Tropical Oils (coconut oil and palm oils) Saturated vegetable oils and common food additives. The most common tropical oils are coconut oil and palm oil, mainstays of processed foods. They provide a rich taste and pleasing flavor to granola, cold breakfast cereals, crackers, cookies, and other products. Tropical oils are among the most saturated fats, even more saturated than lard and
beef tallow. Coconut oil is 92 percent saturated; palm kernel oil is 86 percent saturated; while palm oil is 52 percent saturated. For comparison, butter is 65 percent saturated and LARD is 41 percent saturated. Unlike unsaturated vegetable oils such as
olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil, or canola oil, which lower blood cholesterol, tropical oils seem to increase blood cholesterol levels among Americans.
Consumption of tropical oils may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. Tropical oil can be disguised by food labeling. Over half the products with added vegetable oil use “multiple choice labeling.” The manufacturer can use the least expensive oil available and add the following descriptions on food labels. “100 percent vegetable oil”; “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (may contain one or more of the following: coconut, soybean, corn oils)”; “hydrogenated vegetable shortening (soybean, palm, and/or palm kernel oil)”; or “contains one or more of the following: palm, palm kernel, cottonseed, peanut, soybean, and safflower oil.” These phrases on food labels are too vague to allow consumers to determine the exact types of oils present. Several food producers are changing their formulations and are in the process of gradually phasing out tropical oils in fast foods such as french fries.Tags: coconut oil, tropical oil