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J Nutr. 1989 Nov;119(11):1569-73.

A comparison of the digestion and absorption of cocoa butter and palm kernel oil and their effects on cholesterol absorption in rats.

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Division of Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C. 20204.


Digestion and absorption of cocoa butter and palm kernel oil and their effect on cholesterol absorption were studied in adult male rats. Duodenal and thoracic duct catheters were inserted surgically into the anesthetized rats. After an overnight fast, animals were given a single duodenal dose of an aqueous emulsion containing [1,2-3H]cholesterol and one of the following: corn oil, cocoa butter or palm kernel oil. Digestion and absorption were estimated by recovering the total fatty acids in the thoracic duct lymph over a 24-h collection period (after subtraction of the baseline "endogenous fatty acids" in the lymph). Intestinal absorption of cholesterol into the thoracic duct lymph was reduced significantly (P less than 0.05) in the presence of cocoa butter, compared to absorption when palm kernel oil or corn oil was administered. Compared to the absorption of corn oil (arbitrarily defined as 100%), the absorption of palm kernel oil and cocoa butter was 82 and 63%, respectively. The present study suggests that palm kernel oil absorption was not significantly different from that of corn oil. The lower absorbability of cocoa butter and its inhibitory effect on cholesterol absorption may explain in part why cocoa butter is less hypercholesterolemic and atherogenic than other equally saturated fats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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