Cook with vegetable fats for a healthy heart: study

People should feel guilt-free when cooking with vegetable fats like canola, corn and sunflower oils, which can actually be heart-healthy, suggests a team of US experts.

Not all fats are created equal, say researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois. But vegetable fats have been unfairly vilified and lumped in the same group as animal fats when in fact they can help strengthen cardiovascular health, they say.

Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and released by the universities last week, the study reviewed 15 clinical trials involving 500 adults who consumed various forms of fats. The overall conclusion was that vegetable-derived fats like soy, corn and canola are rich in linoleic acid, which has been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Animal fats, meanwhile, can cause harmful inflammation in the body, which has been linked to chronic disease.

But before you go go throwing assorted foods into the deep fryer, scientists remind consumers that the maximum recommended daily intake is between 2 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil to reap the benefits of linoleic acid.

Meanwhile, another study released earlier this year and funded by the canola industry claimed that the consumption of canola oil can help reduce belly fat over other vegetable oil blends like corn and safflower. The Canadian-American study was conducted out of the University of Manitoba, Penn State, Laval University in Quebec and the University of Toronto.