4

votes

MUFAs: beneficial or CW tout?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 01, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) have been pushed by dieticians for cardiovascular benefits as well as weight loss. The conventional approach is to replace saturated fatty acids (SAFA) with MUFA in the diet. Since modern paleos are presumably not as SAFA-phobic as the general public, is this a good idea for us? Kamal has previously asked a SAFA vs. MUFA question, but he did not get much response regarding the MUFA side of the equation.

I'm particularly interested in the potential benefits and harms of MUFA. Should we be eating more MUFA, less, or does it matter?

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on May 02, 2011
at 09:39 PM

exactly. Tallow is made of a large percentage of oleic acid.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on May 02, 2011
at 02:51 AM

MUFA are more sensitive to oxidation because of the exposed double double bonds. That is chemistry fact.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on May 02, 2011
at 01:41 AM

As a heavy consumer of macadamia nut oil and avocado, I also wonder about this.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 11:55 PM

Anyone recommend excluding olive oil(extra virgin, pomace, etc.) due to its potential rancidity/processing/FFA ratio? It sure helps to slide the tuna down the gullet...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:50 PM

'Tis true. The culprit is exposed enzymes, not fatty acid oxidation. You can't just go around making stuff up to prove your points. Well, technically you can. But it takes away from the fact that you have a lot of actual knowledge and experience, Dr. K.

7767e05a8c4504f6be03f13ee40815cd

(1299)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:28 PM

MUFA doesn't often come without PUFA? Have you forgotten animal (especially ruminant) fat?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:10 PM

I don't think there has been any evidence which shows Sat Fats are better than MUFA or vice versa. There has not been such a study and if there was, it wasn't designed well --- in other words, mask the effects of increasing MUFA.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:09 PM

The browning of avocados has nothing to do with mono-unsaturated fatty acids. It is an enzymatic reaction cross-linking phenolic compounds to protect the damaged fruit against microbes.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:09 PM

So it could result in inflammation from the imbalance. It's not clean. As you know, there has been negative findings of n-3 in its role in cancer development. n-3 imbalance is probably as harmful if not more than the reverse. Since MUFA is so inextricably linked to PUFA, I don't see the reason for increasing your MUFA. Those who advocate this have never done calorie counting. The key is to minimize your n-6 and minimize your n-3 as well, since they're both very unstable and liable to oxidative damage. In other words, you'll be minimizing PUFA, and in the process also minimize your MUFA.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:01 PM

I don't know if that's necessary. One of the studies cited wasn't designed well, because they focused on the Mediterranean diet vs. a SAD. They tried to replace Saturated Fat with MUFA and Carbs and did a study on that. What did they find? Lower Trigs and LDL with the Med diet. That's predictable. But any increase in MUFA, unless the people were eating pure Hazelnuts or Macadamia nuts would have also meant a proportional increase in PUFA, and possible n-6 imbalance over n-3. In other words, you're probably icnreasing your MUFA dosage at the expense of n-6/n-3 balance.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 09:58 PM

Now why would MUFA be more sensitive to oxidation? More sensitive than the PUFA? Doesn't MUFA have one less bond than the PUFas?

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 01, 2011
at 09:56 PM

@NP, thanks for your helpful response. You give a maximum MUFA intake guideline (don't go over 4% PUFA), but is there a minimum guideline? Should I go out of my way to add more MUFA to my diet, and why or why not?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 01, 2011
at 02:02 PM

Good question. I have been thinking about this too.

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2 Answers

best answer

3
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on May 01, 2011
at 07:26 PM

That's an excellent question. You beat me to the punch. But what most people don't realize is that PUFA and MUFA come in pairs in most cases. There are very few foods with significant MUFA content vs. negligible PUFA: I believe macadamia nuts are the only exception.

All of the below foods contain MUFAs in high doses. However, their ratios are 5-to-1 to 2-to-1 in MUFA vs. PUFA.

  • Extra virgin oilve oil
  • Avacados
  • Eggs
  • Herring and other fish

The so called "Mediterranean diet" is supposedly high in MUFA. That's true as long as EVOO, eggs, fish, and avocados are invovled. But there is an upper limit of trying to increase your MUFA with impunity. You'll be increasing your PUFA as well. So it will not be good to, say, go above 4% PUFA while trying to increase your MUFA.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 01, 2011
at 09:56 PM

@NP, thanks for your helpful response. You give a maximum MUFA intake guideline (don't go over 4% PUFA), but is there a minimum guideline? Should I go out of my way to add more MUFA to my diet, and why or why not?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:10 PM

I don't think there has been any evidence which shows Sat Fats are better than MUFA or vice versa. There has not been such a study and if there was, it wasn't designed well --- in other words, mask the effects of increasing MUFA.

7767e05a8c4504f6be03f13ee40815cd

(1299)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:28 PM

MUFA doesn't often come without PUFA? Have you forgotten animal (especially ruminant) fat?

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:09 PM

So it could result in inflammation from the imbalance. It's not clean. As you know, there has been negative findings of n-3 in its role in cancer development. n-3 imbalance is probably as harmful if not more than the reverse. Since MUFA is so inextricably linked to PUFA, I don't see the reason for increasing your MUFA. Those who advocate this have never done calorie counting. The key is to minimize your n-6 and minimize your n-3 as well, since they're both very unstable and liable to oxidative damage. In other words, you'll be minimizing PUFA, and in the process also minimize your MUFA.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:01 PM

I don't know if that's necessary. One of the studies cited wasn't designed well, because they focused on the Mediterranean diet vs. a SAD. They tried to replace Saturated Fat with MUFA and Carbs and did a study on that. What did they find? Lower Trigs and LDL with the Med diet. That's predictable. But any increase in MUFA, unless the people were eating pure Hazelnuts or Macadamia nuts would have also meant a proportional increase in PUFA, and possible n-6 imbalance over n-3. In other words, you're probably icnreasing your MUFA dosage at the expense of n-6/n-3 balance.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on May 02, 2011
at 09:39 PM

exactly. Tallow is made of a large percentage of oleic acid.

-3
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on May 01, 2011
at 09:10 PM

If you have high mufa diet you had better have a high antioxidant load with it. That is precisely balanced in the mediterrean diet classically. The reason for this is simple. Mufa's are more sensitive to oxidation. This is why avocado brown so fast when cut. Unstable.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:09 PM

The browning of avocados has nothing to do with mono-unsaturated fatty acids. It is an enzymatic reaction cross-linking phenolic compounds to protect the damaged fruit against microbes.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on May 01, 2011
at 10:50 PM

'Tis true. The culprit is exposed enzymes, not fatty acid oxidation. You can't just go around making stuff up to prove your points. Well, technically you can. But it takes away from the fact that you have a lot of actual knowledge and experience, Dr. K.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on May 02, 2011
at 02:51 AM

MUFA are more sensitive to oxidation because of the exposed double double bonds. That is chemistry fact.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on May 01, 2011
at 09:58 PM

Now why would MUFA be more sensitive to oxidation? More sensitive than the PUFA? Doesn't MUFA have one less bond than the PUFas?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 01, 2011
at 11:55 PM

Anyone recommend excluding olive oil(extra virgin, pomace, etc.) due to its potential rancidity/processing/FFA ratio? It sure helps to slide the tuna down the gullet...

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