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Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1486-94.

The solid fat content of stearic acid-rich fats determines their postprandial effects.

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  • 1Nutritional Sciences Research Division, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.



The process of randomization is used commercially to harden fats as an alternative to partial hydrogenation, but its effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors are uncertain.


The objective was to compare the chronic and acute effects of randomization of a fat rich in 1,3-distearyl, 2-oleyl glycerol on fasting and postprandial lipids, glucose, insulin, and activated clotting factor VII (FVIIa) concentrations.


A crossover design study in 16 men compared fasting and postprandial lipid, glucose, insulin, and FVIIa concentrations at baseline and after a 3-wk diet providing 30 g unrandomized or randomized shea butter and sunflower oil blends (SSOBs), both of which contained approximately 50% stearic acid. Fecal fat excretion was measured during each dietary period. Postprandial changes were assessed after the consumption of meals providing 50 g test fat. A subsequent study compared postprandial changes after the consumption of an oleic acid-rich sunflower oil meal and an unrandomized SSOB meal.


Both SSOBs were well digested and absorbed. Randomization did not affect fasting or postprandial lipid, glucose, insulin, or FVIIa concentrations. Compared with the oleic acid-rich meal, the unrandomized SSOB resulted in 53% lower postprandial lipemia, 23% higher hepatic lipase activity, and a 25% lower postprandial increase in FVIIa concentration. The solid fat contents at 37 degrees C were 22%, 41%, and 0% with the unrandomized SSOB, randomized SSOB, and oleic acid-rich meals, respectively.


Stearic acid-rich triacylglycerol in both unrandomized and randomized forms does not adversely affect lipid risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The high proportion of solid fat at 37 degrees C may explain the decreased postprandial lipemic response.

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