The type of fat in the diet

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Figure 7.9 shows the relationship between the concentration of cholesterol (section 4.3.1.3) in plasma, and specifically cholesterol in plasma low-density lipoproteins (LDL; section 5.6.2.2), and premature death from ischaemic heart disease. The main dietary factor affecting the concentration of cholesterol in plasma is the intake of fat.

Both the total intake of fat and, more importantly, the relative amounts of saturated and unsaturated fats affect the concentration of cholesterol in LDL. Figure 7.10 shows the results of a number of studies of the effects of different types of dietary fat on serum LDL cholesterol:

• It increases by a factor related to 2 X the intake of saturated fat.

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