A diet in which fat makes up only 19 percent of total calories may not provide enough calories and essential fatty acids, as well as vitamin E and zinc.
This was the finding of researchers at the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York, who add that a low-fat diet may also decrease HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Five men and six women in good health were randomized to consume diets with 19 percent and 50 percent calories from fat.
Each diet lasted three weeks. The low-fat group had lower HDL cholesterol levels compared to the higher-fat group (54 plus or minus 3 mg, versus 63 plus or minus 3 mg, respectively).
“Increasing fat intake to 50 percent of calories improved nutritional status and did not negatively affect certain cardiovascular risk factors,” conclude the researchers.
— Journal of the American College of Nutrition, April 2004