METHODS AND STUDY DESIGN: We searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials and CINAHL. Clinical trials were eligible if they compared palm oil-rich diets with diets rich in MUFAs or PUFAs. We pooled results of included studies using a random effects model and assessed the quality of the evidence and certainty of conclusions using the GRADE approach.
RESULTS: Intake of palm oil intake compared to oils rich in MUFA was associated with increased levels of total cholesterol (TC) [mean difference (MD)=0.27 mmol/L; 95% CI 0.08 to 0.45], LDL-C (MD=0.20 mmol/L; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.37) and HDL-C (MD=0.06 mmol/L; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.10). Similarly, for comparison with oils rich in PUFAs, palm oil showed increased in TC (MD=0.38 mmol/L; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.62), LDL-C (MD= 0.44 mmol/L; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.88) and HDL-C (MD=0.08 mmol/L; 95% CI 0.03 to 0.13). For both comparisons, there were no significant effects on triglycerides.
CONCLUSIONS: Even though palm oil increases marginally the level of serum lipids, the evidence is mostly of low to moderate quality.