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Effect of monounsaturated fat in the diet on the serum carotenoid levels


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Ahuja, KDK 2001 , 'Effect of monounsaturated fat in the diet on the serum carotenoid levels', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Epidemiological data suggest that populations with higher serum/ tissue levels of
carotenoids have a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), possibly due to
the antioxidant capacity. Lycopene, a carotenoid mainly found in tomatoes, has
been suggested to have the greatest antioxidant capacity of the carotenoids found
in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are fat-soluble compounds and their
absorption from the diet into the body may depend on the amount of dietary fat
For years there has been debate about what energy source should replace the
saturated fat in the diet, to give the optimum serum lipid profile to reduce CHD
risk. Studies have compared monounsaturated fat rich diets with high
carbohydrate, low fat diets and have found that both diets decrease serum
cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Results for
high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides have been
inconsistent. However, it is of interest to study the effects of different diets on
lipid oxidation, as this may also influence CHD risk.
Studies have investigated the effect of different amounts of total fat on the serum
levels of carotenoids especially beta-carotene and lutein, but to our knowledge no
study has looked at the effect of different amounts of fats on the serum lycopene
levels, and whether this could subsequently affect the oxidation of LDL in vitro.
Two separate randomised crossover dietary intervention studies were conducted;
one in healthy men and the other in healthy women aged 20 to 70 years. The aim
was to compare the effects of monounsaturated fat rich (MUFA) diet (38% of
energy from fat) and high carbohydrate low fat (HCLF) diet (15% energy from
fat) with controlled lycopene content, on serum lycopene levels. Main sources of
lycopene in the diets were canned tomatoes and tomato soup for the study in
women (lycopene content -15.9 mg/day) and tomato paste and tomato soup for
the study in men (lycopene content - 20.2 mg/day). Serum lipids and lipoproteins
levels and in vitro oxidation of LDL particles were also measured.
Compared to the baseline levels there was a significant increase in the serum
trans lycopene and total lycopene levels after MUFA diet for the study in women.
Comparing the levels at the end of the two diets no difference was observed. In
the study in men serum trans, cis and total lycopene levels increased after the
MUFA and HCLF diet periods. There was no significant difference in trans; cis
and total lycopene levels at the end of two diets.
Thus, high levels of monounsaturated fat in the diet do not appear to increase
lycopene absorption and serum levels compared to very low fat diet. There was
however a better serum lipid profile after MUFA diet compared to HCLF diet.
Lag phase for the in vitro oxidation of LDL particles was also longer on the
MUFA diet. The lack of difference in antioxidant levels would indicate that this
was due to the different fatty acid component of the diet.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Ahuja, KDK
Keywords: lycopene, carotenoids, coronary heart disease, antioxidants, monounsaturated fat rich diet, high carbohydrate low fat diet, tomatoes
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