Effects of a High Oleic Acid Beef Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors of Human Subjects
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The consumption of high-fat hamburger enriched with saturated fatty acids (SFA) and trans-fatty acids (TFA) may increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease, whereas hamburger enriched with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) may have the opposite effect. Ten mildly hypercholesterolemic men consumed five, 114-g hamburger patties per week for two consecutive phases. Participants consumed low-MUFA (high SFA) hamburger (MUFA:SFA = 0.95; produced from pasture-fed cattle) for 5 wk, consumed their habitual diets for 3 wk, and then consumed high-MUFA hamburger (MUFA:SFA = 1.31; produced from grain-fed cattle) for 5 wk. These MUFA:SFA were typical of ranges observed for retail ground beef. Relative to habitual levels and levels during the high-MUFA phase, the low-MUFA hamburger: increased plasma palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, and triacylglycerols (P < 0.01); decreased HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) and LDL particle diameter percentile distributions (P < 0.05); and had no effect on LDL-C or plasma glucose (P > 0.10). Plasma palmitoleic acid was positively correlated with triacylglycerols (r = 0.90), VLDL-C (r = 0.73), and the LDL:HDL (r = 0.45), and was negatively correlated with plasma HDL-C (r = -0.58), whereas plasma palmitic, stearic, and oleic acid were negatively correlated with LDL particle diameter (all P <= 0.05). Because plasma palmitoleic acid was derived from [delta]9 desaturation of palmitic acid in the liver, we conclude that alterations in hepatic stearoyl-CoA desaturase activity may have been responsible for the variation in HDL-C and triacylglycerols caused by the low-MUFA and high-MUFA hamburgers. Cattle with a genetic predisposition to deposit MUFA in their lean and fat tissues, such as Wagyu cattle can be used to produce beef products that are especially enriched with oleic acid and lower in SFA and TFA, and feeding practices can further enhance the composition of beef fat. This indicates that ground beef or hamburger products can be produced that are naturally enriched with oleic acid, and conversely that certain production practices can impair the nutritional quality of beef fat. Finally, we cannot discern from this study design whether the high-MUFA hamburger reversed the effects of the low-MUFA hamburger, or whether the subjects gradually adapted to the elevated intake of total fat. It is clear, however, that the high-MUFA hamburger did not exacerbate any of the effects of the low-MUFA hamburger and can be viewed as at least neutral in its effects on HDL-C and triacylglycerols.
trans fatty acids
saturated fatty acids
Adams, Thaddeus Hunter (2012). Effects of a High Oleic Acid Beef Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors of Human Subjects. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from