Pivotal study showed blended fats were superior to high-PUFA or high-MUFA diets in blood cholesterol benefits

Double-blind crossover study1 of healthy normocholesterolemic male volunteers fed carefully designed whole food diets enriched by one of three fat designs: low SAT/high MUFA (primarily from canola oil), high SAT/low PUFA (primarily from palm olein), or the carefully proportioned fat blend found in Smart Balance® Spreads. Each diet supplied approximately 31% energy as fat and <200 mg of cholesterol/day. Serum total cholesterol (TC), very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C), and LDL-C were not significantly affected by any diet. However, both the low SAT/high MUFA and high SAT/low PUFA diets depressed high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) significantly relative to the blended fat diet. Further, the blended fat diet significantly increased HDL-C and lowered the LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio relative to the high MUFA or low PUFA diets.

Today's research shows the benefits of including some saturated fats in a healthy diet
  • Improved HDL-C—In a crossover study2 of healthy women, Müller et al showed that a diet containing saturated fats improved HDL-C and apoA-1 to a greater extent than diets very high in PUFA or MUFA at the expense of saturates, leading the authors to conclude that “…changing the proportions of dietary fatty acids may be more important than restricting the percentage of total or saturated fat energy…” Read abstract

  • May support healthy circulation—Mozaffarian et al3 surprisingly found that in postmenopausal women with relatively low fat intake, a greater intake of saturated fat was associated with improved circulation. Read abstract

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References: 1. Sundram K, Hayes KC, Siru OH. Both dietary 18:2 and 16:0 may be required to improve the serum LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio in normocholesterolemic men. J Nutr Biochem. 1995;6:179–187. 2. Müller H, Lindman AS, Brantsaeter AL, Pedersen JI. The serum LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is influenced more favorably by exchanging saturated with unsaturated fat than by reducing saturated fat in the diet of women. J Nutr. 2003;133:78–83. 3. Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB, Herrington DM. Dietary fats, carbohydrate, and progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:1175–1184.