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Effect of a Diet Enriched with Fresh Coconut Saturated Fats on Plasma Lipids and Erythrocyte Fatty Acid Composition in Normal Adults

Nagashree, Rokkam Shankar, Manjunath, N. K., Indu, M., Ramesh, M., Venugopal, V., Sreedhar, P., Pavithra, N., Nagendra, Hongasandra R.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2017 v.36 no.5 pp. 330-334
adults, blood lipids, blood sampling, cholesterol, coconuts, diet, erythrocytes, fatty acid composition, high density lipoprotein, linolenic acid, low density lipoprotein, oleic acid, peanut oil, peanuts, risk, saturated fatty acids, volunteers
Objective : The objective of this study was to compare the effects of increased saturated fatty acid (SFA) (provided by fresh coconut) versus monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) intake (provided by a combination of groundnuts and groundnut oil) on plasma lipids and erythrocyte fatty acid (EFA) composition in healthy adults. Material and Methods : Fifty-eight healthy volunteers, randomized into 2 groups, were provided standardized diet along with 100 g fresh coconut or groundnuts and groundnut oil combination for 90 days in a Yoga University. Fasting blood samples were collected before and after the intervention period for the measurement of plasma lipids and EFA profile. Results : Coconut diet increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels significantly. In contrast, the groundnut diet decreased total cholesterol (TC), mainly due to a decrease in HDL levels. There were no differences in the major SFA of erythrocytes in either group. However, coconut consumption resulted in an increase in C14:0 and C24:0 along with a decrease in levels of C18:1 n9 (oleic acid). There was a significant increase in levels of C20:3 n6 (dihomo-gamma linolenic acid, DGLA). Conclusions : Consumption of SFA-rich coconut for 3 months had no significant deleterious effect on erythrocytes or lipid-related factors compared to groundnut consumption. On the contrary, there was an increase in the anti-atherogenic HDL levels and anti-inflammatory precursor DGLA in erythrocyte lipids. This suggests that coconut consumption may not have any deleterious effects on cardiovascular risk in normal subjects.