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By now, you know that you should be avoiding trans fats. As food manufacturers re-formulate their brands to replace trans fats with other alternatives, it’s easy to become confused when you read the new food labels. Saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated?  Olive, canola, soy, Malaysian palm fruit oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil or animal fats (beef tallow, lard) – which are the healthier choices? The answers may surprise you.

Did you know that the fats you eat can raise your cholesterol? Or that nutritionally, Malaysian palm fruit oil may be as healthful as olive oil?  “It is exciting to learn that there are options for oils on the market that provide a nice alternative to butter or even olive oil – which isn’t always appropriate for all types of cooking,” comments Registered Dietician, Nutritional Consultant and Author Felicia Stoler.  “For example, red Malaysian palm fruit oil contains both beta-carotene and vitamin E. While that doesn’t mean you should eat large amounts of chicken wings fried with it, it is reassuring to know that when you cook or bake with it, it will taste great, it won’t raise your cholesterol and it delivered beneficial nutrients.”

Although Palm Oil has a number of health benefits, however the sourcing of this oil is not without controversy. Malaysia is the second biggest supplier after Indonesia and together the two countries account for about 86% of the World market. Setenex Lifestyle only sources this product exclusively from Malaysia.

Malaysian palm oil industry is a highly regulated industry. Currently, the industry is adhered to more than 15 laws and regulations including the Land Acquisition Act 1960, Environmental Quality Act 1974, Environmental Quality (Clean Air Regulations) 1978, Pesticides Act 1974 (Pesticides Registration Rules), Occupational Safety and Health Act (1977), and Protection of Wildlife Act 1972. The industry is also complying with Hazard & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements. Being sensitive and proactive on current environmental concerns, the industry is actively pursuing ISO 14000 standard series discussions and formulations notably on climate change, life cycle analysis (LCA), ecolabeling & Design for the Environment (DfE), environmental communications, and environmental management system (EMS).

The industry and its R&D arm are continuously working to improve the industry’s environmental performance. Various approaches and technologies aimed to reduce the impact of the industry on the environment have been converted to successful practices in oil palm plantation, palm oil mill, and refineries. The industry envisions achieving the highest standards of sustainability of palm oil.

An oil palm plantation with its perennial green cover and closed canopy displays the main features of a tropical rainforest. It is also a more efficient carbon sink than a tropical rainforest and helps absorb greenhouse gases. A study has shown that an oil palm plantation assimilates 44.0 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year compared to 25.7 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year a rainforest assimilates.

Interestingly, dry matter production remains high throughout the entire 25-year economic life cycle of oil palm trees. In Malaysia, oil palm is grown on about 56% of agricultural land, occupying some 11.75% of the country’s total land areas. However, the current areas under oil palm plantations are within the limit of the allocated hectares permitted under the National Agricultural Plan 3 (NAP 3) 2000-2010. Downloads……………

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