The relationship between type of dietary fat, cardiovascular disease risk, and lipid/lipoprotein profiles has been studied since the early 1900s. For the most part, observational data from international comparisons, migration studies, and prospective studies have identified a positive relationship between saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, although in the latter case these observations were attenuated and in some cases became non-significant after adjusting for other dietary factors. Data from large-scale primary and secondary intervention studies support a positive relationship between CHD and SFA. The majority of data available were derived from male subjects, and if female subjects were included, few studies assessed the effect of gender on responsiveness. Recent evidence has emerged suggesting that females respond differently to diet with respect to CHD progression. This review discusses controlled clinical intervention studies that included data for both genders and their responses to dietary fat perturbations and lipoprotein profiles. The scope was limited for the most part to reports that included identifiers in the title or abstract that indicated data for female and male subjects were reported separately, although a statistical comparison between the genders may not have been reported. Overall, whether the studies assessed the effect of the ratio of SFA to monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), SFA to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), MUFA to PUFA, individual SFA, or SFA to trans fatty acids, female and male subjects responded similarly, and when differences were identified there was no consistent pattern.

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