The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to ban trans fat as early as this month. While an estimated 66 percent of selected brand-name products reduced their trans fat content between 2007 and 2011, a sweeping stringent ban will mean additional actions will need to be taken. Malaysian sustainable palm oil has been highlighted as a leading trans fat alternative because of its health, performance and sustainability qualities. Malaysian sustainable palm oil is:
- Naturally trans-fat free
- Resistant to spoilage
- Versatile and customizable
- Socially and environmentally sustainable
Experts sound off on trans fat alternatives
Trans fats help provide a rich taste and texture to products, as well as increase their shelf life. Replacing them does not have to be problematic. After conducting an extensive review of alternatives, The Fatty Acid Expert Roundtable, a multidisciplinary panel of nutrition and clinical experts, reported that, “when a solid fat is required for product taste and functionality, the only saturated fatty options currently available to replace trans-fatty acids are palm oil or interesterified stearic acid.” Malaysian palm oil is versatile, and has a balanced ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids. This nutritious oil can be formulated for a variety of uses.
A 2007 report from David C. Klonoff, M.D., FACP, published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, lists additional options, including genetically modified, interesterified and modified hydrogenated products as well as natural saturated oils. This reports cautions, “The long-term risks of ingested interesterified fats are unknown.”
It goes on to state that natural saturated oils were widely used in prepared foods until companies replaced them with soy, corn and sunflower hydrogenated oils. At the time, natural saturated oils were believed to increase the risk of heart disease. Since the report’s publication, a meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows there is no association between dietary saturated fats and cardiovascular disease risk.
Malaysian palm oil: a sustainable trans fat alternative
With the general public’s increasing interest in pure foods and sustainability – Food Navigator says sustainability is no longer an optional add-on for food manufacturers and their suppliers – manufacturers looking to replace trans fats should consider non-GMO Malaysian-sourced palm oil. Palm oil is also recognized as the world’s most land-efficient oil crop, requiring about 1/10th the amount of land as other oil seed crops.
The highly regulated Malaysian palm oil industry is committed to sustainability and follows the 3Ps principle of sustainability: people, planet and profit. The industry has been praised for supporting significant wildlife protection initiatives, such as the Borneo elephant sanctuary and increasing the stand of living for the communities that tend the oil palm tree plantations.
Robin Miller is a health and nutrition editor with more than 30 years of industry experience. She researches and writes about the nutritional benefits of palm fruit oil, with the goal of giving readers factual, science-based information that will be useful in their daily lives.