This post was originally published on June 8, 2017 and updated on June 18, 2020.
Media Buzz: My guest blog about palm oil and other healthy fats was recently published in The Intentional Caregiver. I have a lot of admiration for caregivers, who made my mother’s last years such happy ones. So, I appreciate this opportunity to give these readers some easy ways to take better care of themselves even as they are caring for others.
I’m a board-certified nutritionist and expert on diet and weight loss. I’ve written more than 15 books on nutrition and wellness, so when I say there are healthy fats, you can believe I know what I’m talking about. That’s right, I said healthy fat! People have been given mixed messages about the evils of fat for years. We need healthy fats in our diets. They contribute to our overall good health.
Caregivers often don’t have much spare time. They need smart shortcuts. One of the simplest health changes anyone can make is to switch to eating healthy fats, such as Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. Most people think saturated fat leads to heart disease, but research has shown that’s simply not true. And even the few holdouts who still believe saturated fat is really bad are talking about animal products, not healthy plant fats such as palm and coconut.
We — the general public and health professionals — were taught that breads, cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes are wonderful for us. Now the tide of evidence is changing. Our bodies convert these “healthy” foods to sugar almost instantly. Sugar raises the hormone insulin, which causes inflammation, one of the primary factors the primary factors in the development and promotion of heart disease as well as most of the other major degenerative diseases (diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s).
As a society, we reduced our intake of saturated fat, and we replaced it with vegetable oils (corn, soy, canola). These oils are not necessarily bad, but the amount of them that we consume is a big problem. These vegetable oils contain omega-6 fat, which should ideally be consumed in a 1:1 ratio with the anti-inflammatory omega-3 (such as fish oil). That that’s not what we do. Thanks to the expulsion of saturated fat from our “healthy” diets, we now consume more than 15 times more “vegetable oil” (omega-6) than we do “fish oil” (omega-3). And that’s definitely not good for our health. Substituting delicious sustainable, healthy Malaysian palm oil for some of that pro-inflammatory omega 6 will help right the balance.
As I explained in my article, palm oil is not bad for the environment as long as it is produced sustainably, which is exactly how it is produced in Malaysia. Oil plants such as canola, sunflower and soy are far harder on our environment. Just for example, it takes ten times more land to produce the same amount of soybean oil as palm oil.
You’re probably already getting some Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil in your diet. It’s a popular ingredient in everything from some microwave popcorns to peanut butters and olive oil spreads. This “forbidden” fat is good for you and good for the planet.
Being asked to write this guest blog for The Intentional Caregiver means so much to me because it’s enabled me to share my messages with new audiences. I care about making life easier and healthier for my readers. Caretakers made it easier for my mother and father, and I’ll be forever grateful to those who have this noble calling.
Hopefully this article was a good reminder that even small dietary changes can have a big impact over the long-term not only on our health and vitality, but also on how we’re treating the planet.
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, also known as “The Nutrition Myth Buster” ™ is a nationally known board-certified nutritionist and expert on diet and weight loss. He is the best-selling author of 15 books including The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Living Low Carb (now in its fourth edition), and is the co-author, with cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, of the controversial best-seller, “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan that Will”. His latest book, Smart Fat: Eat More Fat, Lose More Weight, Get Healthy Now!– written with PBS star Steven Masley, MD— was published by Harper Collins in January 2016.