Researchers from The Heart Research Institute in Sydney fed 14 volunteers a meal with 89.6 percent saturated fat and took samples of HDL cholesterol six hours later. On another occasion, the researchers fed the same volunteers an identical meal that instead contained 75 percent polyunsaturated fat, and collected HDL cholesterol six hours later.
The researchers found that the HDL cholesterol collected after the polyunsaturated fat meal was more effective at inhibiting inflammation than the HDL collected after the saturated fat meal. Moreover, the post-polyunsaturated fat HDL was even better at stopping inflammation than HDL taken during a period of fasting.
Researcher Dr. David S. Celermajer says his team was "a little surprised" by the results of the study. "Most everyone concentrates on the amount of 'good' cholesterol. This study shows that its quality may be very important too, in determining its protective ability."
Since inflammation is thought to be an important element in the onset of cardiovascular disease, enhancing the protective effects of HDL cholesterol through a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats could be key to reducing heart disease. Foods high in polyunsaturated fats include soybeans, Brazil nuts, pecans, seeds, peanuts, fish and vegetable oils.
"This evidence demonstrates that you cannot 'balance' unhealthy foods with healthy foods, as is frequently claimed by the processed food industries and the Grocery Manufacturers of America," explained Mike Adams, a holistic nutritionist. "As this research clearly shows, just one unhealthy meal can have long-lasting, detrimental effects on blood chemistry."