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Changes in fat synthesis influenced by dietary macronutrient content

  • Elizabeth J. Parks (a1)


De novo lipogenesis is the biological process by which C2 precursors of acetyl-CoA are synthesized into fatty acids. In human subjects consuming diets higher in fat (>30 % energy), lipogenesis is down regulated and extremely low; typically < 10 % of the fatty acids secreted by the liver. This percentage will increase when dietary fat is reduced and replaced by carbohydrate, although the extent of carbohydrate-induced lipogenesis is dependent on the type of carbohydrate (monosaccharide v. polysaccharide) and the form in which the carbohydrate is fed (liquid meals, solid less-processed food). Clearly, massive overconsumption of carbohydrate can also increase lipogenesis. A second related phenomenon that occurs when dietary fat is reduced is hypertriacylglycerolaemia. This rise in blood triacylglycerol concentration could be due to increased de novo lipogenesis or to reduced clearance of lipid from the blood. The present paper will review the metabolic mechanisms leading to the elevations in blood triacylglycerol concentration that occur with dietary fat reduction. Studies considered will be those investigating fatty acid synthesis in subjects chronically fed low-fat high-carbohydrate diets and studies in which data were obtained in both the fasted and fed states. Also summarized will be data from subjects who had consumed diets of different carbohydrate types, as well as the most recent data from postprandial studies investigating factors that affect the magnitude of the rise in blood lipids following a meal. Given the changing availability of carbohydrate in the food supply, it will be important to understand how the balance of fat and carbohydrate in the diet influences lipogenesis, and the relative contribution of the process of de novo lipogenesis to the escalating incidence of obesity observed around the world.

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Corresponding author

Dr Elizabeth Parks, fax +1 612 625 5272, email


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