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Question
Posted by: Gene | 2012-10-08

Palm oil

i notice that quite a few baked products including packaged bread contains palm oil. Is this not a heavily saturated oil and not healthy for people with high cholesterol levels.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Gene
There are different types of palm oil which can be very confusing. There are "good" palm fats such as red palm oil and "bad" palm fats such as palm kernel oil. Nowadays, the latter would predominantly be eliminated by the trans-fat legislation, so it is quite possible that the use of palm fat that you are seeing is of the more beneficial type. There is an article on the DietDoc site at: http://www.health24.com/dietnfood/General/15-742,30539.asp about beneficial red palm oil and another article at: www.health24.com/dietnfood/DietDocs.../15-1871,31490.asp about the Confusion About Fats which outlines the difference between palm kernel oil which has high saturated and trans-fat contents and red palm oil that is beneficial, has a low saturated and trans-fat content and also contains a highly beneficial antioxidant form of vit E called tocotrienol and lycopene. If the baked products list the ingredients of their product (which is mandatory in SA), then they also have to list the source of the fat (e.g. plant or animal sources and what type of palm oil they are using). I have just had a look at the label on the packet of bread we have at home and the list of ingredients mentions "unhydrogenated vegetable fat (palm fruit)" and the Typical Nutritional Information Table lists no trans fats, 0.8g of saturated fat and 0.5 g monounsaturated and 0.6 g of polyunsaturated fat per 100g, so the palm fruit fat used in this product is not a source of trans fats and although it contains saturated fat the content is less than 1% in the final product.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2012-10-08

Dear Gene
There are different types of palm oil which can be very confusing. There are "good" palm fats such as red palm oil and "bad" palm fats such as palm kernel oil. Nowadays, the latter would predominantly be eliminated by the trans-fat legislation, so it is quite possible that the use of palm fat that you are seeing is of the more beneficial type. There is an article on the DietDoc site at: http://www.health24.com/dietnfood/General/15-742,30539.asp about beneficial red palm oil and another article at: www.health24.com/dietnfood/DietDocs.../15-1871,31490.asp about the Confusion About Fats which outlines the difference between palm kernel oil which has high saturated and trans-fat contents and red palm oil that is beneficial, has a low saturated and trans-fat content and also contains a highly beneficial antioxidant form of vit E called tocotrienol and lycopene. If the baked products list the ingredients of their product (which is mandatory in SA), then they also have to list the source of the fat (e.g. plant or animal sources and what type of palm oil they are using). I have just had a look at the label on the packet of bread we have at home and the list of ingredients mentions "unhydrogenated vegetable fat (palm fruit)" and the Typical Nutritional Information Table lists no trans fats, 0.8g of saturated fat and 0.5 g monounsaturated and 0.6 g of polyunsaturated fat per 100g, so the palm fruit fat used in this product is not a source of trans fats and although it contains saturated fat the content is less than 1% in the final product.
Best regards
DietDoc

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