Modification of dietary fat composition may influence hemostatic variables, which are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). To address this question, we performed a controlled feeding study on 26 healthy male nonsmoking subjects with diets of differing fat composition. For the first 3 weeks, the subjects were given a diet calculated to supply 30% energy as total fat: 8% as monounsaturated, 4% as polyunsaturated, and 16% energy as saturated fatty acids, respectively (saturated diet). This was followed immediately by two diets taken in random order, each of 3-week duration and separated by an 8-week washout period on the subject's usual diet. Both diets were calculated to supply 30% of energy as fat: 14% monounsaturated, 6% as polyunsaturated, and 8% energy as saturated fatty acids. They both provided 5 g (approximately 1.7% energy) more of polyunsaturated fatty acids than the saturated fat diet; in one diet as long-chain n-3 fatty acids (n-3 diet) and in the other as linoleic acid (n-6 diet). Fasting plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and hemostatic factors were measured on the final 3 days of each dietary period. In a subset of 9 subjects the postprandial responses to a test meal were studied on the penultimate day of each period, each meal having the fat composition of its parent diet. On the n-3 diet compared with the n-6 diet, plasma triglyceride, HDL3 cholesterol, apoprotein AII, and fibrinogen concentrations were lower and HDL2 cholesterol concentration was higher (P = .0001, P = .003, P = .0001, P = .004, and P = .001, respectively). On both the n-3 and n-6 diets compared with the saturated diet, fasting plasma total and LDL cholesterol, apoprotein B, beta-thromboglobulin concentrations, and platelet counts were lower (P < .0001, P < .0001, P < .001, P < .01, and P < .05 respectively) and plasma Lp(a) and von Willebrand factor concentrations were higher (P = .02 and P < .01, respectively). Fasting factor VII coagulant activity (VIIc) was increased and apoprotein AI concentration reduced following the n-3 diet (P = .004 and P = .01, respectively) compared with the saturated diet. Plasma fibrinogen concentration was significantly greater following the n-6 diet than on the saturated diet (P = .02). Postprandially, plasma triglyceridemia was greater on the n-6 diet and lowest on the n-3 diet (P < .001) with the saturated diet being intermediate. Plasma VIIc was increased at 4 hours following the standardized test meals on the n-3 and n-6 diets (both P < .05) but not on the saturated diet. An increased intake of long chain n-3 fatty acids decreases fasting plasma triglyceride and apoprotein AII concentrations and increases HDL2 cholesterol concentrations and results in less postprandial lipemia but leads to an increase in VIIc. An increased intake of linoleic acid may raise plasma fibrinogen concentration. Decreasing the intake of saturated fatty acids reduces plasma LDL cholesterol and apoprotein B without affecting HDL cholesterol concentration independent of the type of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet. When advice is given to reduce saturated fat intake, it is important to ensure an appropriate ratio of n-3/n-6 fatty acids in the diet.