Corn oil improves the plasma lipoprotein lipid profile compared with extra-virgin olive oil consumption in men and women with elevated cholesterol: results from a randomized controlled feeding trial

J Clin Lipidol. Jan-Feb 2015;9(1):49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2014.10.006. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


Background: Restricted intakes of saturated and trans-fatty acids is emphasized in heart-healthy diets, and replacement with poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids is encouraged.

Objective: To compare the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acid-rich corn oil (CO) and monounsaturated fatty acid-rich extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) on plasma lipids in men and women (N = 54) with fasting low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥130 mg/dL and <200 mg/dL and triglycerides (TG) ≤350 mg/dL.

Methods: In a double-blind, randomized, crossover design (21-day treatments, 21-day washout between), 4 tablespoons/day CO or EVOO were provided in 3 servings study product/day (muffin, roll, yogurt) as part of a weight-maintenance diet (∼35% fat, <10% saturated fat, <300 mg cholesterol). Subjects ate breakfast at the clinic every weekday throughout the study. Lunches, dinners, and snacks (and breakfasts on weekends) were provided for consumption away from the clinic.

Results: Baseline mean (standard error) lipids in mg/dL were: LDL-C 153.3 (3.5), total cholesterol (total-C) 225.7 (3.9), non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL)-C 178.3 (3.7), HDL-C 47.4 (1.7), total-C/HDL-C 5.0 (0.2), and TG 124.8 (7.2). CO resulted in significantly larger least-squares mean % changes (all P < .001 vs EVOO) from baseline in LDL-C -10.9 vs -3.5, total-C -8.2 vs -1.8, non-HDL-C -9.3 vs -1.6, and total-C/HDL-C -4.4 vs 0.5. TG rose a smaller amount with CO, 3.5 vs 13.0% with EVOO (P = .007). HDL-C responses were not significantly different between conditions (-3.4 vs -1.7%).

Conclusion: Consumption of CO in a weight-maintenance, low saturated fat and cholesterol diet resulted in more favorable changes in LDL-C and other atherogenic lipids vs EVOO.

Trial registration: NCT01925716.

Keywords: Cholesterol; Corn oil; Lipids; Lipoproteins; Low-density lipoprotein; Monounsaturated fatty acids; Olive oil; Phytosterols; Polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Corn Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / pathology
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Corn Oil
  • Cholesterol

Associated data