Eating as close to nature as possible is a great way to support your health. When you’re at the grocery store, fill your cart with items which are good for you, as well as the planet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is helping Americans eat healthier by requiring food manufacturers to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils, our primary source of trans fats, from our food supply. When I appeared on Fresno’s CBS News, I explained that trans fats are man-made. Your body just can’t break them down. Consuming them increases your risk of developing heart disease. Malaysian sustainable palm oil is a more natural choice. Not only is it good for your body, it’s good for the planet.
The FDA has been trying to reduce trans fats in our diets for years. In 2006, it required manufacturers to declare the amount of these industrially created fats on food labels. Some producers worked on eliminating the artery-clogging fat. Others took advantage of a labeling loophole which allowed them to declare a food “trans-fat free” even if it contained 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Now, the FDA has closed this loophole by banning partially hydrogenated oils from our food supply, effective June 2018.
A healthier and more natural alternative is Malaysian sustainable palm oil. This better-for-you ingredient is already in many of our favorite foods, including Smart Balance spreads and Nutella. Palm oil is naturally trans fat free. It’s also rich in heart- and brain- healthy vitamin E tocotrienols. Palm oil differs from palm kernel oil which was associated with unhealthy movie theater popcorn decades ago. Unlike palm kernel oil, which is made from the seed of the palm fruit, palm oil is made from the healthier flesh. The process is similar to olive oil production.
Most of the United States’ palm oil supply comes from Malaysia, a leader in sustainable agriculture. More than half of Malaysia’s land is covered in lush forests. This progressive country has kept its pledge, made at the 1992 Earth Summit, to always keep at least half of its land under forest cover. Many of Malaysia’s oil palm plantations are on lands which once grew less efficient crops such as rubber, cocoa or coconut. Today, these plantations hold stately oil palm trees which grow for more than 30 years and produce abundant quantities of palm fruit year-round.
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.