturated fat.

LDL levels between the groups differed by 9%; overall cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio differed as much as 18%, reported the scientists.

“[Dietary fat composition] seems to be important during weight gain, which is a novel finding that could have clinical implications in the long term,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Iggman D et al. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014; doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001095