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September 1998, Volume 52, Number 9, Pages 650-654
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Original communication
Effects of dietary coconut oil, butter and safflower oil on plasma lipids, lipoproteins and lathosterol levels
C Cox1, W Sutherland2,a, J Mann1, S de Jong2, A Chisholm1 and M Skeaff1

1Department of Human Nutrition

2Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

aCorrespondence: Dr W Sutherland, Department of Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Objective: The aim of this present study was to determine plasma levels of lathosterol, lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins during diets rich in butter, coconut fat and safflower oil.

Design: The study consisted of sequential six week periods of diets rich in butter, coconut fat then safflower oil and measurements were made at baseline and at week 4 in each diet period.

Subjects: Forty-one healthy Pacific island polynesians living in New Zealand participated in the trial.

Interventions: Subjects were supplied with some foods rich in the test fats and were given detailed dietary advice which was reinforced regularly.

Results: Plasma lathosterol concentration (P<0.001), the ratio plasma lathosterol/cholesterol (P=0.04), low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P<0.001) and apoB (P<0.001) levels were significantly different among the diets and were significantly lower during coconut and safflower oil diets compared with butter diets. Plasma total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and apoA-levels were also significantly (P£ 0.001) different among the diets and were not significantly different between buffer and coconut diets.

Conclusions: These data suggest that cholesterol synthesis is lower during diets rich in coconut fat and safflower oil compared with diets rich in butter and might be associated with lower production rates of apoB-containing lipoproteins.

Sponsorship: The study was supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Anderson Telford Trust.


diet; fat type; lathosterol; lipoproteins; polynesians

Received 4 December 1997; revised 24 April 1998; accepted 9 May 1998
September 1998, Volume 52, Number 9, Pages 650-654
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF