Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 16
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Thilakarathna, S. H. Rogers, M. Lan, Y. Huynh, S. Marangoni, A. G. Robinson, L. E. and Wright, A. J. 2016. Investigations of in vitro bioaccessibility from interesterified stearic and oleic acid-rich blends. Food Funct., Vol. 7, Issue. 4, p. 1932.

    Vors, Cécile Lecomte, Manon and Michalski, Marie-Caroline 2016. Impact de la structure émulsionnée des lipides sur le devenir métabolique des acides gras alimentaires. Cahiers de Nutrition et de Diététique,

    Sadouki, Mohamed and Bouchoucha, Michel 2014. Changes of lipid and fatty acid absorption induced by high dose of citric acid ester and lecithin emulsifiers. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Vol. 65, Issue. 6, p. 728.

    Michalski, M.C. Genot, C. Gayet, C. Lopez, C. Fine, F. Joffre, F. Vendeuvre, J.L. Bouvier, J. Chardigny, J.M. and Raynal-Ljutovac, K. 2013. Multiscale structures of lipids in foods as parameters affecting fatty acid bioavailability and lipid metabolism. Progress in Lipid Research, Vol. 52, Issue. 4, p. 354.

    Nik, Amir Malaki Langmaid, Sarah and Wright, Amanda J. 2012. Digestibility and β-carotene release from lipid nanodispersions depend on dispersed phase crystallinity and interfacial properties. Food Funct., Vol. 3, Issue. 3, p. 234.

    de Hoog, E.H.A. Ruijschop, R.M.A.J. Pyett, S.P. and de Kok, P.M.T. 2011. Reducing Saturated Fats in Foods.

    Raynal-Ljutovac, Ketsia Bouvier, Jérome Gayet, Constance Simon, Noëmie Joffre, Florent Fine, Frédéric Vendeuvre, Jean-Luc Lopez, Christelle Chardigny, Jean-Michel Michalski, Marie-Caroline and Genot, Claude 2011. Organisation structurale et moléculaire des lipides dans les aliments : impacts possibles sur leur digestion et leur assimilation par l’Homme. Oléagineux, Corps gras, Lipides, Vol. 18, Issue. 6, p. 324.

    Huth, Peter J. Fulgoni, Victor Jandacek, Ronald J. Jones, Peter J. St-Onge, Marie-Pierre and Senanayake, Vijitha 2010. Bioactivity and emerging role of short and medium chain fatty acids. Lipid Technology, Vol. 22, Issue. 12, p. 266.

    van Aken, George A. 2010. Relating Food Emulsion Structure and Composition to the Way It Is Processed in the Gastrointestinal Tract and Physiological Responses: What Are the Opportunities?. Food Biophysics, Vol. 5, Issue. 4, p. 258.


    Robinson, Dawn M. Martin, Natalie C. Robinson, Lindsay E. Ahmadi, Latifeh Marangoni, Alejandro G. and Wright, Amanda J. 2009. Influence of Interesterification of a Stearic Acid-Rich Spreadable Fat on Acute Metabolic Risk Factors. Lipids, Vol. 44, Issue. 1, p. 17.

    Tuomasjukka, S Viitanen, M and Kallio, H 2007. Stearic acid is well absorbed from short- and long-acyl-chain triacylglycerol in an acute test meal. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 61, Issue. 12, p. 1352.

    Tarrago-Trani, Maria Teresa Phillips, Katherine M. Lemar, Linda E. and Holden, Joanne M. 2006. New and Existing Oils and Fats Used in Products with Reduced Trans-Fatty Acid Content. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 106, Issue. 6, p. 867.

    Livesey, Geoffrey 2003. Health potential of polyols as sugar replacers, with emphasis on low glycaemic properties. Nutrition Research Reviews, Vol. 16, Issue. 02, p. 163.

    Rao, Reena and Lokesh, Belur R. 2003. TG containing stearic acid, synthesized from coconut oil, exhibit lipidemic effects in rats similar to those of cocoa butter. Lipids, Vol. 38, Issue. 9, p. 913.

    Torres, Carlos F. Munir, Farida Lessard, Louis P. and Hill, Charles G. 2002. Lipase-mediated acidolysis of tristearin with CLA in a packed-bed reactor: A kinetic study. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, Vol. 79, Issue. 7, p. 655.


The absorption of stearic acid from triacylglycerols: an inquiry and analysis

  • Geoffrey Livesey (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 14 December 2007

Although stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid, its influence on plasma cholesterol acid other health variables is neutral; possibly owing in part to poor absorption. Reduced absorption of stearic acid from particular triacylglycerols, cocoa butter and novel fats formulated with short- and long-chain acid triacylglycerol molecules (Salatrims) has been attributed to high intakes. However, the circumstances and causes of poor stearic acid digestion from triacylglycerols are unclear; published data were therefore collected and analysed, with emphasis on human studies. Of twenty-eight studies conducted in adults, most are in men (>90%). The assertion that reduced absorption is due to a high intake of stearoyl groups is not supported: dietary intakes of stearoyl of 0·05–0·65 g stearic acid equivalent/kg body weight (cf typical intake of 0·2 g stearic acid equivalent/kg body weight in the Western diet) indicate that the ‘true’ digestibility of stearoyl is 0·98 (SE 0·01) g/g, with apparent digestibility less than this value at low intakes owing to endogenous stearic acid excretion and to inter-publication variation of unidentified cause. The neutral health impact of stearic acid must be due to factors other than availability. Exceptions include cocoa butter, Salatrims and tristearin, for which digestibility is an additional factor. The efficiency with which human subjects digest stearoyl from cocoa butter still remains uncertain, while the digestion of total long-chain fat from this source is 0·89–0·95 g/g, high in comparison with 0·33 g/g for Salatrim 23CA and 0·15 g/g for tristearin in their prepared states. Salatrims contain the highest proportion of long-chain fatty acids that are stearic acid-rich other than tristearin, which is the main component of fully-hydrogenated soyabean and rapeseed oil. Analysis shows that apparent digestibility of stearic acid is associated with stearoyl density within the triacylglycerol molecule and that, in Salatrims, the occurrence of short-chain fatty acids in place of long-chain fatty acids increases this density. Soap formation appears not to be a major factor in the reduced digestion of stearic acid from tristearin under regular dietary circumstances, but both microcrystallinity and reduced digestibility of tri-, di- and monostearoylglycerols appears to be important. Solubilisation of high-melting-point tristearin in low-melting-point oils improves the digestibility of its stearic acid, particularly when emulsified or liquidized at above melting point. However, without such artificial aids, the digestive tracts of the rat, dog and man have a low capacity for emulsifying and digesting stearic acid from tristearin. Reduced digestibility of stearic acid from Salatrim 23CA also appears to be attributable to reduced digestibility of di- and monostearoylglycerols and is particularly due to remnants with the 1- or 3-stearoylglycerol intact after initial hydrolytic cleavage. Short-chain organic acid in Salatrim 23CA, which is readily hydrolysed, leaves such remnants. Unlike tristearin, Salatrim 23CA melts at body temperature and mixing it with low-melting-point oils is not expected to cause further disruption of microcrystalline structures to aid digestibility of its stearoyl groups. The low digestibility of stearoyl in Salatrim 23CA, together with the occurrence of short-chain organic acids in this product, account for its relatively low nutritional energy value (about 20 kJ (5 kcal)/g) compared with traditional fats (37 kJ (9 kcal)/g) and low fat value (<20:37 kJ/kJ; <5:9 kcal/kcal) relative to traditional fats. In part these differences are because of minor effects of Salatrim 23CA on the excretion of other fat and protein, due to the bulking properties of this poorly-digestible fat.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The absorption of stearic acid from triacylglycerols: an inquiry and analysis
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The absorption of stearic acid from triacylglycerols: an inquiry and analysis
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The absorption of stearic acid from triacylglycerols: an inquiry and analysis
      Available formats
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Dr Geoffrey Livesey, fax +44 1953 600218, email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A Bonanome & SM Grundy (1988) The effect of dietary stearic acid on plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein levels. New England Journal of Medicine 318, 12441248.

PB Cotton (1972) Non-dietary lipid in the intestinal lumen. Gut 13, 675681.

JH Cummings & HS Wiggins (1976) Transit through the gut measured by analysis of a single stool. Gut 17, 219223.

J Davignon , WJ Simmonds & EH Ahrens (1968) Usefulness of chromic oxide as an internal standard for balance studies in formula-fed patients and for assessment of colonic function. Journal of Clinical Investigation 47, 127138.

EA Decker (1996) The role of stereospecific saturated fatty acids positions on lipid nutrition. Nutrition Reviews 54, 108110.

EA Emken , RO Adlof , WK Rohwedder & RM Gully (1993) Influence of linoleic acid on desaturation and uptake of deuterium-labelled palmitic and stearic acids in humans. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1170, 173181.

JW Finley , LP Klemann , GA Leveille , MS Otterburn & CG Walchak (1994 a) Caloric availability of SALATRIM in rats and humans. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42, 495499.

JW Finley , GA Leveille , RM Dixon , CG Walchak , JC Sourby , RE Smith , KD Francis & MS Otterburn (1994 b) Clinical assessment of SALATRIM, a reduced calorie triacylglycerol. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42, 581596.

JW Finley , GA Leveille , RM Dixon , CG Walchak , JC Sourby , RE Smith , KD Francis & MS Otterburn (1994 c) Correction. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42, 2982.

JR Hayes , JW Finley & GA Leveille (1994 a) In vivo metabolism of SALATRIM fats in the rat. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42, 500514.

JR Hayes , DH Pence , S Scheinbach , RP D'Amelia , LP Klemann , NH Wilson & JW Finely (1994 a) Review of triacylglycerol digestion, absorption and metabolism with respect to SALATRIM triacylglycerols. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42, 474483.

LP Klemann , JW Finley & GA Leveille (1994) Estimation of the absorption coefficient of stearic acid in Salatrim fats. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42, 484488.

N Koizumi , M Fujii , R Ninomiya , Y Inoue , T Kagawa & T Tsukamoto (1983) Studies on transitory laxative effects of sorbitol and maltitol. I: Estimation of 50% effective dose and maximum non-effective dose. Chemosphere 12, 4553.

CF Langworth & AD Holmes (1917) Digestibility of Some Vegetable Fats. USDA Bulletin no. 505. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

C Lentner , T Lauffenburger , J Guncaga , MA Dambacher & HS Haas (1975) The metabolic balance technique: a critical reappraisal. Metabolism 24, 461471.

G Livesey , D Buss , P Coussement , DG Edwards , J Howlett , D Jonas , JE Kleiner , D Muller & A Sentko (2000) Suitability of traditional energy values for novel foods and food ingredients. Food Control 11, 249289.

WD Mitchell , T Fyfe & DA Smith (1968) The effect of oral calcium on cholesterol metabolism. Journal of Atherosclerosis Research 8, 913922.

SS Narine & AG Marangoni (1999 b) The difference between cocoa butter and Salatrim lies in the microstructure of the fat crystal network. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 76, 713.

O Olubajo , MW Marshall , JT Judd & JT Adkins (1986) Effect of high- and low-fat diets on the bioavailability of selected fatty acids, including linoleic acid, in adult men. Nutrition Research 6, 931955.

JC Peters , BN Holcolmb , LK Hiller & DR Webb (1991) Caprenin 3. Absorption and caloric value in adult humans. Journal of the American College of Toxicology 10, 357367.

GS Ranhotra , JA Gelroth & SD Leinen (1998) Energy value of a fat high in stearic acid. Journal of Food Science 63, 363365.

D Saunders , J Sillery & R Chapman (1988) Effect of calcium carbonate and aluminium hydroxide on human intestinal function. Digestive Diseases and Sciences 33, 409413.

Y Shahkhalili , E Duruz & K Archeson (2000) Digestibility of cocoa butter from chocolate in humans: a comparison with corn-oil. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 54, 120125.

D Sklan & P Budowski (1972) Formation of linoleic acid in the rat caecum. British Journal of Nutrition 28, 457462.

DM Small (1992) The effect of glyceride structure on absorption and metabolism. Annual Review of Nutrition 11, 413434.

BJ Softly , AS Huang , JW Finley , M Petersheim , RG Yarger , MM Chrysam , RL Wieczorek , MS Otterburn , A Manz & GJ Templeman (1994) Composition of representative SALATRIM fat preparations. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry 42, 461467.

JPW Webb , AT James & TD Kellock (1963) The influence of diet on the quality of faecal fat in patients with and without steatorrhoea. Gut 4, 3741.

HS Wiggins , KE Howell , TD Kellock & J Stalder (1969) The origins of faecal fat. Gut 10, 400403.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Nutrition Research Reviews
  • ISSN: 0954-4224
  • EISSN: 1475-2700
  • URL: /core/journals/nutrition-research-reviews
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *