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?
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.
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.
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.