This study compares the effects of two lipid-lowering diets [a diet enriched in MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids) and a HCLF (high-carbohydrate/low-fat) diet] with a controlled carotenoid content on risk factors for coronary heart disease, including in vitro copper-induced LDL (low-density lipoprotein) oxidation and serum lipid levels. A randomized crossover dietary intervention study, with two diets each consumed for 14–16 days, was conducted in 18 women and 13 men aged 20–70 years, recruited via personal contacts and advertisements in newspapers. Both diets (MUFA-enriched diet and HCLF diet) contained the same basic foods and had a controlled carotenoid content, high in lycopene. The in vitro copper-induced oxidation of isolated LDL showed a longer lag phase (mean difference 7.4 min in women and 7.34 min in men) after the MUFA-enriched diet compared with the HCLF diet. Serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and carotenoid levels were similar after the two diets. Serum triacylglycerol levels were significantly lower and those of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol were significantly higher at the end of the MUFA-enriched diet compared with the HCLF diet. It is concluded that the significantly longer lag phase for oxidation of LDL, the higher HDL cholesterol level and the lower triacylglycerol level in subjects following a carotenoid-controlled, MUFA-enriched diet may decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.

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