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What Is the Best Oil for Cooking? (Page 7)

Palm Oil

Cooking Oil to Skip: Palm Oil

Why skip palm oil: While you can find palm oil for cooking, you’re more likely to find it in packaged foods as many food manufacturers are replacing heart-damaging trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) with palm oil. While palm oil is trans-fat-free, about half of its fat is saturated, adding about 1.5 grams sat fat to each 2-tablespoon serving—and a diet high in saturated fat has been linked with elevated cholesterol levels and increased risk for heart disease. Though you may have heard that palm oil has less of a cholesterol-raising effect than other tropical oils, the research isn’t conclusive. Your best bet is to choose natural products that contain neither added palm oil nor trans fats.

In addition, recent research shows that palmitic acid, a saturated fat found in palm oil (and beef, butter and cheese), caused mice to become resistant to the appetite-suppressing hormones leptin and insulin, which in theory could make them eat more.

Next Slideshow: Butter or Margarine: Which Is Healthier? »

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