Ingredient watch: Eight feel-good reasons why palm oil is in foods
If you’re a label reader, you may be seeing more palm oil in your favourite food products. In the United States, most of the palm oil comes from Malaysia. There are many reasons why food manufacturers are choosing this versatile and tropical-sounding ingredient. Read on to learn why palm oil is in foods such as pizza, bread, peanut butter, candy and granola bars.
- Palm oil is naturally trans fat-free. Trans fats (aka partially hydrogenated oils) are associated with increased risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Many food manufacturers have swapped trans fats with Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil.
- Palm oil is non-GMO. A rapidly increasing number of shoppers are looking for products made without genetically modified ingredients. Unlike most soybean, canola and corn oils, Malaysian palm oil is non-GMO.
- Palm oil is balanced fat. Health experts are telling us to ditch the low-fat diets, and embrace healthy fats. Malaysian palm oil is one of the healthiest because of its balanced fatty acid profile.
- Malaysian palm oil is responsibly produced. More grocery shoppers are now thinking about the environment when walking the aisles. Malaysian palm oil is a model of sustainable agriculture.
- Palm oil is nutritious. Palm oil is rich in vitamin E tocotrienols which support skin, heart and brain health. Red palm oil is also rich in pro-vitamin A carotenoids.
- Palm oil is heat-stable. Unlike many other oils, palm oil doesn’t break down into toxic chemicals during exposure to high heat. This makes it perfect for high-temperature food preparation.
- Malaysian palm oil supports families and rural communities. In Malaysia, family farmers tend to more than 40 percent of all oil palm plantations. The local palm oil industry helps build community roads, schools and health centres.
- Malaysian palm oil helps feed the world. In Malaysia, majestic oil palm trees produce bountiful quantities of oil-rich fruit year-round. Palm oil is the most land-efficient oil crop. Its production demands less energy and fertilizer use than most other oil crops. This helps feed the world with less harm to Mother Earth.
By Robin Miller and Kalyana Sundram