Unsaturated Fatty Acids

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids. MUFAs are a unique class of fatty acids that provides great flexibility in diet planning. They can be used to replace SFAs or carbohydrate calories or both. Depending on the substitution made, there can be a variable change in the total fat content of the diet, varying from essentially no or little change to an approximate twofold increase. The impact of these scenarios has already been discussed. In brief, however, diets high in MUFA (that are low in SFA and cholesterol) will lower total and LDL cholesterol and plasma triglycerides and minimize any potential decrease in HDL cholesterol levels (14). In individuals with diabetes, MUFAs improve the glycemic profile (plasma glucose and insulin levels) (15). There is some evidence that MUFAs may decrease susceptibility of LDL particles to oxidative modification (which is an important initiating event in the development of atherosclerosis), thereby reducing their atherogenic potential (16).

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