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Effects of Palm Stearin versus Butter in the Context of Low-Carbohydrate/High-Fat and High-Carbohydrate/Low-Fat Diets on Circulating Lipids in a Controlled Feeding Study in Healthy Humans.

  • Author(s): Hyde, Parker N
  • Sapper, Teryn N
  • LaFountain, Richard A
  • Kackley, Madison L
  • Buga, Alex
  • Fell, Brandon
  • Crabtree, Christopher D
  • Phinney, Stephen D
  • Miller, Vincent J
  • King, Sarah M
  • Krauss, Ronald M
  • Kraemer, William J
  • Volek, Jeff S
  • et al.


Foods rich in saturated fatty acids (SFAs) have been discouraged by virtue of their cholesterol-raising potential, but this effect is modulated by the food source and background level of carbohydrate.


We aimed to compare the consumption of palm stearin (PS) versus butter on circulating cholesterol responses in the setting of both a low-carbohydrate/high-fat (LC/HF) and high-carbohydrate/low-fat (HC/LF) diet in healthy subjects. We also explored effects on plasma lipoprotein particle distribution and fatty acid composition.


We performed a randomized, controlled-feeding, cross-over study that compared a PS- versus a Butter-based diet in a group of normocholesterolemic, non-obese adults. A controlled canola oil-based 'Run-In' diet preceded the experimental PS and Butter diets. All diets were eucaloric, provided for 3-weeks, and had the same macronutrient distribution but varied in primary fat source (40% of the total fat). The same Run-In and cross-over experiments were done in two separate groups who self-selected to either a LC/HF (n = 12) or a HC/LF (n = 12) diet track. The primary outcomes were low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-C, triglycerides, and LDL particle distribution.


Compared to PS, Butter resulted in higher LDL-C in both the LC/HF (13.4%, p = 0.003) and HC/LF (10.8%, p = 0.002) groups, which was primarily attributed to large LDL I and LDL IIa particles. There were no differences between PS and Butter in HDL-C, triglycerides, or small LDL particles. Oxidized LDL was lower after PS than Butter in LC/HF (p = 0.011), but not the HC/LF group.


These results demonstrate that Butter raises LDL-C relative to PS in healthy normocholesterolemic adults regardless of background variations in carbohydrate and fat, an effect primarily attributed to larger cholesterol-rich LDL particles.

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