British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Acute postprandial effect of hydrogenated fish oil, palm oil and lard on plasma cholesterol, triacylglycerol and non-esterified fatty acid metabolism in normocholesterolaemic males

Marie M. Cantwella1a2a3, Mary A.T. Flynna1a2a4 and Michael J. Gibneya2 c1

a1 Department of Biological Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin Street, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland

a2 2Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland

a3 Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

a4 Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada


The majority of research has focused on the association between trans unsaturated fatty acids (TUFA) from hydrogenated vegetable oils and heart disease even though TUFA are also produced from hydrogenated fish oil. We compared the acute effect of three solid fats on postprandial cholesterol, triacylglycerol (TAG) and NEFA concentrations in normocholesterolaemic males. Eight healthy male volunteers consumed each of the three 40g fat meals (partially hydrogenated fish oil (PHFO), palm oil and lard) in random order and blood samples were drawn at 2, 4, 6 and 8h thereafter for lipid analysis. The postprandial response in plasma TAG, TAG-rich lipoprotein-TAG (TRL-TAG), total cholesterol and plasma NEFA, measured as the area under the postprandial curve, was not significantly different between the three meals (p>0·05), which varied in MUFA, PUFA and TUFA content. There was no marked elevation of longer-chain fatty acids (C20–22, cis or trans isomers) into the TRL-TAG fraction following the PHFO meal even though they provided 40% of the total fatty acids in the PHFO meal. The postprandial TRL-TAG response to PHFO was expected to be higher, as it is higher in TUFA, lower in PUFA and similar in saturated fatty acid composition compared with the lard and palm oil test meals. The absence of a higher postprandial response following ingestion of PHFO could be as a result of reduced absorption and increased oxidation of long-chain fatty acids (both cis and trans isomers)

(Received May 31 2005)

(Revised December 08 2005)

(Accepted December 09 2005)


c1 *Corresponding author: Professor Michael J. Gibney, fax +353 1 454 2043, email