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DIETARY FACTORS

Coconut oil raises LDL-cholesterol levels

Consumption of coconut oil, which is high in saturated fat, results in higher LDL-cholesterol levels than consumption of non-tropical vegetable oils. This finding comes from a meta-analysis of 16 studies in which consumption of coconut oil was compared with that of other fats over the course of ≥2 weeks. Consumption of coconut oil increased LDL-cholesterol levels by 10.47 mg/dl and HDL-cholesterol levels by 4.00 mg/dl compared with non-tropical vegetable oils. By contrast, markers of glycaemia, inflammation and adiposity were not significantly affected by consumption of coconut oil compared with non-tropical vegetable oils. “Coconut oil should not be viewed as healthy oil for cardiovascular disease risk reduction, and limiting coconut oil consumption because of its high saturated fat content is warranted,” conclude the investigators.

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  1. Neelakantan, N. et al. The effect of coconut oil consumption on cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Circulation https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.043052 (2020)

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Correspondence to Gregory B. Lim.

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Lim, G.B. Coconut oil raises LDL-cholesterol levels. Nat Rev Cardiol 17, 200 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41569-020-0345-4

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