JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dietary palmitic and oleic acids exert similar effects on serum cholesterol and lipoprotein profiles in normocholesterolemic men and women

T K Ng, K C Hayes, G F DeWitt, M Jegathesan, N Satgunasingam, A S Ong, D Tan
Journal of the American College of Nutrition 1992, 11 (4): 383-90
1506599
To compare the effects of dietary palmitic acid (16:0) vs oleic acid (18:1) on serum lipids, lipoproteins, and plasma eicosanoids, 33 normocholesterolemic subjects (20 males, 13 females; ages 22-41 years) were challenged with a coconut oil-rich diet for 4 weeks. Subsequently they were assigned to either a palm olein-rich or olive oil-rich diet followed by a dietary crossover during two consecutive 6-week periods. Each test oil served as the sole cooking oil and contributed 23% of dietary energy or two-thirds of the total daily fat intake. Dietary myristic acid (14:0) and lauric acid (12:0) from coconut oil significantly raised all the serum lipid and lipoprotein parameters measured. Subsequent one-to-one exchange of 7% energy between 16:0 (palm olein diet) and 18:1 (olive oil diet) resulted in identical serum total cholesterol (192, 193 mg/dl), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (130, 131 mg/dl), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (41, 42 mg/dl), and triglyceride (TG) (108, 106 mg/dl) concentrations. Effects attributed to gender included higher HDL in females and higher TG in males associated with the tendency for higher LDL and LDL/HDL ratios in men. However, both sexes were equally responsive to changes in dietary fat saturation. The results indicate that in healthy, normocholesterolemic humans, dietary 16:0 can be exchanged for 18:1 within the range of these fatty acids normally present in typical diets without affecting the serum lipoprotein cholesterol concentration or distribution. In addition, replacement of 12:0 + 14:0 by 16:0 + 18:1, but especially 16:0 or some component of palm olein, appeared to have a beneficial impact on an important index of thrombogenesis, i.e., the thromboxane/prostacyclin ratio in plasma.

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