It can be challenging to know what foods are healthy and what’s not, especially when advice we’ve been told for years turn out to be false. Nutrition expert and author Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS helped Good Morning Arizona viewers by reviewing the latest research on saturated fats. He explained that some of their favorite snacks may not be the healthiest choices. He also suggested swapping out their cooking oil for Malaysian sustainable palm oil.
The latest research on saturated fat surprised many people. “We were told to avoid saturated fats at all costs: ‘It is terrible for us. It causes heart disease’,” said Bowden. “And now we’ve been told that it is not true at all.” Two major studies have showed that there is no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease risk.
This fear of saturated fats caused many people to stop eating healthy fats such as butter and palm oil. “Instead, we’ve been eating all these vegetable oils which actually contribute to inflammation,” said Bowden. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as corn and soybean oil, are rich in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Bowden suggested making an oil swap. “Malaysian sustainable palm oil is one of my favorite cooking oils. Palm oil is a saturated fat, but it is good for you,” said Bowden. Palm oil is balanced: consisting of approximately 50 percent saturated and 50 percent unsaturated fatty acids.
Carotino palm cooking oil, made with nutritious Malaysian sustainable palm oil, has a rich red color. “The redness comes from the carotenoids and tocotrienols that are in it,” explained Bowden. Palm oil, unlike olive and flaxseed oil, has a high smoke point, making it ideal for high-temperature cooking.
Non-GMO and naturally trans fat-free, Malaysian sustainable palm oil is also a common ingredient for food manufacturers. “You will see it in products such as Smart Balance spreads,” said Bowden. “So look for Malaysian palm oil. It is a great cooking oil to substitute for corn oil and safflower oil and all the other ones.”