Polyunsaturated Fats May Alleviate Adverse Effects of Weight Gain

(HealthDay News) — When gaining weight, polyunsaturated fats appear to be less detrimental to cardiovascular health than saturated fats, according to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

In an effort to evaluate the effects of different cooking fats, Ulf Risérus, MD, of Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues asked 39 healthy young adults in Sweden to add four muffins a day to their diet.

The researchers aimed for participants, whose average age was 27 years, to gain about 3% of their body weight. Muffins were added or subtracted to keep weight gain within that range, while the volunteers continued their normal diet and physical activity.

Over 7 weeks, people in both groups gained about 2.2% of their body weight, according to the researchers. However, those whose muffins contained unsaturated fat had lower levels of LDL cholesterol. They also had higher levels of HDL cholesterol than those whose muffins were made with saturated fat.

LDL levels between the groups differed by 9%. In terms of overall cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio, the difference was as much as 18%.

“Even modest weight gain of less than 4 pounds may have adverse effects, but having sufficient amounts of polyunsaturated fats and less saturated fat may prevent some of the unwanted consequences with weight gain,” Risérus told HealthDay.


  1. Iggman D et al. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014;doi:10.1161/JAHA.114.001095.