High-Lauric and High-Myristic Fatty Acid Cheese: Effects on Serum Lipoprotein Profiles

Open Access
Insetta, Emily Rose
Area of Honors:
Nutritional Sciences
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Penny Kris Etherton, Thesis Supervisor
  • Penny Margaret Kris Etherton, Thesis Supervisor
  • Gary J Fosmire, Honors Advisor
  • lauric fatty acid
  • myristic fatty acid
  • cholesterol
  • TC
  • LDL-C
  • HDL-C
  • TC:HDL-C ratio
  • nutrition
  • diet
  • fatty acids
  • saturated fatty acids
  • fat
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been the leading cause of death in the United States for over fifty years. Diet is one of the most widely studied modifiable CVD risk factors. Dietary fatty acids play a key role in the development of CVD. Traditional guidelines for CVD prevention have included recommendations for decreased saturated fat intake. Recent research has suggested, however, that individual saturated fats differentially affect the serum lipoprotein profile. In this study, a treatment cheese high in two saturated fatty acids, lauric and myristic, was compared to a control cheese with a typical fatty acid composition. The control and treatment cheeses were assessed for their effects on total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), TC:HDL-C ratio, and triglycerides (TG). In this randomized, cross-over trial, nine individuals with elevated LDL-C levels (>130 mg/dL) consumed three ounces daily of each cheese type independently during two, three-week feeding periods separated by a two-week washout period. For the overall population, TC:HDL-C significantly increased (6.558%, p=0.0267) from baseline to the end of the treatment cheese period. Treatment cheese consumption did not change any other serum lipids in comparison with control cheese consumption. However, each individual did respond to treatment cheese consumption, and the population could be separated into four individuals who generally experienced beneficial effects versus five participants who experienced more potential adverse effects from treatment cheese consumption. Individuals show variable lipid changes in response to the consumption of different fatty acids. Further research is warranted to determine the differential effects of individual saturated fats on the lipid profile in order to establish optimal dietary recommendations for CVD prevention.