April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
A new study reveals that corn oil significantly reduces cholesterol with more favorable changes in total cholesterol (TC) and LDL-C than extra virgin olive oil.
Dr. Kevin C. Maki, of Biofortis, the clinical research arm of Mérieux NutriSciences, presented the study findings at the American Society for Nutrition’s Advances & Controversies in Clinical Nutrition Conference earlier this week.
The study was comprised of 54 healthy men and women. Among the participants, consumption of foods made with corn oil resulted in significantly lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol than the same foods made with extra virgin olive oil. LDL cholesterol was lowered by 10.9 percent with corn oil compared to extra virgin olive oil’s 3.5 percent reduction. Corn oil reduced total cholesterol by 8.2 percent compared to 1.8 percent for extra virgin olive oil.
Each day, the study participants received four tablespoons of either corn oil or extra virgin olive oil in the foods provided as part of a weight maintenance diet—consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.
The clinical trial was a randomized, double-blind, controlled crossover assessment of the effects of dietary oils on fasting lipoprotein lipids that compared the effects of corn and extra virgin olive oil on LDL cholesterol (primary outcome variable), total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), Non-HDL cholesterol, Triglycerides and the total to HDL cholesterol ratio.
The participants all had fasting LDL cholesterol ≥130 mg/dL and <200 mg/dL. Other measurements, such as fasting blood sugar, were taken from all participants during visits to the clinical study center before and after each treatment phase of the study.
“The study results suggest corn oil has significantly greater effects on blood cholesterol levels than extra virgin olive oil, due, in part, to the natural cholesterol-blocking ability of plant sterols,” said Dr. Maki. “These findings add to those from prior research supporting corn oil’s positive heart health benefits.”
In the US, cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death. Previous studies support the idea that diets containing at least 5-10 percent of calories from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from vegetable oils, are associated with lower risk for heart disease.
Research suggests that the unique combination of healthy fatty acids and plant sterols in corn oil help lower cholesterol. Corn oil has four times the plant sterols of olive oil and 40 percent more than canola oil. A 2013 USDA comparison of other cooking oils and an analysis of corn oil showed that corn oil has a plant sterols content of 135.6 mg/serving vs. 30.0 mg/serving for olive oil. Plant sterols are naturally occurring substances in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes and vegetable oils, such as corn oil, which could have an important role in a heart healthy diet.