Does a diet high or low in fat influence the oxidation potential of VLDL, LDL and HDL subfractions?

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Background and aims
High-fat diets have become increasingly popular for weight-loss, but their effect on the oxidation potential of lipoprotein subfractions has not been studied. Therefore, this study compared the effects of high-fat vs. low-fat weight reduction diets on this parameter.

Methods and results
Very-low, low- and high-density lipoprotein (VLDL, LDL & HDL) subfractions were isolated by rapid ultracentrifugation from 24-overweight/obese subjects randomised to a high- or low-fat diet. The lipoprotein subfractions were assessed for oxidation potential by measuring conjugated diene (CD) production and time at half maximum. We found a significant between-group difference in oxidation potential. Specifically, a high-fat diet led to increased CD production in VLDLA–D and HDL2&3, and a prolongation of time at half maximum. Within-group differences found that CDs increased in VLDLA&D, LDLI–III and HDL2&3 in the high-fat group and fell in VLDLA–C and HDL2&3 and increased in LDLI&II, in the low-fat group. Furthermore, following both diets all lipoprotein subfractions, except LDLII in the low-fat group, were protected against oxidation.

These results demonstrate that at first glance, a high-fat diet may be indicative of having heart-protective properties. However, this may be erroneous, as although the time for oxidation to occur was prolonged, once this occurred these lipoproteins had the potential to produce significantly more oxidised substrate. Conversely, a low-fat diet may be considered anti-atherogenic, as these subfractions were protected against oxidation and mainly contained fewer oxidised substrate. Thus, increased fat intake may, by increasing the oxidation product within lipoprotein subfractions, increase cardiovascular disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-618
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Early online date14 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2013


  • High-fat/low-fat weight reduction diets
  • VLDL, LDL and HDL oxidation
  • Conjugated dienes


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