It must be true that old habits are hard to break, because the internet is still brimming with articles encouraging people to stay heart-healthy by avoiding saturated fats, such as this November 2016 article in The Guardian. Scientists have clearly debunked the theory that saturated fat consumption is linked to heart disease. Up-to-date nutritionists encourage consumption of nuts, seeds, avocadoes and tropical oils such as sustainable Malaysian palm oil. These natural healthy fat sources are no longer the bad guys. In fact, those who have studied volumes of research say these fats are heart healthy thanks in part to their powerful, cholesterol-lowering plant sterols.

Nutritional science has changed the definition of a healthy and not-so-healthy fat

The article includes recommendations from nutritionist Chioma Frederick: “To her, certain foods which contain saturated fat and trans fat such as red meat, whole-fat dairy products, margarine and eggs should be avoided by those with high cholesterol.” Natural saturated fats should not be lumped together with artificial and unhealthy trans fats. Nutritionists now consider saturated fat consumption part of a healthy diet. Studies have shown that there is no association between saturated fat and increased heart disease risk. Trans fats, however, have been associated with heart disease, stroke and obesity. Regarding cholesterol, the USDA Dietary Guidelines no longer consider it a nutrient of concern because there is no appreciable relationship between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol.

One of the healthiest cooking oils is Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil

The article also shared misguided advice about cooking oils. Frederick suggested avoiding tropical oils such as palm, coconut and cocoa butter. “Instead, go for olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, corn oil and mustard oil,” she stated. Dietitians now know that tropical oils such as palm oil are wholesome choices. Malaysian palm oil is packed with brain- and skin-supporting phytonutrients, sterols and antioxidants. Palm oil’s effect on the body is similar to olive oil, but it is much more versatile. Olive oil degrades at high heat, but Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil can be used at baking and frying temperatures. Many health experts now suggest limiting use of inflammatory oils such as corn and soybean oil. Malaysian palm oil is also an ideal choice for those wishing to consume more natural foods. Malaysian palm oil is always non-GMO, while more than 90 percent of the U.S. canola, soybean and corn crop are grown with genetically modified seed.

Read more about cooking oils.

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