In a strictly controlled cross-over study (twice 2 weeks) of 11 healthy adults, the effects of a low-fat diet (32% of total energy from fat) with a low or a high ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids (0.28 and 0.89, respectively) were observed. Factor VII activity and antigen levels, serum cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were measured. Factor VII activity was determined in clotting assays using human and bovine thromboplastin (interacting primarily with activated factor VII, F VIIa), allowing differentiation between F VIIc and F VIIa. A significant decrease of F VII levels (median 11.0-14.5%, P < 0.05) and triglycerides (median 0.22-0.27 mmol/1, P < 0.05) was observed on both diets, while only the highly unsaturated diet reduced serum cholesterol levels (median 0.65 mmol/1, P < 0.001). There were no significant correlations between changes in blood lipids and F VIIc. Low fat diets may reduce the risk for ischemic heart disease without lowering of cholesterol levels by eliminating states of hypercoagulability such as elevated factor VII coagulant activity.