Study title and authors:
Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies
IA Prior, F Davidson, CE Salmond and Z Czochanska
Epidemiology Unit. Wellington Hospital. Wellington New Zealand, the Health Department, Wellington, New Zealand and the Chemistry Division, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Private Bag, Wellington, New Zealand.
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ajcn.org/content/34/8/1552.abstract
The study found:
(a) The diets in both Pukapuka and Tokelau are high in saturated fat.
(b) Tokelauans obtain a much higher percentage of energy from coconut than the Pukapukans, 63% compared with 34%, so their intake of saturated fat is higher.
(c) The cholesterol levels are 35 to 40 mg higher in Tokelauans than in Pukapukans.
(d) Heart disease was virtually non-existant in both groups.
(e) The migration of Tokelau Islanders to New Zealand was associated with an increased risk for heart disease. After migration their diets changed - They ate less saturated fat and more carbohydrate.
Both groups ate diets high in saturated fats - and had no heart disease.
Tokelauans ate more saturated fat, had higher cholesterol - and had no heart disease.
After migrating to New Zealand, Tokelauans ate less saturated fat and more carbohydrate - and suffered from heart disease.