Digestibility of cocoa butter and corn oil in human subjects: A preliminary study

D. Crisman Mitchell, K. E. McMahon, C. A. Shively, J. L. Apgar, P. M. Kris-Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The comparative absorption of cocoa butter (25.5% C(16:0), 34.4% C(18:0), 34.4% C(18:1), 3.4% C(18:2)) and corn oil (11.4% C(16:0), 2.0% C(18:0), 26.4% C(18:1), 60.0% C(18:2)) was assessed in six healthy male subjects. During 3-d experimental diet periods, free-living subjects consumed either cocoa butter or corn oil as virtually the sole source of dietary fat, provided at 40% of the total energy intake in the form of specially formulated cookies. Fat absorption was determined by quantifying total fecal lipid excretion over the 3-d period. Total fecal lipid and fecal fatty acids were determined. The percentage of fat excreted was significantly higher (p ≤ 0.001) when subjects consumed the cocoa butter (10.8 ± 3.2%) vs the corn oil (3.5 ± 1.0%) diet. These results indicate that the digestibility of cocoa butter is significantly less than corn oil and may explain, in part, previous reports of a neutral effect of dietary cocoa butter on plasma cholesterol concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-986
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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