Two food scientists in Canada have created a healthy alternative to palm oil, which they say is a viable sustainable substitute containing no saturated fats. Their development of the new food oil replicates how palm oil can keep liquid fats derived from vegetables solid at room temperature – which has been a selling point of palm oil since its inception over two decades ago. The researchers tested the new oil across a spectrum of common foods such as pizza crust, cookies, peanut butter, toothpaste and even cosmetics. They found it could hold up to the same properties of palm oil. Nutritionists have long been warning palm oil and its derivative, palm fruit oil, is unhealthy and can lead to serious issues due to its content of harmful fats which are difficult for the human body to process and can lead to health problems.
Palm oil has also been a serious environmental concern due to massive deforestation for palm plant growing in some of the world’s most bio-diverse tropical places, like the rainforest, and has systematically been destroying natural habitats of many species, including some already listed as endangered.
In the 20 years that palm oil has been cultivated and added to just about every processed food product, it has become the leading cause of worldwide tropical deforestation. With the prospect of an eco-friendly alternative, the hope is for the food industry to start producing the newly discovered healthy substitute which would allow the rainforests to begin to recover.
Ann Sullivan is a contributing staff writer covering national and world news topics. She brings dedicated experience having written international and domestic news, blogs, and web content for over 20 years. She’s also a published poet and graphic designer with degrees in Business and Graphic Communications and has been a music distributor, music industry sponsorship sales director and band manager.