Oxidation of dietary linoleate occurs to a greater extent than dietary palmitate in vivo in humans

Siôn A. Parry, Fredrik Rosqvist, Thomas Cornfield, Amy Barrett, Leanne Hodson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: It has been suggested that dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are partitioned into oxidation pathways to a greater extent than dietary saturated fatty acids (SFA). Whilst this has been demonstrated in animal models, evidence in humans is lacking. The potential divergence in the metabolic fate of these dietary fatty acids (FA) may explain some of the reported differences in ectopic fat deposition with SFA and PUFA enriched diets. Aims: To compare whole-body oxidation of dietary palmitate and linoleate after consumption of a single test meal. Methods: In a randomized, crossover design 24 healthy volunteers (12 males and 12 females, matched for age and BMI) underwent two study days separated by 2-week washout period. During each study day participants consumed a standardized test meal which contained [U13C]palmitate or [U13C]linoleate. Blood and breath samples were collected over the 6 h postprandial period and the 13C enrichment in breath CO2 samples and plasma lipid fractions was determined. Results: Appearance of 13C in expired CO2 was significantly (p < 0.05) increased after consumption of the meal containing [U13C]linoleate compared to the meal containing [U13C]palmitate. The recovery of tracer was 8.9 ± 1.2% [U13C]linoleate vs. 5.6 ± 0.4% [U13C]palmitate (p < 0.05). The incorporation of 13C from [U13C]palmitate was greater in plasma triacylglycerol and non-esterified fatty acids than [U13C]linoleate, whereas the incorporation of 13C from [U13C]linoleate was greater than [U13C]palmitate in plasma phospholipids. Although 13CO2 was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in females compared to males after consumption of [U13C]palmitate, there was no difference in 13CO2 between sexes after consumption of [U13C]linoleate. Conclusions: We demonstrate that whole-body oxidation of dietary linoleate is comparatively higher than that of dietary palmitate in humans following consumption of a single mixed-test meal. We found indications of sexual dimorphism for dietary palmitate but not dietary linoleate. Study registration: http://www.clinicaltrials.org/ ID number NCT03587753.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1108-1114
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Early online date22 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the British Heart Foundation FS/15/56/31645 (LH), and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Institute Strategic Programme Food Innovation and Health ( BB/R012512/1 and its constituent project BBS/E/F/000PR10347 ) (LH). FR is supported by Henning and Johan Throne-Holst's Foundation , Swedish Society for Medical Research , Swedish Society of Medicine and The Foundation Blanceflor .


  • Dietary fat
  • Fat oxidation
  • Linoleate
  • Palmitate
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acid
  • Saturated fatty acid


Dive into the research topics of 'Oxidation of dietary linoleate occurs to a greater extent than dietary palmitate in vivo in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this