Choosing the right saturates
Calorie for calorie, lauric and myristic acids increase total cholesterol twice as much as palmitic acid; stearic acid has no appreciable effect on serum lipids.1
Not all saturated fats are the same.
Mensink RP. Lipids. 2005;40:1201–1205.
Palm fruit…the misunderstood tropical oil.
Not all tropical oils are the same either. While coconut and palm kernel oils are high in lauric and myristic acids, palm fruit oil is high in palmitic acid, and also contains oleic, linoleic, and stearic acids.2,3
The oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis) is indigenous to western Africa, and its fruit has been harvested for its oil for thousands of years. The individual fruit is made of an outer skin, a pulp (containing palm fruit oil in a fibrous matrix), and a central nut containing the kernel. Palm kernel oil more closely resembles coconut oil than the oil garnered from the fruit,4 which is a “blended” fat containing both saturated (palmitic) and polyunsaturated (oleic) fats, along with significant antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin E.3
References: 1. Mensink RP. Effects of stearic acid on plasma lipid and lipoproteins in humans. Lipids. 2005;40:1201–1205. 2. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada. Dietary fatty acids. J Am Diet Assoc. 2007;107:1599–1611. 3. Edem DO. Palm oil: biochemical, physiological, nutritional, hematological, and toxicological aspects: a review. Plant Foods Human Nutr. 2002;57:319–341. 4. Poku K. Small-scale palm oil processing in Africa. Rome, Italy: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations; 2002. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin 148. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y4355E/y4355e00.htm. Accessed June 7, 2009.