Coconut oil and lard not ideal alternatives: experts
By Ted Chen The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Nutritionists yesterday cautioned against the rising popularity of coconut oil and lard as substitutes in light of concerns over tainted cooking oil, as excessive consumption of these substitutes may result in heart disease.
October 28, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Following the outbreak of the cooking oil scare at the hands of unscrupulous companies, consumers had been adopting alternatives, including small-scaled neighborhood oil pressers and making lard by hand. Sales of fatty cuts of pork, normally avoided by consumers, had grown markedly, according to reports.
According to nutritionists, coconut oil and lard contains an abundance of fatty acids and saturated fats, the intake of which can lead to a variety of heart and cardiovascular diseases.
Nutritionists also said that the harmful effects of animal fats and oils are particularly pronounced on individuals who exercise infrequently, who tend to consume more food than average, and those already diagnosed with heart diseases. These individuals may see their low density lipoprotein readings surge dramatically, said nutritionists.
Vegetable oils made from coconut, cocoa, or palm may contain as much as twice the amount of saturated fats and fatty acids found in oils made from animal fat, posing the same level of health risks as high cholesterol items including margarine, hydrogenated oils, pastries and fatty cuts of meats, said nutritionists.
Members of the public are advised to purchase oils bottled in glass, as the products are less likely to degrade during transport, advised nutritionists, who added that consumers should only purchase mid-range priced oils made by reputable brands.
In addition, consumers are advised to use vegetable cooking oil made from soy, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, grape seeds and peanuts, as these oils contain lower levels of non-saturated fats and fatty acids. These oils also contain improved health benefits, and help lower blood cholesterol levels, and are suitable for cold dishes, or low heat sautéing and frying, said nutritionists. Similarly, olive, tea seed, and canola oils contain proportionally less non-saturated fatty acid content, and may be helpful in raising levels of beneficial cholesterol in the bloodstream. In contrast, oils made from cattle, swine, coconut, are known to contribute to heart disease, and consumption is not advised, said nutritionists.
However, despite nutritionists' warnings, some consumers stated that their grandparents had been consuming lard for generations, and that amid recent developments perhaps it is a better choice to return to traditional methods.