Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Postgraduate Symposium

Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids and haemostasis

Colette N. M. Kellya1 c1, Ruth D. Smitha1 and Christine M. Williamsa1

a1 Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AP, UK


Diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are increasingly being recommended as a highly-effective cholesterol-lowering strategy in populations at risk of CHD. However, the need for a re-appraisal of the benefits of diets rich in MUFA became apparent as a result of recent studies showing that meals high in olive oil cause greater postprandial activation of blood coagulation factor VII than meals rich in saturated fatty acids. The present review evaluates the evidence for the effects of MUFA-rich diets on fasting and postprandial measurements of haemostasis, and describes data from a recently-completed long-term controlled dietary intervention study. The data show that a background diet high in MUFA has no adverse effect on fasting haemostatic variables and decreases the postprandial activation of factor VII in response to a standard fat-containing meal. Since the same study also showed a significant reduction in the ex vivo activation of platelets in subjects on the high-MUFA diet, the overall findings suggest that there is no reason for concern regarding adverse haemostatic consequences of high-MUFA diets.


c1 *Corresponding Author: Dr Colette Kelly, present address British Nutrition Foundation, High Holborn House, 52–54 High Holborn, London WC1V 6RQ, UK, fax +44 (0) 20 7404 6747, email