Our expert says:
I am aware of the fact that fats tend to improve the mouth-feel of a product, but they are notorious for shortening the shelf-life of foods because of rancidity. So I can understand that food manufacturers would be searching for fats to add to foods to improve mouth-feel. The problem with palm fat is that 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.
The one thing I am sure about, is that people will always protest about food! But according to the SA legislation governing trans-fats, no food manufacturer could use harmful palm kernel oil or fat in foods because this would immediately increase the trans-fat content of the product.
I am not sure what the position is in other countries, esp in the East, where this type of legislation is not in place.
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