While we all know the outcomes of too much sugar and fat in our diet, many people don't know the danger lurking in one presumably "healthy" staple pantry item.

Soybean oil, the most commonly known form of vegetable oil, is found in a huge variety of packaged foods residing in many kitchen cupboards.

This type of oil has previously been considered a healthier choice than other oils, but a recent study published in science journal PLOS One has found otherwise.

In a study conducted on mice at the University of California the popular ingredient was found to be potentially worse than sugar.

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Control groups were each given a slightly different diet, but each diet contained 40 per cent fat - similar to the common American diet.

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The results showed that the mice who ate a diet containing soybean oil gained around 25 per cent more weight than the mice consuming coconut oil instead.

And in a group of mice eating a high sugar diet, they only gained 12 per cent more than those eating coconut oil. Meaning the group on soybean oil had by far the largest weight gain.

The soybean mice also showed signs of fatty livers, diabetes and insulin resistance.

The lead research scientist, Poonamjot Deol said the research outcomes were a real "major surprise" in terms of soybean oil being worse than sugar.

"Especially when you see headlines every day about the potential role of sugar consumption in the current obesity epidemic."