Both dark chocolate studies involved feeding substantial quantities of chocolate, rich in saturated fat, to people and noting the positive effects on their cholesterol.
"Just because a food is overall healthy doesn't mean that all of the ingredients in that food are healthy."
This is more or less my point. The same seems to be true of palm oil however. If it was purely saturated fat then it would probably not do great things for your cholesterol. But it's half saturated, half monounsaturated and (at least in its virgin form) is loaded with antioxidants.
"This was a study regarding tocotrienols extracted from palm oil, not the consumption of palm oil itself."
But it happens that palm oil is extremely rich in those tocotrienols.
Let's hear your problems with this study-http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20095133
"In spite of its level of saturated fatty acid content (50%), red palm oil has not been found to promote atherosclerosis and/or arterial thrombosis. This is probably due to the ratio of its saturated fatty acid to unsaturated fatty acid content and its high concentration of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, tocotrienols, tocopherols and vitamin E. It has also been reported that the consumption of red palm oil reduces the level of endogenous cholesterol, and this seems to be due to the presence of the tocotrienols and the peculiar isomeric position of its fatty acids. The benefits of red palm oil to health include a reduction in the risk of arterial thrombosis and/or atherosclerosis, inhibition of endogenous cholesterol biosynthesis, platelet aggregation, a reduction in oxidative stress and a reduction in blood pressure. It has also been shown that dietary red palm oil, taken in moderation in animals and humans, promotes the efficient utilisation of nutrients, activates hepatic drug metabolising enzymes, facilitates the haemoglobinisation of red blood cells and improves immune function. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the nutritional, physiological and biochemical roles of red palm oil in improving wellbeing and quality of life."
Here's another overview -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14506001
And another -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11045075
"It is now evident that not all saturated fatty acids are equally cholesterolemic. Recent accounts evaluating palm oil's effects on blood lipids and lipoproteins suggest that diets incorporating palm oil as the major dietary fat do not raise plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels to the extent expected from its fatty acid composition. Palm oil is endowed with a good mixture of natural antioxidants and together with its balanced composition of the different classes of fatty acids, makes it a safe, stable and versatile edible oil with many positive health and nutritional attributes."
"Palm oil, an essential fatty acid-sufficient tropical oil, raises plasma cholesterol only when an excess of cholesterol is presented in the diet...Anomalously, palm oil differs from other of the more saturated fats in tending to decrease thrombus formation. Finally, in studies comparing palm oil with other fats and oils, experimental carcinogenesis is enhanced both by vegetable oils richer in linoleic acid content and by more highly saturated animal fats. The carotenoid constituents of red palm oil are potent dietary anticarcinogens. A second group of antioxidants, the tocotrienols, are present in both palm olein and red palm oil. These vitamin E-active constituents are potent suppressors of cholesterol biosynthesis; emerging data point to their anticarcinogenic and antithrombotic activities. This review does not support claims that foods containing palm oil have no place in a prudent diet."