Most of us want to fill our grocery carts with the healthiest and freshest foods possible. This can be a challenge with the plethora of products in the market, and the quickly changing healthy eating guidelines. When I appeared on Fresno’s NBC News, I told the viewers why this summer I’m choosing peaches over apples. I also explained why I prefer palm oil over many other oils.
Eating fresh fruit is always good for you. When possible, select in-season fruits. Berries and stone fruits such as peaches, nectarine and plums are currently in season. The apples in our grocery store today have most likely been in refrigeration since fall.
When it comes to consuming fats, the FDA is helping us eat healthier by requiring food manufacturers to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils, our primary source of trans fats, from the food supply. Our bodies can’t break down this man-made ingredient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that trans fats consumption increases our cardiovascular disease risk. While many of us worry about cancer, heart disease is actually the country’s number one killer. Unfortunately, the trans fat ban doesn’t take effect for three years. In the meantime, you can avoid this unhealthy fat by selecting foods that don’t contain partially hydrogenated oils. You’ll need to read labels carefully.
Years ago, we condemned palm kernel oil because it was so high in saturated fat. Now we understand that palm oil is a better-for-you fat because it is naturally trans fat free. While palm kernel oil comes from the oil palm seed, palm oil comes from the palm fruit’s flesh, similar to how olive oil is produced. Malaysian sustainable palm oil is rich in beta carotene, and it’s nature’s richest source of vitamin E tocotrienols. This makes it a nutritious alternative to soybean and corn oil. Soybean and corn oil are commonly used in processed foods, but they shouldn’t be in everything you eat.
Palm oil is also the world’s most land-efficient oil crop. One acre of oil palm plantation produces 11 times more oil than soybean oil. And unlike most soybean and corn oil, Malaysian sustainable palm oil is non-GMO.
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.