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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14(4):348-57.

Palm oil versus hydrogenated soybean oil: effects on serum lipids and plasma haemostatic variables.

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Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, P.O.Box 1046 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway.


The purpose of this study was to test if replacement of trans fatty acids by palmitic acid in an experimental margarine results in unfavourable effects on serum lipids and haemostatic factors. We have compared the effects of three different margarines, one based on palm oil (PALM-margarine), one based on partially hydrogenated soybean oil (TRANS- margarine) and one with a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA-margarine), on serum lipids in 27 young women. In nine of the participants fasting levels and diurnal postprandial levels of haemostatic variables on the 3 diets were compared. The sum of 12:0, 14:0, 16:0 provided 11% of energy (E%) in the PALM diet, the same as the sum of 12:0, 14:0, 16:0 and trans fatty acids in the TRANS-diet. Oleic acid provided 10-11E% in all three diets, while PUFA provided 5.7, 5.5 and 10.2 E%, respectively. Total fat provided 30-31% and the test margarines 26% of total energy in all three diets. Each of the diets was consumed for 17 days in a crossover design. There were no significant differences in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and apoB between the TRANS- and the PALM-diet. HDL-cholesterol and apoA-I were significantly higher on the PALM-diet compared to the TRANS-diet while the ratio of LDL- to HDL-cholesterol was lower, although not significantly (P = 0.077) on the PALM-diet. Total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and apoB were significantly lower on the PUFA-diet compared to the two other diets. HDL-cholesterol was not different on the PALM- and the PUFA-diet while it was significantly lower on the TRANS-diet compared to the PUFA-diet. Triglycerides and Lp(a) were not different among the three diets. The diurnal postprandial state level of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) activity was significantly decreased on the TRANS-diet compared to the PALM-diet. t-PA activity was also decreased on the PUFA-diet compared to PALM-diet although not significantly (P=0.07). There were no significant differences in neither fasting levels or in circadian variation of t-PA antigen, PAI-1 activity, PAI-1 antigen, factor VII coagulant activity or fibrinogen between the three diets. Our results suggest that dietary palm oil may have a more favourable effect on the fibrinolytic system compared to partially hydrogenated soybean oil. We conclude that from a nutritional point of view, palmitic acid from palm oil may be a reasonable alternative to trans fatty acids from partially hydrogenated soybean oil in margarine if the aim is to avoid trans fatty acids. A palm oil based margarine is, however, less favourable than one based on a more polyunsaturated vegetable oil.

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