- Cottonseed oil can help reduce cholesterol levels
- Consuming a high-fat diet enriched with cottonseed oil decreased LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and increased HDL (good cholesterol) levels in healthy men
The researchers conducted a five-day outpatient feeding trial of 15 healthy, normal weight men to test the effects of diets enriched with cottonseed oil and olive oil on lipid profiles.
Participants showed significant reductions in cholesterol and triglycerides in the cottonseed oil trial compared to minimal changes on the olive oil-enriched diet.
"One of the reasons these results were so surprising is because of the magnitude of change observed with the cottonseed oil diet," said Jamie Cooper, an associate professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences' department of foods and nutrition and the corresponding author of the journal article.
"To see this amount of change in such a short period of time is exciting."
Findings of the Study
This diet also increased high-density lipoproteins, or HDL (the "good" cholesterol) by 8 percent.
Researchers suggested a fatty acid unique to cottonseed oil, dihydrosterculic acid, may help prevent the accumulation of triglycerides, a type of fat, in the body.
"By doing that, it pushes the body to burn more of that fat because it can't store it properly, so you have less lipid and cholesterol accumulation," Cooper said.
That mechanism, in addition to the high polyunsaturated fat and omega-6 content of cottonseed oil, seems to be a key component to the beneficial effects on lipid profiles, Cooper said.
Researchers plan to expand the study to include older adults with high cholesterol as well as a longer feeding intervention.