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Nutrition. 2008 Jan;24(1):11-5. Epub 2007 Sep 20.

A palm oil-rich diet may reduce serum lipids in healthy young individuals.

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  • 1Bahiana School of Medicine and Public Health, Bahia Foundation for the Development of Sciences, FBDC, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. analadeia@uol.com.br



The literature on palm oil as a cholesterol-raising oil is conflicting, requiring further studies. This study tested the influence of a palm oil-rich diet on plasma lipids of healthy young individuals.


Thirty-four medical students, 18-26 y old, with a total cholesterol level <200 mg/dL, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level >40 mg/dL, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level <130 mg/dL, triacylglycerol level <150 mg/dL, glycemic level <100 mg/dL, blood pressure <140/90 mmHg, and a body mass index of 18 to <25 kg/m(2) were studied. Once a day for 2 wk, the students ingested 10 mL of previously boiled crude palm oil after lunch or dinner, as preferred. Palm oil was consumed in the same way and quantity that it is consumed in one serving of a very popular typical Brazilian seafood dish. Total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, very LDL-C, non-HDL-C, and triacylglycerol were measured at baseline, after the palm oil-enriched diet, and after the washout period.


A decrease in all lipid fractions was observed, with a mild, statistically significant decrease in concentrations of very LDL-C (19.41 +/- 4.21 versus 17.18 +/- 4.0 mg/dL, P = 0.002) and triacylglycerol (97.07 +/- 21.08 versus 85.91 +/- 20.02 mg/dL, P = 0.002). Males (61.9%) also showed a mildly significant increase in LDL-C, whereas females showed a mildly significant decrease in all lipid fractions, except for HDL-C.


This study shows that boiled crude palm oil may have a mild, triacylglycerol-reducing effect in young, healthy individuals and may also show a mild LDL-C-increasing effect in males.

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