The aim of this thesis was to investigate how dietary fatty acids affect the risk for cardiometabolic disease, i.e. cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes and obesity. The overall hypothesis was that unsaturated fatty acids and especially the predominant polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) linoleic acid (LA), 18:2n-6, would decrease cardiometabolic risk compared with saturated fatty acids (SFAs), in line with current recommendations to partly replace dietary SFA with PUFA.
Papers I and V were observational studies based on the community-based cohort Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men (ULSAM). Adipose tissue fatty acid composition was determined as biomarker for dietary fat intake. Studies II, III and IV were randomised short-term interventions on human volunteers, in which different dietary fats were provided to the participants.
In 71-year-old men, adipose tissue LA and α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) were associated with insulin sensitivity (euglycaemic clamp), although this association was diminished for LA after adjusting for lifestyle variables. Different SFA displayed divergent associations; only palmitic acid (16:0) was inversely associated with insulin sensitivity (Paper I). In Cox regression analyses, LA was modestly associated with decreased all-cause mortality, but not CVD mortality during 15 years follow-up (Paper V).
In a 3+3-week cross-over study on 20 weight-stable volunteers with dyslipidaemia, all foods were provided. A rapeseed oil-based diet distinctly lowered low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides compared with a dairy-fat based diet (butter, cream and fatty cheese). Insulin sensitivity or coagulation factors were not affected (Paper II).
In a 10-week randomised trial on 67 abdominally obese participants, PUFA (mostly sunflower oil) decreased liver fat compared with SFA (mostly butter) under isocaloric conditions. In individuals considered highly compliant to study diets, lipoproteins were also decreased during the PUFA diet (Paper III).
In a 7-week double-blind randomised trial on 41 healthy volunteers, PUFA (sunflower oil) decreased the total:HDL cholesterol ratio compared with SFA (palm oil) during moderate weight gain (1.5 kg) (Paper IV).
In conclusion, LA (PUFA) intake is associated with decreased cardiometabolic risk compared with higher SFA intake, overall supporting a beneficial role of non-tropical vegetable oils in place of solid fats in preventing fatty liver and cardiometabolic disorders.
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. , 74 p.
2015-08-21, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)