Effects of dietary saturated, monounsaturated and n-3 fatty acids on blood pressure in healthy subjects
Background: The quantity and quality of fats consumed in the diet influence the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although the effect of diet on plasma lipids and lipoproteins is well documented, less information exists on the role of fats on blood pressure (BP). Objective: The objective was to evaluate the effects of different types of dietary fat on BP in healthy subjects. Design: Healthy subjects (n = 162) were randomly assigned for 3 mo to follow 1 of 2 isoenergetic diets: 1 rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA diet) and the other rich in saturated fatty acids (SFA diet). Each group was further randomly assigned to receive supplementation with fish oil (3.6 g n−3 fatty acids/d) or placebo. Results: Systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) decreased with the MUFA diet [−2.2% (P = 0.009) and −3.8% (P = 0.0001), respectively] but did not change with the SFA diet [−1.0% (P = 0.2084) and −1.1% (P = 0.2116)]. The MUFA diet caused a significantly lower DBP than did the SFA diet (P = 0.0475). Interestingly, the favorable effects of MUFA on DBP disappeared at a total fat intake above the median (>37% of energy). The addition of n−3 fatty acids influenced neither SBP nor DBP. Conclusions: Changing the proportions of dietary fat by decreasing SFAs and increasing MUFAs decreased diastolic BP. Interestingly, the beneficial effect on BP induced by fat quality was negated by the consumption of a high total fat intake. The addition of n−3 fatty acids to the diet had no significant effect on BP.