The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe. This move could spell the end to the use of trans fats which are still present in many packaged foods and restaurant meals. The FDA explained that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, “… a further reduction of trans fat in the food supply can prevent an additional 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year and up to 20,000 heart attacks each year.”
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, registered dietician, and former host for the reality show, Honey We’re Killing the Kids on TLC, applauded the news. “This new ruling shows that using foods closer to the way they are found in nature is always better,” she commented. “We need to do a better job of educating consumers about what food label information they should be focusing on vs. the other stuff that really doesn’t impact their health.”
How to replace trans fats in our food supply? Many restaurants will be looking for frying options, while food producers, especially those who market baked goods such as pre-packaged cookies and cakes, will need an oil that does not break down at high temperatures, and that is shelf stable for long periods of time.
• Malaysian palm fruit oil can be used in place of hydrogenated vegetable oils for frying. Fats must be able to withstand high frying temperatures without breaking down, oxidizing or undergoing other adverse chemical changes. Palm fruit oil can safely be used for frying. It doesn’t have to be hydrogenated, and it won’t break down into potentially dangerous chemicals.
• Malaysian palm fruit oil can be used as a replacement for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil to make trans fat-free products. Palm oil is unique because it is about 50 percent saturated fat and 50 percent unsaturated fat. It can be separated into a solid form called palm stearin, which can be used to create more solid fats, such as margarines, without needing hydrogenation.
Stoler believes: “As food manufacturers will have to change their formulations (which many did back in 2006 when trans-fat labeling was mandated on Nutrition Facts Panels), it would be wise that they consider sustainable, non-GMO Malaysian Red Palm Fruit Oil as a viable option in their foods.” She adds that other benefits to using palm fruit oil are that it is flavor neutral, and that it contains rich amounts of antioxidants such as beta carotene and tocotrienols.
Felicia Stoler is a member of Media Relations Inc.’s panel of highly respected third-party experts. She is compensated to express her own professional opinions, through the media, about certain products.