Should You Switch to Corn Oil to Lower Cholesterol?

A newly published study shows that corn oil reduces cholesterol much more effectively than extra virgin olive oil. But before you make a switch, there are some other factors to consider.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #415

Cindy writes,

“Recently I’ve been seeing ads on television saying that corn oil is better than olive oil for lowering cholesterol. I've always used olive oil and canola oil. Now, I’m thinking of changing from canola oil to corn oil. Should I make the switch?”

I bet Cindy's not the only one who has been seeing these ads. Makers of corn oil are spending a lot of money right now to promote the results of a study showing that a diet rich in corn oil reduced cholesterol more than a diet rich in olive oil.

Those of you with a very good memory might remember me writing about this same study a few years ago, when the unpublished results were first presented at a scientific meeting. This month, the study was finally published in a in a peer-reviewed journal. Because it’s getting a lot of new attention, I thought it would be worth revisiting.

First, let’s take a closer look at what the study found and then I’ll tell you whether I think it makes sense to start using corn oil in place of other oils you might be using.

How Corn Oil Affects Cholesterol

In the study, healthy adults consumed either 4 Tablespoons of corn oil or 4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day for three weeks. The oils were incorporated into various foods, including muffins and yogurt. After three weeks on the corn oil diet, the subjects saw a 9% reduction on average in their LDL cholesterol versus just 2% for the olive oil diet. 


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.