OBJECTIVE: A high monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake is associated with lower plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol. However, PUFA may increase the susceptibility of LDL to undergo oxidative modifications. The aim of this study was to analyze the association of habitual dietary fat intake with LDL size and oxidizability. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SETTING: Cohort study. SUBJECTS: Seven hundred and fifty-eight subjects with normal, impaired glucose metabolism and type II diabetes. INTERVENTIONS: Mean LDL size was measured by high-performance gel-filtration chromatography. In vitro oxidizability of LDL was determined by measuring lag time, reflecting the resistance of LDL to copper-induced oxidation. Information about dietary fat intake was obtained by a validated food frequency questionnaire. RESULTS: PUFA intake (energy percent) was significantly and negatively associated with LDL size in subjects with type II diabetes (standardized beta (95% confidence interval) -0.17 (-0.28;-0.06)) and impaired glucose metabolism - although not statistically significant - (-0.09 (-0.24;0.05)), but not in subjects with normal glucose metabolism (0.01 (-0.10;0.12)) (P-value for interaction=0.02). No significant associations were observed for total, saturated fat and MUFA intake with LDL size. Intake of fat was associated with lag time; however, the small magnitude of the associations suggested that the composition of dietary fat is not a major factor affecting lag time. The same association with lag time was observed in all three glucose metabolism categories. CONCLUSIONS: In individuals with abnormal glucose metabolism, higher PUFA intake is associated with smaller LDL particle size, but does not alter the susceptibility of LDL to in vitro oxidation. SPONSORSHIP: Dutch Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO).