A WebMD article, Palm Oil: The New Fat Under Fire doesn’t accurately share the true story of this important oil. The author referenced outdated information which may cause confusion among readers. It’s unfortunate that this trusted online resource didn’t thoroughly fact check this article. As many health experts agree, Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil is not only an ideal substitute for trans fat, it’s also good for our hearts as well as for our planet.
Palm oil is a healthy replacement for partially hydrogenated oils
The article began by stating that palm oil, found in many packaged foods, is a replacement for trans fats. Palm oil is a healthy substitute for the factory-made partially hydrogenated oils, which are the primary source of unhealthy trans fats.
The article then referenced a European study which correlated palm oil consumption with increased cancer risk. Media outlets have called this report irresponsible. All vegetables oils, including soybean oil, sunflower oil and canola oil, contain the contaminant 3-MCPD. According to food safety expert Dr. Roger Clemens, “There is not any direct evidence that current 3-MCPD levels in foods and at their typical consumption amounts, trigger adverse health effects.”
Healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet
The article continues: “Palm oil is not the first choice for heart health, because it is high in saturated fat.” This is dated information. Scientists have debunked the theory that saturated fat consumption is linked to heart disease. Nutritionists now consider saturated fat consumption part of a healthy diet. Natural saturated fat-containing foods such as nuts, avocados, fatty fish and Malaysian palm oil should not be avoided.
Beef and soybeans, not palm oil, are the main drivers of deforestation
The article also misleadingly connects palm oil with deforestation, quoting the Union of Concerned Scientist’s Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative campaign manager Sharon Smith. That same organization has since admitted that priorities regarding deforestation have been backward. Beef and soybean production are the true drivers of deforestation, not palm oil. In fact, oil palm plantations are incredibly land efficient, using ten times less land to produce the same amount of oil as soybean fields.
Thousands of food manufacturers have chosen to use premium, sustainable and versatile palm oil in their products, much of it from Malaysia’s plantations. Regardless of this misleading article, these manufacturers realize the benefits of this nutritious, non-GMO and eco-friendly oil.