Effects of oils and solid fats on blood lipids: a systematic review and network meta-analysis

J Lipid Res. 2018 Sep;59(9):1771-1782. doi: 10.1194/jlr.P085522. Epub 2018 Jul 13.


The aim of this network meta-analysis (NMA) is to compare the effects of different oils/solid fats on blood lipids. Literature searches were performed until March 2018. Inclusion criteria were as follows: i) randomized trial (3 weeks study length) comparing at least two of the following oils/solid fats: safflower, sunflower, rapeseed, hempseed, flaxseed, corn, olive, soybean, palm, and coconut oil, and lard, beef-fat, and butter; ii) outcomes LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (TC), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), and triacylglycerols (TGs). A random dose-response (per 10% isocaloric exchange) NMA was performed and surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) was estimated. Fifty-four trials were included in the NMA. Safflower oil had the highest SUCRA value for LDL-C (82%) and TC (90%), followed by rapeseed oil (76% for LDL-C, 85% for TC); whereas, palm oil (74%) had the highest SUCRA value for TG, and coconut oil (88%) for HDL-C. Safflower, sunflower, rapeseed, flaxseed, corn, olive, soybean, palm, and coconut oil as well beef fat were more effective in reducing LDL-C (-0.42 to -0.23 mmol/l) as compared with butter. Despite limitations in these data, our NMA findings are in line with existing evidence on the metabolic effects of fat and support current recommendations to replace high saturated-fat food with unsaturated oils.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; evidence synthesis; fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Lipids