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The type of fat you eat goes a long way to determining your overall health, and studies show that peanut oil may be particularly dangerous to one’s heart and arteries, according to one animal study that compared how different types of fat affect the functioning and health of arteries, which are critical to healthy heart functioning.

In that study, researchers fed monkeys three strictly limited diets over the course of nearly a year. Each diet was made up of the same amount of fat – 25 percent – but drew the fat from different sources – one contained corn oil, another butter and a third peanut oil.

Researchers discovered that peanut oil led to “the most widespread and advanced atherosclerosis,” which is the scientific-sounding name for “fatty deposits that can clog arteries,” according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

The peanut oil-fed monkeys showed signs of “thick, fibrous plaques,” which can lead to a range of dangerous conditions, including coronary heart disease, chest pain, kidney disease and other maladies.

To visualize how the build-up of plaques can disrupt the normal flow of blood and lead to life-threatening conditions, consider the following description from the AHA:

“Where plaque occurs, two things can happen. One is that a piece of plaque may break off and be carried by the bloodstream until it gets stuck. The other is that a blood clot (thrombus) may form on the plaque’s surface. If either of these things happen, the artery can be blocked and blood flow cut off.”

Indeed, that description is similar to what the researchers discovered was occurring in the monkeys that gained their fat from peanut oil. These animals experienced “the most severe coronary narrowing” among the three groups under study.

The study authors report that, based on their analysis, “peanut oil is an unusually atherogenic fat,” which means that it tends to promote the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries.

A second study also confirmed these heart-damaging effects of peanut oil, further showing that lectins, which is abundant in peanut oil, may be behind the build-up of lesions within arteries.

Lectins are a type of protein that are commonly found in beans and grains, and their impact on a person’s health has been tied to gastrointestinal distress and other conditions, such as autoimmune disorders.

Returning to the first study, the researchers found that corn oil had the least harmful impact of the three groups, and that fat from butter didn’t lead to the severe plaque build-up that occurred after consuming peanut oil.

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