You may think you’re avoiding trans fat, but you may actually be getting a significant quantity of this unhealthy and artificial ingredient. When I appeared on KXTV’s Sac and Co. in California, I told the viewers about deceptive labeling tactics which may be the cause of their trans fat intake. I also told viewers to look for products made with Malaysian sustainable palm oil. This naturally trans fat-free oil is loaded with nutrients. It’s also one of the only sustainable oils, important to consider if you care for the environment as I do.
The federal government has given the food industry until June 2018 to remove partially hydrogenated oils, our primary source of trans fats, from our food supply. That’s great news, but until then you need to work to avoid them. And it isn’t easy. First, products are allowed to be labeled “zero trans fats” even if they contain up to 0.5 grams of the unhealthy ingredient per serving. Second, many listed serving sizes are ridiculously small. I demonstrated how the recommended serving size of a trans fat-laden kids’ breakfast cereal fits in the palm of my hand. Many of us eat two or three times this amount.
To avoid trans fat, you need to diligently read ingredient lists. Avoid any product that includes a hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated ingredient. That’s a trans fat. Why is this important? Because trans fat consumption may lead to clogged arteries, promote inflammation and raise your blood cholesterol level.
A healthier alternative is Malaysian sustainable palm oil. Most cooking oils come from seeds, but this oil comes from fruit. The fruit bunches, which resembles an inside-out pomegranate, grow on oil palm trees in Malaysia, a country which cares for its land and its people. While many oils are chemically extracted, palm oil may be simply produced with just steam and pressure. Palm oil is also nutritious. You can tell by its red-orange color that it is loaded with beta-carotene. It’s also rich in vitamin E.
As a chef, I appreciate that Malaysian sustainable palm oil is versatile. It has a buttery flavor and works well in marinades and dressings. It’s also ideal for high-temperature applications such as grilling and sautéing unlike some other oils .