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Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Dec;94(6):1433-41. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.017459. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Palmitic acid in the sn-2 position of triacylglycerols acutely influences postprandial lipid metabolism.

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  • 1Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division, School of Medicine, King's College London, United Kingdom.



The triacylglycerol structure of saturated fats may influence postprandial lipemia.


We tested the hypothesis that high-fat meals rich in palmitic acid (16:0) in the sn-2 position decrease lipemia.


Postprandial changes in plasma lipids, apolipoprotein B48, and cytokines were compared in healthy men (n = 25) and women (n = 25) by using a randomized crossover design after meals that provided 50 g fat supplied as high-oleic sunflower oil (control), palm olein (PO), interesterified palm olein (IPO), and lard containing 0.6, 9.2, 39.1, and 70.5 mol% 16:0, respectively, at sn-2.


The sn-2-rich meals elicited different postprandial responses in plasma concentrations of nonesterified fatty acid (meal × time, P = 0.00014), triacylglycerol (meal × time, P = 0.002), and apolipoprotein B48 (meal × time × sex, P = 0.008). Nonesterified fatty acid concentrations were lower up to 3 h after lard and IPO meals than after control or PO meals. Triacylglycerol increased less steeply after lard and IPO meals than after control and PO meals; the incremental AUCs (iAUCs) were 34% (95% CI: 7%, 124%; P < 0.05) and 26% (95% CI: 16%, 132%; P < 0.05) lower after lard than after control and PO meals, respectively. In men, the maximal increment in apolipoprotein B48 was 14% (95% CI: 3%, 25%; P < 0.05) and 16% (95% CI: 2%, 30%; P < 0.05) lower for lard and IPO, respectively, compared with control. The postprandial iAUC in triacylglycerol was 51% lower in women (P = 0.001) than in men. Plasma IL-6 increased postprandially, but IL-8, TNF-α, and E-selectin decreased after all meals.


Fats with a higher proportion of palmitic acid in the sn-2 position decrease postprandial lipemia in healthy subjects. This trial was registered at as ISRCTN20774126.

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