Epidemiological and interventional studies have linked saturated fatty acids (SFA) with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and increased CVD risk. However, the effects of the SFA chain length on postprandial lipemia in humans are not well elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of short, medium and long-chain SFA on postprandial blood lipids in healthy volunteers. Sixteen healthy volunteers consumed test biscuits containing 40 grams of either butter (BB), coconut oil (CB) or lard (LB) in a single-blinded, randomized crossover design. Blood samples were collected fasting and 2, 3, 4, and 6 hours postprandially and assessed for blood lipids (total cholesterol, TC; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL-C; LDL-C and triglyceride, TG). The postprandial TG response following CB was 59.8% lower than following BB (p<0.01) and 58.8% lower than LB (p<0.01), although no difference was observed between the BB and the LB responses. The net area under the LDL-C concentration curve was significantly larger after consumption of the CB compared to the BB, despite no significant differences in postprandial net area under the TC and HDL-C concentration curves. Consumption of medium-chain SFA as CB resulted in lower postprandial TG excursions compared to short-chain SFA as BB and long-chain SFA as LB, despite their identical fat and caloric content. These results suggest that SFA differ in their potential to elevate postprandial lipid levels, and that coconut oil, a rich source of medium-chain SFA may not be as hyperlipidemic as animal fats rich in long chain SFA.
- Coconut oil
- Saturated fatty acids