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Saturated fat levels in different types of cooking oilFeatured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was conducted to measure the levels of saturated fat in different types of cooking oil. The tests were done using peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil, soya bean oil and olive oil.


Peanut oil will have the highest proportion of saturated fat, and when the iodine test is performed, will require the longest time to lose its purple color.

Scientific Terms

Cholesterol, Low Density Lipoproteins (LDP), High Density Lipoproteins (HDP), saturated fat, polyunsaturated oil, monounsaturated oil, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid


Cholesterol and saturated fat

The two types of cholesterol in our body are known as Low Density Lipoproteins (LDP) and High Density Lipoproteins (HDP). The unhealthy cholesterol, LDP, increases the risk of heart disease while the healthy cholesterol, HDP, lowers that risk. As the consumption of saturated fats is likely to increase the levels of LDP in our bodies, using cooking oil with a lower level of saturated fat can provide for better health.

Saturated fat is normally found in foods such as butter, fatty meat, cheese, cream, chocolate and pie. To lower the intake of saturated fat and reduce one’s cholesterol levels, it is better to consume lean meat and low-fat dairy products instead of their higher-fat alternatives. Healthier substitutes for saturated fats are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, which can be found in olive oil, fish oil and cornflower oil. In particular, eating fish for their Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat content can protect the blood arteries by preventing blood clots.

Besides consuming less saturated fat, regular exercise can also help to reduce the level of cholesterol in our blood.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour for preparation, 1 hour for observation
Material availability:
Easily found. Iodine solution may be obtained from a chemist
Safety concerns: