Question: Do Cooking Oils Contain Saturated Fat?

Answer:

In short, yes, but in varying degrees, depending on the type of oil.

Canola oil contains just 1 gram of saturated fat per tablespoon (amounting to 7 percent of its fatty-acid make-up, with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat comprising 62 percent and polyunsaturated fat making up 31 percent). Safflower Oil also contains just 1 gram of saturated fat per tablespoon. Its polyunsaturated fat forms 79 percent of its make-up and 14 percent of its fatty acids are monunsaturated.

Olive oil contains 2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, or 14 percent of its total fat content, with monounsaturated fat forming 78 percent, and polyunsaturated fat 8 percent.

By contrast, coconut oil is around 90 percent saturated fat, just 6 percent monounsaturated fat and 2 percent polyunsaturated fat.

The balance of good fats to bad is clearly in favor of canola oil and olive oil, as they are low in saturated fat and high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

There are those who believe that the particular saturated-fatty-acid make-up of the tropical oils, principally coconut oil and palm fruit oil, allows the body to metabolize them differently than animal fats, making them less harmful and even healthful, but there is no widespread consensus on this.

As for solid fat, butter’s saturated fat content is close to 70 percent of total fat, and lard's is 43 percent.

In general, then, for a healthier fatty-acid profile, it’s better to choose liquid oils such as canola oil and olive oil over solid fats in cooking.

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