Better-for-us fats and fiber: When I appeared as a guest on KWAM radio’s Marybeth Conley show, I suggested that Memphis listeners add more of these foods to their diet. Both have a connection to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. Fiber is characterized as a “shortfall nutrient” because it’s under-consumed in the average American diet. Vitamin E is another shortfall nutrient, and it’s abundant in palm oil. This better-for-you cooking oil is produced sustainably – a new aspect of this year’s Dietary Guidelines – in Malaysia.
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that is very good for us. But you can’t eat it exclusively. And, there are certain times when you don’t want to use it. Have you ever noticed that chefs don’t deep fry in olive oil? It’s not because of the expense. It’s because it doesn’t have a very high smoke point. When you’re grilling at a high heat, it’s not good to use. There are better choices, such as Malaysian sustainable palm oil. Palm oil is found in many foods. Because of its smooth texture, you can find it chocolate products, such as Nutella and some ice creams. It’s also flavor neutral. I suggest having several types of oils in your cabinet, so you make use of their different flavor profiles for different uses.
Malaysian sustainable palm oil is rich in vitamin E tocotrienols, which support brain health. Tocotrienols help repair nerve endings that have been damaged by stroke. Researchers are also looking at vitamin E’s anti-cancer benefits. Malaysian sustainable palm oil also has beta carotene, which is precursor to vitamin A. This healthy cooking oil also has the right ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids which makes it beneficial for heart health. It’s actually one of the key oils used in the Smart Balance blends.
I know that palm oil can be very controversial. Some countries may not be doing the right thing, but in Malaysia, palm oil is grown and manufactured in a very sustainable way. Plus, it’s not a GMO plant. So even if you don’t see the country of origin identified, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater if you see palm oil on the label.
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler is a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist and expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living. She was the host for the reality show, Honey We’re Killing the Kids on TLC. She is the author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Pegasus 2011). She specializes in integrating behavior modification to influence positive health outcomes. Stoler is the published author of numerous articles on nutrition, exercise, health and wellness.