The Common Oil That Science Now Shows is Worse Than Sugar

If you think that sugar is the unhealthiest thing you can eat, you’re wrong. Apparently, the Worst Food on the Planet Award should actually go to soybean oil, suggests new findings published in the journal PLoS One.

Setting up a sort of dietary cage match, researchers fed mice a series of diets each containing 40 percent fat. The fat in the first diet was primarily saturated and came from coconut oil, while the fat in the second diet was primarily unsaturated and came mostly from soybean oil. The researchers also fed mice two altered versions of the high-fat diets that also contained fructose.

The assumption was that the fructose-eating mice would pack on the most fat and develop the worst insulin resistance. But that’s not what happened. Instead, the mice who ate the soybean oil diet without fructose gained the most weight—9 percent more than the fructose-eating mice and a whopping 25 percent more than the mice who got their fat from coconut oil. Compared to their fructose-eating counterparts, the mice on the soybean oil diet also had fattier livers and more insulin resistance—both signs of impending diabetes and metabolic syndrome.