The Many Shades of Palm Oil

by Sarah healthy fatsComments: 100

Palm with fruit

As more consumers educate themselves and wise up to the serious health problems associated with consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils like soy, corn, and sunflower which quickly become rancid and laced with free radicals when processed, food manufacturers are slowly but surely starting to respond.

Why has it taken so long you might ask?   That’s an easy one.  Food manufacturers and their shareholders love polyunsaturates – partially hydrogenated or not – for one reason and one reason alone:  they are incredibly cheap to produce and hence make the bottom line very attractive to corporate shareholders.

Fortunately, there is a healthy fat that can be used in processed foods in place of those nasty polyunsaturated vegetable oils that meets the profit demands of food company shareholders and also satisfies the ever growing consumer clamor for a healthy, traditional fat.

That fat is palm oil.

Wary consumers such as myself have been delighted to see palm oil becoming a more frequent player on the ingredients list of all sorts of packaged foods in recent years.   This trend seems to have gained momentum in 2012.

I even had a company email me just the other day which has come out with a new line of snacks using palm oil.   They are sending me a sample to try so stay tuned.

The Various Names for Palm Oil – Are You Confused?

One thing that I’ve found confusing and I’m sure it’s confusing to other folks too are the various names used for palm oil on food labels.

The names I’ve seen used are palm oil, palm fruit oil, and palm kernel oil.  There is also red palm oil which is a very strong tasting oil that can be purchased for home cooking in ethnic grocery stores but is not used in processed foods – at least the ones I’ve examined.

I like to keep explanations simple as overly complicated things will rarely be remembered at that critical moment when you are about to decide in the store whether or not to buy a food based on what you see on the label.

The bottom line is that palm oil is a healthy fat regardless of the name used on the label.  Palm oil, palm fruit oil, and palm kernel oil are all just fine and dandy.

The difference is the amount of saturated versus monounsaturated fat in the various types of palm oil and this is determined by the part of the palm fruit from which the oil is obtained.

Palm oil or Palm Fruit Oil

Palm oil is derived from the fleshy part of the palm fruit and is hence sometimes also referred to as palm fruit oil.

Palm oil or palm fruit oil is approximately 50% saturated fat and 40% monounsaturated fat (oleic acid – the same type of fat in olive oil).   The remaining 9-10% is polyunsaturated fat in the form of linoleic acid.   Neither saturated nor monounsaturated fats are easily damaged by processing so this fat is a healthy shortening to include in a snack item.

Palm Kernel Oil

Palm kernel oil is derived from the hard and innermost, nutlike core of the palm fruit.   Palm kernel oil is 82% saturated fat  – much higher than regular palm oil.   Palm kernel oil also contains about 15% monounsaturated fat and only 2% polyunsaturated fats – both significantly lower than palm oil.

I personally prefer palm kernel oil to regular palm oil for 2 reasons:

First, the higher amount of saturated fat makes palm kernel oil a closer match to coconut oil than palm oil.   This is a good thing as I try to limit the amount of monounsaturated fats in my diet as they can contribute to weight gain.  In 1994, the journal The Lancet published a study which noted that fat tissue is primarily composed of monounsaturated fat.  Could this be a contributing reason for middle age weight gain that is so common in Mediterranean countries (Eat Fat Lose Fat, p.70)?   Being of middle age, this is definitely something that I watch out for!

Secondly, palm kernel oil is a rich source of lauric acid, that magical medium chain saturated fat that is highly antimicrobial and is specially produced by the mammary gland for a breastfeeding baby to ingest and benefit from.

Coconut oil is also high in lauric acid which is one reason it is such a wonderfat being studied by scientists all over the world for it’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties particularly in the face of the worrisome problem of increasing antibiotic resistance.

Hence, if I can get a food that includes palm kernel oil versus a similar one that has palm oil, I will personally choose the palm kernel oil every single time.

Is Palm Oil Sustainable?

There is a downside to all forms of palm oil and that is the issue of sustainability.  Deforestation to make way for palm plantations is certainly an extremely troubling environmental concern as is the loss of habitat for the orangutans in some locations such as Borneo.

As a result, it is important to support companies that use a sustainable source of palm oil so that your food dollars do not contribute to these environmental problems.

Another alternative is to just make as many of your snacks at home as you can using traditional fats that you have sourced yourself from reliable, green manufacturers.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Related Information

Coconut Sugar:  A Healthy and Sustainable Sweetener

Five Healthy Fats You Must Have in Your Kitchen

Walnut Oil: Healthy Sub for Flax Oil

Dr. Oz Gets it Really Wrong about Pumpkin Seed Oil

Argan Oil Benefits to Health

Red Palm Oil: Healthy Fat to Rival Coconut Oil

Selecting a Healthy Cooking Oil and Reusing it Safely

Caution When Using Chicken Fat for Cooking

Is Rice Bran Oil a Healthy Fat?

Cooking with Olive Oil: Yea or Nay?

How Vegetable Oils Make Us Fat

Picture Credit

Comments (100)

  • ELIZABETH MORRISON

    I disagree with your stance on promoting palm oil. It is now a well known fact that orangutans are being endangered by the extension of palm oil plantations. I recently read about a mother orangutan in Borneo that was starving. She strayed out of the (deforested rainforest for palm plantation) with her baby and was tortured by locals. They saw her as a threat to their livelyhood. It is not possible to ascertain exactly if the palm oil which is labelled as sustainable is actually from sustainable sources; there are too many loopholes. Please do your research and rethink.

    January 20th, 2016 9:47 pm Reply
  • Melissa

    Hi, I ordered red Palm oil from radiant life. It smells and tastes rancid. Can the red Palm oil be rancid? Is this how it usually smells/tastes? Just wanted to get your input. Thanks!

    September 24th, 2015 10:25 am Reply
  • Health Bites Online

    It’s a common misperception by the West that rainforests in Borneo are being cut down for palm oil. That is just downright ridiculous. They are cut down for timber, and a very small percentage are then bought by palm oil companies to be used as farmland. If these denuded hills are not used for cultivation, they will just regrow into secondary forest.

    January 23rd, 2015 11:42 am Reply
    • Kate

      What the article left off is that while (organic/sustainably harvested) palm FRUIT oil may a healthy choice…palm KERNAL oil is not: they use toxic solvents to extract the oil from the kernel. Rain forests are being cut down for timber and palm oil.

      July 9th, 2015 12:14 pm Reply
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    August 8th, 2014 4:17 am Reply
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    January 20th, 2014 9:59 pm Reply
  • Anton Lambert

    Best to avoid palm “oil” if you want to eat “green” and live longer along with our planet. For health best to avoid as much processed food as possible and aim for a varied moderate intake diet low in both fat sugar and salts.

    Bon appetit!

    January 14th, 2014 5:55 am Reply
    • Sheril C

      Researchers are catching up to the truth of certain mistakes that are commonly made and the real facts are beginning to come out. As has been thoroughly and eloquently explained on this blog site in the past, fat and salt are not bad for you but the low-fat and low-salt fads our society has been going through are very hard on human health.

      I’m with you on unprocessed foods! In our home we eat almost zero factory foods. And our only sweetener is raw local honey. It is amazing what a beneficial effect that type of diet has on your taste buds as well as your health! :)

      August 16th, 2014 8:34 am Reply
  • Lauren

    If you’re concerned about sustainable palm oil users and manufacturers, a great place to go is http://www.rspo.org. They have a huge database there where you can find and look up manufacturers.

    January 9th, 2014 5:57 am Reply
    • Anna

      I just checked out the website that you provided, and was sad to see the following article: Palm oil agreement to accelerate Indonesian traceable and sustainable palm oil productionhttp://www.rspo.org/news_details.php?nid=202

      Actually, they are only going to accelerate the decimation of rainforest and, ultimately, lead to more local people planting palm trees. Why is this bad? 1. Villages are already flooding regularly due to rainforest decimation. 2. Palm trees ruin the soil. In 30 years all of the land that has been planted with palm trees will be useless, whereas traditional crops such as rubber trees, cinnamon trees, etc, once they’re not productive anymore can be cut down, and the rainforest will takeover the land again eventually. 3. Palm oil corporations and the government regularly lie, cheat and steal from the local people, what will keep them from lying to those who buy their oil as well? A stamp that says it is sustainable is for your conscience, not theirs. If they had conscience they wouldn’t be investing in palm oil. The political and social situation is too complicated for a Western organization to fully grasp. Although it is humorous that they haven’t noticed that the majority of palm oil is planted in what was previously rainforest. 4. The RSPO is, at it’s roots, just another corporation trying to make money. Even if they DO invest in small stakeholders, they’re not ultimately looking out for the good of the local Indonesian people, they are looking out for THEIR stakeholders.

      The fact that the company that signed the MOU is government owned is even more disturbing. That means that the government will probably start paying local people to plant their land with palm oil instead of their traditional crops. Thus, instead of slowing rainforest decimation this MOU has probably actually initiated an increase by leading to government encouragement of palm production.

      January 11th, 2014 3:01 am Reply
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  • whisperingsage

    I researched oils for their vitamin E content and Red palm oil is the highest in vitamin E,. This was essential for my goat farm as when the winter is upon them, and if the moms haven’t had enough grain (grains have vitamin E) they have floppy kid syndrome and I have red palm oil on hand to give by mouth to the new babies- and it strengthens then right up.

    June 27th, 2013 1:35 pm Reply
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  • Anton Lambert

    “Debunking of all fats being harmful to the human diet” happened a very long time ago already. The key word being “all” some are very much better for us than others and some should be eaten in restricted amounts while others are positively good for us and should be eaten more often.

    IMO we dont have to look thousands of years back to a time when life expectancy was a mere 25 years or less for the average adult human to understand the present on this issue. A time when even tooth decay could’ve killed us and did. I don’t buy onto this we were so healthy when we were hunters and gatherers because we didn’t grow and consume vast amounts of cereal crops. This is far too simplistic and has no real academic merit. We weren’t particularly healthy at all as most archaeological research shows for one thing and yes we certainly were not consuming despite dying at 25 was tons of saturated fats or cereals, wild animals are very very lean, we were opportunistic eaters and ate everything in moderation and still keeled over in our early twenties.

    In fact the irony is we have never been healthier nor so ridden with easily preventable diseases caused by diet alone. Of course using the royal “we” is not appropriate nor is using the term “in the West”, but rather mostly a large majority in some Western countries is what is meant.

    Palm fats are healthier for some populations than others as is coconut oil, it all depends on what makes up their staples, if these are low or high in saturated fats or not just for one example. Avocados as a staple are a thousand times healthier for your average member of the 70% obese Americans diet than fresh coconuts simply because they contain mostly unsaturated fat. So no they are not similarly healthy items to eat.

    Saturated fats store toxins in our bodies which as they build up poison us ultimately, we store fat as saturated fat. To make matters wonderfully interesting a duck doesn’t ! Atmospheric toxins natural and caused by man made pollution, toxins in our food also both naturally occurring like strychnine and man made like pesticides, natural heavy metals etc etc all get stored in our saturated fat and any other creatures or plant.

    April 24th, 2013 9:48 pm Reply
  • Anton Lambert

    Meant “high melting point” there of course.

    The question for consumers to ask is, is processed palm oil healthier than natural butter? Answere no. Its cheaper and easier for manufacturers yes, as is partialy hydrogenated cotton or soya oil!

    April 22nd, 2013 11:48 pm Reply
    • Roberto

      Palm oil is more abundant on earth than natural butter, and it’s roughly equivalent in terms of healthiness and texture. So it makes ecological sense for us to use it as a replacement.

      November 10th, 2014 7:36 pm Reply
  • Anton Lambert

    Palm oil fats are widely used in confection as they have a low melting point like all highly saturated unhealthy oils. Those pre-packaged long-life biscuits, crackers, treats, cakes are loaded with them for this reason. In America they use more partially hydrogenated vegetable oils mostly genetically modified soya oil in the same way. Unfortunately fully hydrogenated palm oil products are catching on there now unleashing a greater demand on the worlds rain forests. Yes they are less damaging for our health than partially hydrogenated soya oil but they are not good for you so saying they are a healthy product is thus very misleading.

    There is no way to reliably source sustainable produced palm oil at the moment the best you can achieve is a tiny % so called green oil blend. So if a product claims otherwise its false advertising and they are liable and should be fully accountable to the consumer for doing so.

    All these manufacturing processes anyway are bad for you in food stuffs so its not difficult to avoid them when shopping. Chocolate that contains palm oil is not allowed to be called chocolate in Europe and chocolate that has a high melting point is nasty anyway.

    I dont know what Nancy’s treats are for animal or human consumption but I wouldn’t feed my pets products containing palm oil either and certainly not manufactured long life treats for my children. A limited intake of Butter is healthier. What happened to good old fashioned baking or buying home produce anyway?

    April 22nd, 2013 11:36 pm Reply
    • Nancy

      “..like all highly saturated unhealthy oils” makes your stance on this clear. We disagree (and have many pieces of information and research to back it up, but unfortunately not much time at this moment to provide that here). Saturated fats aren’t unhealthy, and butter is great too, as long as it’s from pastured cows; but saturated fats such as palm, coconut, etc. are actually very good for our bodies as well. As long as it’s not hydrogenated / fractionated, palm fat, similarly to avocado and coconut fat, isn’t unhealthy. As for sustainability, it’s a tricky issue, and it can get murky. Are there no suppliers at all out there that can provide sustainable palm oil? None? I don’t think it’s so clear cut, even though yes, most palm oil plantations and harvesting methods that exist today are destructive, I believe there are some (even if few) that may be able to provide palm oil that doesn’t ruin the environment and natural habitats. It’s all about getting to the source and being transparent about where you’re sourcing things.

      April 23rd, 2013 12:56 pm Reply
      • Anton Lambert

        Nancy the straight plain answer to your question is yes there are none at the moment that can claim to be producing sufficient sustainably produced palm oil products to export. The very small amount supposedly green is simply not enough for any kind of manufacturing use or for wholesale domestic use. To create any kind of demand in consumers can be seen as highly irresponsible in my opinion.

        As far as research is concerned Im a bit befuddled by yours. Saturated fats “as consumed” by the Western world primarily America with its 70% obesity rate are very unhealthy fats indeed. Its all about moderation and for saturated fats that means hardly any is 100% healthier than the excess actually being consumed on a daily basis leading to these lets face it down right scary obesity rates. These obesity rates directly lead to chronic diseases. Once in that state its pretty much useless trying to find blame one single item in your diet for getting you there. There have been the fat and the carbo and the calcium and the red meat and the and the finger pointers all to no real avail.

        The fact is a very high carbohydrate intake, very high saturated fat (or even worse that and partially hydrogenated fats) intake coupled with a very high salt intake etc etc is known to ultimately kill us and prematurely. Cutting down on just one wont help but managing all three and eating alternatives to all three regularly will.

        Again Im befuddled and this should be more or less common knowledge. Coconut oil, palm fat and avocado oils are not all the same beast not by a long shot. The oil found in Avocado oil for example is unsaturated and that in coconut flesh almost completely saturated at time of pressing. While eating ten avocados a day will make you obese and ill, eating just a few a week will add to your healthy lifestyle. Just as using coconut oil, palm oil, butter etc as a staple for example is not advised in the West but if you like the flavour of some (coconut oil is not particularly nice but good for the hair as a pomade) using it a few times a month wont kill you either, however if you are using red meat, full fat dairy, cheese, butter lard, processed fats and any of the others too all month and everyday (and millions upon millions are) you are overloading the anti considerably.

        April 23rd, 2013 11:10 pm Reply
        • Nancy

          I am also befuddled; the “debunking” of fats as harmful to the human diet is gaining momentum now (finally). Also, I did not say the fat in avocado, coconut, and palm are identical; I was referring to the fact that it isn’t unhealthy for us, just as avocado fat, and coconut fat, aren’t unhealthy for us (not saying they are 100% identical compositions of fat, just saying they are similar in the sense that they are healthy fats). Obesity rates and chronic diseases are a result of over-processed foods, a diet heavy in grains (not prepared properly-soaked, sprouted, etc.), along with a sedentary lifestyle, just to name a few things. Anthropologically, biologically, archaeologically speaking, it can be seen that many cultures around the world consumed a diet high in fat (both from meat and vegetation), high in vegetables, moderate in protein, very low in grain based carbohydrates, and they were very healthy humans.

          Let’s just agree to disagree (though we do agree on some points). :)

          April 24th, 2013 8:43 am Reply
  • Nancy

    Great article! We’re in the process of developing a brand that creates healthier treats, and one of the ingredients we’re using is palm oil. Since our first product is going to be dairy free (among other things), palm oil (along with other ingredients) comes in handy for things like fillings, glazes, etc. Palm kernel oil is useful [stable] for glazes. We are a very eco-conscious brand though, and that’s where the controversy surrounding the sustainability of palm oil comes in; but you just have to weed through the suppliers and sources and find a source that does everything they can to ensure a sustainable production–both environmentally and socially–and that’s what we’re sourcing.

    April 15th, 2013 5:29 pm Reply
  • Anna

    Yes, I have driven through the wreckage of palm plantations in Borneo and couldn’t speak for half an hour it was so overwhelming. They completely decimate the rain forest, plant palm trees, and then the bring in loads of cobras to control the mice population that likes to feast on palm nuts. Basically, in about 30 years Borneo is going to be the new Sahara Desert with millions of cobras and not much else. It’s nice that Westerners are trying to boycott it, but I don’t really think that it’s going to make a difference. Especially since the Chinese are evidently trying to introduce it as a bio-fuel.

    Perhaps the best way to make a difference would be to find a way to educate the local villagers who sell their land, get lots of money, spend it on junky electronics and cars, and then have nothing to live on a couple of months later. So, they end up working for the palm plantations. Then, their daughters, who have to go away for Junior high and often end up selling their bodies to pay for school. Sadly, even if villagers don’t want to sell their land, the palm plantation owners know how to pay the right people in charge of the village to give them what they want. It’s a disgusting mess. Perhaps the most irritating factor is that after the palm plantations are in place they have the audacity to host “anti-forest burning” crusades. Yep, it’s all that insane.

    April 11th, 2013 8:45 pm Reply
    • Anton Lambert

      Yes palm plantations are such sad places especialy if you’ve ever been to even a semblence of a virgin forest. Monoculture has wrecked three quarters of the planet, just think about the prairies in North America. Unspeakable acts of vandalism on the planet earth. And so alarming that influential people like Richard Branson tote biofuel as being green. Actualy used that as a marketing ticket for his airways. Hopless.

      I however think consumers in the West do have the power to change things, every bit helps.

      This region SEA where I’m based has such endemic corruption I feel the only way to slow the plunder is for markets to close. Anyone using bio fuel produced with reckless abandon to the plight of the planet should be fair game. Yes unfortunately China has a way to go before it has the same level of awareness as the West. It’s a race against time.

      April 12th, 2013 11:58 am Reply
  • Anna Mae

    I’m curious about the picture you have posted of a palm tree. It doesn’t look anything like the palm trees here in Indonesia that they process oil from, but if I put the word used for the tree/oil in my Indonesian/English dictionary it says that it is palm oil. The oil that I generally buy says that it is made from the fruit of the tree, not the seed and that it contains Omega-3, Omega-6 and vitamin E. I’m guessing this is the healthy form of palm oil?

    April 6th, 2013 5:36 am Reply
    • Anton Lambert

      Yes Anna Mae you would be right the picture is not a palm oil palm, the palm oil palm is Elaeis guineensis from Africa. The palm pictured is Licula grandis a very atractive but purely ornamental palm from Vanuatu.

      At the present time it is 100% impossible to buy “green” sustainably produced palm oil of any kind. For myself i would rather go without any products containing palm oils in their ingredients if there is even the slightest possibility that any creatures and habitats are being harmed, orang utans being just one that are being shot displaced and babies left to die other wise simply burnt alive in forest clearing practises.

      April 7th, 2013 6:56 am Reply
  • Renae

    There are responsible companies that make it eco-friendly. http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_palm_shortening.htm

    March 28th, 2013 7:44 am Reply
  • Anton lambert

    Yes I fully agree Sarah.

    Manufacturers will (commonly) offer a low fat product marketing it as healthy but it will be extremely high in salt and or sugar so in fact it remains unhealthy, for it to be healthy it must be lowish on all three. Or a low salt product high in fat etc. Some countries require by law for such products not to make any health claims on their packaging as it’s deemed false advertising and so it is.

    Just as advertising a margarine spread as healthy because its predominately saturated partially hydrogenated palm oil and not butter is also completely false and illegal in some countries and states of the USA.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply trust producers, trust that they were indeed concerned with our health primarily?

    The story on fattening pigs on skim milk sounds right. Removing the fat however doesn’t leave pure lactose.
    Milk is +- 87.8 % water, if you remove the fat the water content remains the same however so do things like lactose content or carbo’s, protein and cholesterol. The last three make up 8-9%/100g of milk alone. Fat makes up +-4%. Carbs and cholesterol are fattening. No doubt about it drinking lots of milk can make a person fat even skim milk.

    However on full fat milk you will get blocked arteries too, and as millions of people drink milk way past the infant stage mostly their whole life, cholesterol build up (which can happen to a perfectly slim person too) as a partial result of the saturated fat in full fat milk can occur.
    I suppose if you are a milk drinker go easy on the stuff and preferably use skim milk only. Using small amounts of full fat milk though wont kill you, but (as is the case with most in the West) if you are eating predominately saturated fats in everything else along with high salt and sugar well the long term affects all put together might and do sadly.

    February 1st, 2013 5:26 am Reply
    • Liz J

      Anton Lambert, I think the critical piece of the puzzle that you are missing is that saturated fat does not clog arteries. That is outdated information. It’s oxidized cholesterol and misdirected calcium than stick to arteries. In fact it’s fat soluble vitamins A, D, & K that make calcium go where it’s supposed to and not clog the arteries. AVOIDING foods that are high in these vitamins, which are often high in saturated fats, is bad for the arteries. You might want to ask yourself why the body is so determined to make cholesterol even when none is consumed. Blaming cholesterol for arterial damage is like blaming the firefighter for the fire. Cholesterol shows up to stop the damage, that’s why blood levels go up during times of inflamation. It means something deeper is going on. Allergies, adrenal issues, infection are just a few causes of elevated cholesterol. No doubt it will take at least 10 more years for this understanding to become mainstream, so I do understand your thinking. I used to think the same things. I can see why doctors thought cholesterol was to blame since it showed up at the time of trouble, however I am grateful that researchers are looking closer at the situation. Cholesterol is a victim of guilt by association.

      April 9th, 2013 12:26 pm Reply
      • Anton Lambert

        Yes Liz J I have heard of the research that seems to have only recently discovered that excess calcium is bad for most people, it makes you wonder why milk drinks plus products passing themselves off as milk are “enriched” with it plus bread and any number of things even so called orange juice! Im almost sure even children are getting far too much calcium in their diets.

        April 22nd, 2013 11:43 pm Reply
    • Liz J

      Oh also, have you seen the newest research on children who drink lowfat milk are more often obese? Lowfat milk is one of the worst recommendations you can give. The very form of cholesterol that cloggs arteries, oxidated cholesterol, is added to skim milk in the form of dried milk. This is done to give it a white color. I urge you to study the research that is being done by the Weston A. Price Foundation. I got angry and resisted this information at first. When I opened my heart and decided to sincerely consider the other side (5 years after first learning about this “different” way of thinking) it became abundantly clear.

      April 9th, 2013 12:35 pm Reply
  • E

    Anton,
    You have made some very valid points in regards to fish and excess of modern foods and such. I respect what you have to say, even if I don’t agree with all of it. You are right to be irritated about hydrogenated oil and that food marketed as healthy doesn’t necessarily make it true.

    We do have to be diligent about reading labels on products. There are far too many things wrong with “food like” products (as you mentioned for many “milk” and such items available.) I believe we can live without milk as long as we substitute it with something else that is not a frankenfood. There are many ways to get rich vitamins and minerals into our diet. I believe stock (though not limited to just that) might be one of those power foods.

    There is too much:
    white sugar, white flour, white rice, mineral stripped salt, empty carbohydrates, refined, MSG, GMOs, and other artificial ingredients in food.

    I also understand that even raw sugar should not be consumed as much as it has been.

    I still think animal products do have their place in our diet for a healthy balance. Everything in moderation, but that animal fats and such are very filling and rich in nutrients which lead a person to eat less than low-fat products -as the same can go for soaked, and fermented foods.

    Low-fat is a gimmick.

    Here’s a copy & paste that explains it better, and after reading.. can you please explain your take on the farmer situation?

    start of copy & paste
    —————————————————————————————————————–

    http://www.earlytorise.com/2006/07/21/the-fast-track-to-six-figures/

    Millions
    of people drink skim milk to help keep their weight down. But
    new evidence has shown that skim milk — not, as you may expect,
    full-fat milk — actually makes you gain weight.

    That’s
    the result of a recent Harvard study of 12,829 children ages
    9 to 14 published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent
    Medicine. And it shocked the medical establishment.

    But
    farmers weren’t surprised. When they want to fatten a pig,
    they feed it skim milk. Here’s why: Removing the milk fat (cream)
    leaves only the milk sugar (lactose) … and an unbalanced,
    sugary drink that leads to weight gain.

    —————————————————————————————————————-
    end of copy & paste

    By doctoring/tampering with food that already started as a balance, I find it no wonder that there are so many problems after choosing to consume those types of frankenfoods. That’s why I don’t think low-fat anything (unless naturally so as intended) is healthy.

    We could use more fish and less processed foods. I think the only healthy “processed” foods are the ones done with care and integrity to the item. I am referring to fermenting, soaking, and sprouting as some examples.

    January 30th, 2013 12:58 pm Reply
  • Anton lambert

    My biggest irritation as far as processed foods are concerned at moment is the use of partially or completely hydrogenated palm kernel oil in almost every peanut butter available on supermarket shelves today. Even organic products use it and you have to read the ingredients very carefully as some just say added vegetable oil which could be anything.

    The reason it’s added is because palm kernel oil being almost fully saturated 80+% has a low melting point so you don’t get a thick soluble oil slick of peanut oil in the top of the jar. A product of the low fat diets and health warnings from years before when they didn’t know which oils were good for you and which weren’t. All oils were considered bad fattening and unhealthy so they hid them bound up in the peanut butter.

    Of course the irony is that peanut oil is good for you in so much as its completely unsaturated, so what do the manufacturers do they remove the peanut oil and replace it with the relatively very unhealthy palm oil more than tripling the saturated fat content of what was quite a healthy spread.

    So a good tip when looking for peanut butter is go for the ones with a thick layer of oil floating on top they are mostly just peanuts and nothing added, avoid the ones that look solid and dry on top they are the bad ones for our children and adults alike.

    January 30th, 2013 1:44 am Reply
  • Anton lambert

    Yes I see where you are coming from Sarah.

    Yes absolutely I agree the majority of processed manufactured foods on our supermarket shelves are positively dangerous for our health and do contribute significantly to name but a few things heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many other problems especially on developing children.

    Unfortunately palm oil/kernel is one of those ingredients most commonly used in food processing and its 99% used in a partially hydrogenated form. These are absolutely the worst processed fats, undisputed proven to damage our health. That said palm oils are less used in America than elsewhere in the West simply because they don’t grow in America they grow and use soya oil, maize and their by products mostly, they are much cheaper to food manufacturers and bottom lines are more important to them than peoples health. However health wise most other countries in the West and indeed their governments are already moving away from palm oils considered extremely unhealthy and also in the form and amounts previously consumed and used in most previous food processing in these countries.

    As far as palm oils go even a natural product like unrefined cold pressed red “palm oil” that is not even palm kernel oil sadly is still not actually good for us other than in tiny amounts or the same substituted as what should be our extreme limited consumption of lets say things like unsalted butter or natural animal fats, they can replace them but they are not better for us and not at the same time. The saturated fat content is just too high.

    “Palm oil” not kernel oil again have as you state indeed almost the fat content needed for a new born child but, not a growing child or an adult however.

    Yes people do wean babies at differing ages for different reasons, the but wean they do from fatty rich mothers milk and at a relatively very early age compared to the life time of an adult or even growing child. Personally I don’t think a baby needs that much fatty breast milk much after the age of one. It’s also not practical for most mothers, but people have different ideas on that and that’s up to the individual mother but its definitely not even considered healthy much after the age of one.

    Unless you have access to a cow or ass, goat, camel or sheep fresh unprocessed unpasteurised milk of any kind is out of the question for most of us in the West but can be used at some expense as a partial substitute for mothers breast milk in the pasteurised form if need be. In most Western countries unpasteurised milk is banned for very definite health reasons as is the same for cheese. However risks and all its meant to be good for you that is until you die or miscarry from listeria poisoning. I suppose it’s the same with eating oysters that haven’t been zapped by UV they are delicious until you hit a bad one then you become hospitalised, your choice your risk as with everything.

    However contrary to what dieticians attached to national dairy-lobbies will have us believe adults or even children and teenagers do not thrive on milk only infants do just as nature intended. Mothers aren’t meant to be dairy cows producing breast milk for anything other than infants, children and certainly not adults dont need it. However bovine mothers milk has become a staple in the West, and the healthiest option of that evil is pure extreme low fat skim pasteurised milk with no additives. There is milk and there is milk, a lot of what people are in fact consuming is in fact a “milk like drink” and not milk at all even though the stuff people pour over their cereal is sold as milk it’s mostly not.

    Of course a lot of unprocessed natural products are not particularly good for us either. If one chooses to go the unprocessed route which I mostly try and do for health reasons simply omitting the bad ones or significantly reducing them is easy enough. The same as some processed foods that are actually positively good for us or even essential in some cases.

    Personally I don’t drink milk at all because I eat natural yoghurt and other dairy products like quark, cottage cheese even creme fraiche etc. Avoiding salt, sugar and fat and additives in all these products and opting for the least processed of them.

    Of course yes moderation is the key to everything but actually most of our staples in the West should in fact be eaten in only very small amounts whether its unprocessed/processed wheat flour or unadulterated butter or cheese or fatty meat, unfortunately they have become staples instead. They are only good for us in tiny amounts, honestly they shouldn’t be the staples that they are. This is often the reason why some countries e.g. Japan don’t have the acutely high incidences of heart disease like America for example has because their staples are indeed often different and much healthier ones.

    Populations that you say thrive on oils like coconut oil e.t.c don’t actually thrive because of the unrefined or even refined coconut oil ( very unhealthy saturated oils ) but it’s because their whole diet is extremely low in other saturated fats. So its less of problem for their health to say cook with lets say a little coconut oil instead of butter. Things like natural saturated animal fats, that is also highly processed saturated animal fats like in beacon, hams, sausages, biscuits, bread, dairy products etc etc are very small or completely missing from their diets. They eat mostly protein in the form of omega3 rich fish not fatty red meat, they don’t eat many if any dairy products but get protein again from pulses and grains instead.

    We in the West for the most get and eat everything in unhealthy proportions the good and the bad. By avoiding the bad for the main and eating only sensible amounts of the good we can keep ourselves pretty much healthy without any sacrifice at all a privilege mostly only available to us in the West. We can eat walnuts instead of coconut, we can eat fish instead of lamb we can eat olive oil instead of palm oil etc etc and we can still eat something like a meal of lamb tagine once or twice a month with no ill effects.

    In fact we should be the healthiest populations on the planet, what with access to information and wide wide choices but this is very far from the reality.

    January 30th, 2013 1:19 am Reply
  • E

    Also, she mentions things being good in ” moderation”…. She’s not saying to not eat vegetables or anything else other than a plate of lard and butter. I have seen the difference throughout the years from a lot of my family and friends and who got sick faster than others and what they eat and that’s why I believe in natural food. I didn’t just read about it. I see it and so do the doctors who do the annual check-ups.

    January 29th, 2013 8:25 am Reply
  • E

    Skim milk is heavily processed and denatured. Processed food is bad for us as it destroys heat sensitive nutrients and the structure/balance of it- making it hard for us to digest it and also to bet all that we need from it and in the balance as it was intended by nature. Butter is a pure product our body can easily use.

    When we eat processed foods Babies aren’t all weaned by one. Some people choose to wean them at that age for their own reasons. I don’t know who told you babies are weaned at one but that information is wrong. Many people/companies/agencies/organizations stand to benefit from people being sick and not healthy.

    Weston A. Price was one of the few people who cared enough to travel to other places and see how other people lived and found out (through their diet) what made some people healthier than others and less prone to harmful diseases and deficiencies. How many people boher with that today before suggesting fake frankenfoods are healthier for us than natural foods ? If you look up his background and research then you might be surprised atthe conclusion. Coconut oil has a lot of saturated oil as well and people thrive on it. Please look up Weston A. Price to see what he found. Unlike today’s frankenfoods promoters… he didn’t have anything to gain by his research.

    January 29th, 2013 8:13 am Reply
    • E

      (Please excuse the “When we eat processed foods” statement I started but didn’t finish. Typo error) and the other typo. I meant “bother” and ect..

      January 29th, 2013 8:16 am Reply
  • Anton lambert

    “E”, babies have completely different requirements as far as fat in their diet is concerned than do adults. A baby is weaned of fatty breast milk at the grand old age of exactly one-year old . As far as Im concerned the only good milk for adults is skim milk with 2% or less fat.

    “Palm kernel oil” is dangerous and the worst as its 80% completely saturated fat, it’s the kind used in industrial baking, biscuits, margarine etc almost everything these days. “Palm oil” (oil from the flesh of the fruit surrounding the nut) is also dangerous because it’s at least 50% saturated fat, these oils positively cause cholesterol build up in our blood and deposits in our arteries exactly the same as butter does. In fact you might as well bake with butter which is 51%/100g saturated fat the same as “palm oil” if you want to risk your and anyone else’s cholesterol levels. Butter tastes much nicer than palm oil and gives a far better in fact universally desired texture to baked products and is exactly the same or almost half the saturated fat as all palm oils!

    Palm oil is simply not a healthy alternative, the only people who want you to believe that are the palm grower lobbies in Asia and Africa. The problem is most of these countries in Asia and Africa don’t have access to good oils as they are relatively and extremely expensive compared to palm oils. The people of these countries who tend to be poor by any standards, consume palm oil as a very cheap staple.

    Personally as far as baking is concerned water based canola margarine without any partially hydrogenated plant oils or added palm kernel oil (what is usually added to the cheaper low end margarine’s) is a very good alternative to butter/lard for both the end result and health. You just need more of it as the water evaporates in some applications.

    Olive oil does contain tiny amounts of saturated fat yes (14g/100g) but in fact the benefits of olive oil outweighs this completely in other words the oleic acid (73g/100g) amongst other things doesn’t allow even those minute traces of saturated fat to cause any cholesterol build up at all, that’s zero blood cholesterol as a result of eating olive oil.

    I just don’t see how this article reaches its conclusions. Palm oil is not healthy, but in fact the same as or worse than butter or even lard for baking, causes heart disease, causes the destruction of vast tracks of virgin rain forest and is certainly not sustainably produced. Yes palm oil does contain tiny traces of carotene and and other things however they are volatile in cooking and are insignificant compared to the 80% saturated fat.

    January 29th, 2013 5:50 am Reply
    • N

      I suggest you keep poking around on the topic of nutrition.
      “When compared to the treasured monounsaturated fat, palm oil (high in saturated fat) greatly reduced oxidized LDL in humans. And that was refined palm oil. I suspect unrefined red palm oil, with all nutrients intact, would perform even better…”
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/top-6-anti-inflammatory-foods/#axzz2QZxnYAAT

      April 15th, 2013 7:56 pm Reply
  • Anton lambert

    Ps the palm shown is not the African palm used for oil production and is never used for anything other than a garden plant.

    January 18th, 2013 7:10 am Reply
  • Anton lambert

    Palm oil, palm kernel oil is saturated fat its the bad stuff folks, boy this article is very misleading. No health benefits left at all after heating, i.e. cooking or boiling. If you want to eat a raw carrot instead its got more carotene and no dangerously high saturated fats at all. Olive oil is zero% saturated end of story.

    There is also very very little so called sustainable palm oils anywhere in the world. Maize oil, canola oil etc does not go rancid at all. You use it you eat it and thats that, it also stands up to higher cooking temperatures than palm oils.

    January 18th, 2013 7:08 am Reply
    • E

      Actually, if saturated fat was bad for you… then why does it make up approximately 54% of breast milk? Nature had it right. Also, olive oil does contain saturated fat. Approximately 2 grams per tablespoon. The oils you champion are bad for you. Please do your research.

      January 29th, 2013 3:25 am Reply
  • Lee Wong

    Palm Oil is 10x more efficient, per hectare, than soy beans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrZnGpklxb4

    November 1st, 2012 7:44 am Reply
  • Sylvia Meserkhani

    What you are obviously not aware of is that Palm oil and all its alias is the reason the forests in Borneo and Sumatra are being decimated. These forests are home to the endangered Orangutan as well as many other creatures. The greed of the palm oil industry to make a buck is quickly and permanently destroying these habitats. There are very few Orangutans left in the world. These countries are the only places where they still exist. Please rethink your purchase of palm oil, boycott these products instead. The Orangutans will thank you.

    October 22nd, 2012 11:05 am Reply
  • Steve Yakoban

    It’s absolutely shameful that you recommend the use of palm oil! Most if any is truly NOT sustainable. “Sustainable” after they’ve slashed and burned irreplaceable rain forest is not sustainable. Why do you think it’s embraced by big business? Because it’s cheap and they can keep suckering indigenous peoples to keep burning down more rain forest to produce it.

    There are so may alternatives to palm oil, like coconut oil, that I hope readers completely ignore this reckless post and boycott palm oil and the products containing it.

    October 22nd, 2012 4:36 am Reply
    • Jeanette

      Sarah, stay in the kitchen and keep doing what you are good at: exchanging healthy recipes. The rest of your knowledge just gets you in trouble!

      October 22nd, 2012 12:03 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    There are MANY foods out there that are not sustainably produced in most cases similar to palm oil. Beef is one that comes to mind. To avoid this problem, I seek out local grassbased farms for my beef and avoid conventional beef. We must do this with all our foods that are nutrient dense like traditional like palm oil. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater on the palm oil!

    October 20th, 2012 2:28 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Oops, meant palm oil. They have coconut oil too :)

    October 20th, 2012 2:25 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Yes, Wilderness Family Naturals has a sustainable coconut oil .. on my Resources page.

    October 20th, 2012 2:25 pm Reply
  • Kathryn Simmons McDonald via Facebook

    Are there any companies that you know for certain are sustainable?

    October 20th, 2012 11:51 am Reply
  • Abi

    Is it ok to heat this oil?

    October 20th, 2012 10:59 am Reply
  • Pingback: The Many Shades of Palm Oil | CookingPlanet

  • barb

    i cant seem to find palm kernel oil anywhere i can fine shortening or red palm oil i want the least fat in our diet can you help me please

    October 19th, 2012 11:37 pm Reply
    • Olivia

      you want the least fat in your diet? hmm and you follow this blog?

      go to mountainroseherbs.com they have palm kernel oil. it is sustainable and organic.

      October 20th, 2012 1:23 am Reply
      • barb

        olivia for the info. yes i follow this blog she said use palm kernel oil because its a like olive oil a little to much fat for middle age who have a problem with it making u gain in the stomach so i worry about that

        October 20th, 2012 5:54 pm Reply
  • Hilloah Courtney via Facebook

    I wonder if I am the only one that skimmed the article and didn’t read the last paragraph.

    October 19th, 2012 9:55 pm Reply
    • Sheril C

      Haha. I’m glad you pointed that out. Isn’t funny how often controversies over blogs look like we all failed to read the article before commenting? :p

      August 16th, 2014 8:58 am Reply
  • Hilloah Courtney via Facebook

    . . . . so not to buy it in pre-made foods or personal care products because the source is most likely not sustainable.

    October 19th, 2012 9:48 pm Reply
  • Sara James via Facebook

    Thanks for the info, Alexey, I’ll look into it. My older athletic self is trying to kill it in Crossfit and a “little” sore :)

    October 19th, 2012 9:40 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    This is why you buy sustainable palm oil as I suggest in the post. There are plenty of places in the world that produce sustainable palm oil where no orangutans live.

    October 19th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
    • Kimberly

      Thank you! Here in Central Africa palm oil plantations all shut down because they couldn’t find a market. People use hand-made cranks to extract the oil with stones. Beautiful red palm oil is a staple food sold in vats in Congolese markets. No issues with orangutans whatsoever.

      October 21st, 2012 5:42 am Reply
      • Sheril C

        That is exactly what I’m looking for! I hope that becomes an option for my family. Failing small batch/family farm type situations in West Africa I may consider buying the tropical traditions palm oil that is grown in South America. But so far I just have not ever bought any. If you come up with any info on a new or current situation where those family producers’ product is being imported to America please post the info here and on any more recent posts Sarah has written about palm oil! I’d so appreciate it!

        August 16th, 2014 9:02 am Reply
  • Joanie Calem

    Sara hi,
    The sustainability problem with palm oil is huge! Indonesian rainforests are being illegally decimated to make way for palm oil plantations to meet the need of Western snack food manufacturers, not to mention all the non-food uses of palm oil at this point. This deforestation is pushing orangutans, and Sumatran tigers and elephants to the brink of extinction. It is also not totally clear that what is being labeled “sustainable” palm oil is actually anything more than a consortium of Indonesian companies that are paying for a stamp of approval.
    While the nutritional benefits are very clear, I don’t think that we can allow ourselves to be part of the destruction of a foreign country just to serve our needs! Isn’t coconut a viable alternative? There is no major destruction happening for coconut oil!

    October 19th, 2012 9:32 pm Reply
  • Hilloah Courtney via Facebook

    http://www.orangutan.com/threats-to-orangutans/

    October 19th, 2012 9:23 pm Reply
  • Hilloah Courtney via Facebook

    No matter how healthful palm oil is for us, I would NEVER support the the industrialization of this product by buying it or using it any anyway. The industry has devastated rainforest and are large cause of the orangutans going extinct. Please support sustainable oils like olive oil and coconut oils as well as any other sustainable healthy oil. Say no to palm oil, please. Here are the many shades of palm oil . . . .

    October 19th, 2012 9:23 pm Reply
  • Alexey Zilber via Facebook

    @Sara, I very very highly recommend Hyaluronic Acid (especially Hydraplenish). https://www.iherb.com/mypage/bodykarma

    It’s one of my favorite products. It’s the only thing that will lubricate joins properly, as well as replenish all fluidic membranes. It’s helped my wife with her joints and exercise as well.

    October 19th, 2012 9:14 pm Reply
  • Laila Abdullah via Facebook

    I love using red palm oil for light frying- eggs, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

    October 19th, 2012 9:04 pm Reply
  • Charlie

    I think palm oil has got to be way more sustainable than soybean oil. Its a perrenial tree with much deeper roots than annuals and therefore will have much less costs than soybean or corn oil in terms of tilling, replanting every season, fertilization, ect. Not to mention you cannot really manually extract soybean oil, as in its not a traditional food. The oil way you can obtain oil from it is unnatural hexane extraction. Eating anything cooked in soybean oil is like eating your food cooked in a low grade of car fuel. Pretty dam stupid; people put diesel in their trucks but the crappiest grade of food oil imaginable into their bodies.

    October 19th, 2012 8:21 pm Reply
  • Sara James via Facebook

    Sara, what would u recommend as the best fat for helping to lubricate joints? My old reconstructed knee is killing me as I try to continue athletic pursuits

    October 19th, 2012 8:14 pm Reply
  • Reid Powell

    I’ve seen labeling on some of my foods that states that it contains ‘non-hydrogenated’ palm oil. Does this mean if I don’t see such a labeling, that I should assume that the palm oil has been hydrogenated? I’m assuming (perhaps wrongly) that if palm oil has been hydrogenated that it has as similarly ill effects as other forms of hydrogenated oils.

    October 19th, 2012 7:07 pm Reply
  • tina

    I get the virgin red palm oil from TT. I always feel guilty about the environment that may be destroyed from growing the fruit or the nourishment that is taken away because the natives can’t afford to buy their own exports. I use it sparingly and don’t waste a drop (I consider using on one’s face to be incredibly selfish. Some Americans think the world revolves them and their needs.) I hate people today.

    October 19th, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
    • Melinda

      Good to know you’ve decided that YOUR use of this oil justifies the destruction of habitat and precious animals, while OTHER people’s use is despicable. Especially the infinitesimally tiny amount a person would use on her face. No wonder you “hate people today.” Get a life.

      October 19th, 2012 7:45 pm Reply
    • Jeanette Caldwell

      You eat what you put on your skin! Carpe diem.

      October 19th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
      • Olivia

        using a drop of oil on your face as a moisturizer? really, that’s what’s wrong with americans? you’re the one spreading hate and stereotyping for no good reason sister…

        if you’re so concerned about the environment and issues, why buy from TT when they have to ship heavy things to you which is more dependence on foreign oil and pollutes the air? instead of buying expensive palm oil why not just donate all your money to charity since you are so unselfish. ahh you are boggling my mind right now. may be the most crazy person comment i have ever seen. ahh the negativity is rubbing off on me heeeellp

        October 20th, 2012 1:16 am Reply
  • tereza crump

    In Brazil, in the northern areas, red palm oil is used in most traditional dishes. But you know what they are doing now? They are selling red palm oil and half of it is soybean oil. You can hardly find virgin red palm oil only. Why the heck they are doing that I don’t know???

    October 19th, 2012 11:32 am Reply
    • Jen

      They’re doing it because soybean oil is super cheap, but they can still command a higher price by calling it red palm oil. It’s all about greed.

      October 21st, 2012 5:11 pm Reply
  • Jeanette Caldwell

    Hi Sarah, I’m confused! I’m an avid user of unrefined coconut oil for use on my body, oil pulling to cooking etc,… I use 1 tbs/ morning on an empty stomach, you get the idea.
    Anyhow, I’m learning more about Red Palm Oil and its benefits. What is better coconut oil or red palm oil? I like to incorporate both. Mainly I’m interested to use it on my skin, since the red palm oil has one of the highest amount of Vitamin E – correct? The one I’m having my eye on is from Jungle Products and made from African palm trees, no Orangutans in sight. Thx for sharing and caring. You rock!

    October 19th, 2012 11:06 am Reply
  • Caroline

    I buy my palm shortening from Tropical Traditions. They have a statement on their website about sustainability: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_palm_shortening.htm

    October 19th, 2012 11:03 am Reply
    • SoCalGT

      I get mine from there too. I love it!

      October 20th, 2012 1:18 am Reply
  • Janel

    Promoting the use of palm oil encourages the production of it in Indonesia, where rain forests are clear cut (and burned) in order to build palm oil plantations. The plight of the orangutans is just simply depressing and heart breaking – they are burned alive when the forests are burned down or killed in the logging process. There are numerous photos of orangutans suffering online – just google orangutans palm oil plantations, and you’ll find plenty. Which is why I don’t understand promoting the use of palm oil without expressly pointing out that there is a movement and label out there to identify “orangutan friendly palm oil”! CBS had a news story on it back in August: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57500599/the-orangutan-population-is-on-the-brink/

    If you want to use palm oil or promote its use in processed food products, support the education and promotion of orangutan friendly stuff. A lot of people out there don’t know where palm oil comes from and just assume it’s grown like corn in Iowa. There is a highly destructive environmental and ecological factor in the main production of palm oil as it currently is produced today.

    Please be a conscientious counsumer.

    October 19th, 2012 10:59 am Reply
  • Danielle

    So when is sunflower oil ok to use? I noticed you said this oil gets rancid. I’ve been frying and baking with it. The only organic corn chips I can find have sunflower oil. Suggestions?

    October 19th, 2012 10:58 am Reply
    • Olivia

      Don’t buy store bought chips.
      Sunflower oil should only be used cold, and preferably you should make it yourself with an oil press. Why not just stick to the traditional stable oils for cooking, and use olive oil for cold preparations?

      Make your own chips… fry in animal fat. Or just use veggie sticks instead of chips…

      October 20th, 2012 12:52 am Reply
  • Clara

    There is a big anti-palm oil movement in Australia because of the sustainability issues. Particularly the loss of habitat to the orangutans. How do yo know if it’s sourced sustainably?

    October 19th, 2012 5:48 am Reply
    • Helen T

      Yeah, that’s my concern – the loss of orangutan habitat is tragic. Not long ago, I saw jars of palm oil at Walgreen’s in the suppliments section and this is in the Midwest.
      Palm oil is going mainstream.

      October 19th, 2012 7:49 am Reply
      • Jessica

        If you have not already found the answer to question, you can go to http://www.rspo.org and they have a list of companies that use sustainable or that are in the process of switching to sustainable. This is a long process and one that is not cheap, but desperately needs to be made.

        March 14th, 2014 1:23 am Reply
  • Laura S

    Oh. I see you responded already. Thanks! Why does it go by a different name?

    October 18th, 2012 10:29 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Perhaps because palm oil looks like Crisco shortening at room temperature?? Palm oil isn’t liquid when you buy it at the store .. it’s creamy and white in a tub and hence has a more shortening type of consistency.

      October 18th, 2012 10:40 pm Reply
  • Laura S

    I’m also curious about palm shortening.

    October 18th, 2012 10:27 pm Reply
  • Jamie D

    What about palm shortening?? I have a giant tub of it and use it as a shortening replacement and to fry some things.

    October 18th, 2012 10:03 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Palm shortening is fine :)

      October 18th, 2012 10:26 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Be sure to double check that the manufacturers haven’t slipped some cheap oils in there though … be sure it is ALL palm oil!

        October 18th, 2012 10:26 pm Reply
        • Marilyn

          Wouldn’t palm shortening be hydrogenated?

          March 22nd, 2014 2:12 pm Reply
          • Anton

            Yes it is Marilyn the very worst oil for causing heart disease.

            It is positively identified as causing people to die from cholesterol build up in the arteries, having been brought on by food manufacturers ushering in the era of people dropping by the millions of heart attacks.

            Not only is it hydrogenated it’s partially hydrogenated the absolutely worst shortening. Turning palm oil into shortening it has to be partially hydrogenated as this makes it a solid. Unrefined cold pressed palm oil is a semi liquid at just bellow room temp.

            Partially hydrogenated palm oil is found in thousands of baked goods, processed foods. To live healthily its best to avoid it at all cost. The worst offenders are biscuits pastries etc the long life kind found on super market shelves.

            Animal shortening with minimum processing or additives like pure rendered beef lard is in fact much MUCH healthier in very limited amounts. Too much along with carbs salt sugar etc causes obesity too and all the chronic side affects involved including heart disease.

            As oils go organic peanut, canola or sunflower unsaturated oils are better for healthy baking easily available where I live at least.

            Be very wary of products that just say “vegetable fat” it could be partially hydrogenated palm shortening.

            The sad thing is a lot of Asian producers are trying to promote palm oil with totally unreliable information about its green foot print and its health benefits. Of course paying for its promotion on the internet too.

            All palm oil in processed products is partially hydrogenated. So when someone reads a label and they indeed do see palm oil mentioned can be misled into thinking its healthy. It never is.

            March 22nd, 2014 9:57 pm

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