A randomized study of coconut oil versus sunflower oil on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with stable coronary heart disease

Indian Heart J. 2016 Jul-Aug;68(4):498-506. doi: 10.1016/j.ihj.2015.10.384. Epub 2016 Jan 13.


Background and rationale: Coronary artery disease (CAD) and its pathological atherosclerotic process are closely related to lipids. Lipids levels are in turn influenced by dietary oils and fats. Saturated fatty acids increase the risk for atherosclerosis by increasing the cholesterol level. This study was conducted to investigate the impact of cooking oil media (coconut oil and sunflower oil) on lipid profile, antioxidant mechanism, and endothelial function in patients with established CAD.

Design and methods: In a single center randomized study in India, patients with stable CAD on standard medical care were assigned to receive coconut oil (Group I) or sunflower oil (Group II) as cooking media for 2 years. Anthropometric measurements, serum, lipids, Lipoprotein a, apo B/A-1 ratio, antioxidants, flow-mediated vasodilation, and cardiovascular events were assessed at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years.

Results: Hundred patients in each arm completed 2 years with 98% follow-up. There was no statistically significant difference in the anthropometric, biochemical, vascular function, and in cardiovascular events after 2 years.

Conclusion: Coconut oil even though rich in saturated fatty acids in comparison to sunflower oil when used as cooking oil media over a period of 2 years did not change the lipid-related cardiovascular risk factors and events in those receiving standard medical care.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cholesterol; Coconut oil; Cooking medium; Sunflower oil.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Coconut Oil
  • Coronary Disease / blood
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Fats
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Fats
  • Lipids
  • Plant Oils
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Coconut Oil