Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, in Frederiksberg, Denmark, compared the effects of a diet rich in palm olein (the liquid portion of a fat) to fractionated palm oil, olive oil, and lard.

First, the details.

  • 32 healthy men replaced part of their dietary fat intake with about 17% of energy from palm olein, olive oil, or lard, respectively.
  • All participants followed each diet for 3 weeks in random order.
  • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

And, the results.

  • Compared with olive oil, palm olein and lard significantly increased total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Palm olein resulted in significantly lower triglyceride blood levels than did olive oil.
  • There was no difference in effects on HDL (good) cholesterol, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, plasminogen activator-1, insulin, and blood sugar concentrations.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded that their findings do not support the previous finding that the effect of palm olein on total plasma cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in healthy individuals with normal cholesterol concentrations is neutral compared with that of olive oil.

The relatively lower triglyceride blood concentrations after the palm olein diet than after the olive oil diet was unexpected.

The results don’t appear to support palm oil as alternative to olive oil in your diet.

11/21/11 20:47 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.