Scientists, physicians and health specialists are voicing a common concern during their presentations at the 2015 Palm International Nutra-Cosmeceutical Conference (PINC): The widespread misperception that all fats are bad. Much of the world, especially women, doesn’t understand the necessity of including healthy fats in their diet. This misunderstanding of fat may hamper people’s ability to identify nutritious foods.
The PINC Conference is a venue for palm bioactive researchers to share their results with physicians, pharmacists, other researchers and the media. Palm oil, the world’s most widely consumed oil, is rich in vital nutrients such as tocotrienols, carotenoids and phenolics. Researchers are studying their effect on heart health, stroke recovery, immune health and cancer.
During their presentations, several presenters took time to discuss the general public’s misunderstanding of fat and how it may affect Malaysian sustainable palm oil’s consumption.
- University of Southern California’s Roger A. Clemens, DrPH, said scientist Ancel Keyes first established the now-debunked relationship between dietary fat and cardiovascular disease. Clemens revealed that the United States’ Dietary Guidelines have advocated a low-fat diet for years, despite the lack of evidence. He also shared a video clip from 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Membership Chair Barbara Millen, DrPH, RD in which she states the latest scientific understanding: low-fat diets are not a good idea.
- Malaysian Palm Oil Council Deputy CEO Dr. Kalyana Sundram also brought up Keye’s flawed study. Sundram lamented that while physicians for years have recommended patients reduce their fat intake to lower their heart disease risk, current evidence shows that this may not be the right recommendation.
- Dr. Beverly Yates believes there is five to ten years of work to do in communicating accurate facts about fats, such as why they are actually good for you. She also questioned if the absence of fat in many women’s and girl’s diets contributes to the onset of health conditions, such as immune system problems.
Recordings of these presentations are available for a limited time at the PINC 2015 webpage on the Malaysian Palm Oil Council website, www.mpoc.my. To learn more about the importance of consuming healthy fats, visit www.palmoilhealth.org.