Is Palm Oil a Healthy Choice?
No. Palm oil is found in processed foods and used for deep frying foods. Processed and deep-fried foods are definitely in the unhealthy category.
6 Health Benefits of Avoiding Palm Oil Foods
Research shows the following health benefits come from avoiding these foods:
- Better blood sugar balance
- Healthier heart
- Lower cholesterol
- Weight management
- Improved mood
- Less digestive distress
Is Palm Oil Healthier than Vegetable Oil?
The truth of the matter is you don’t need to add fat to your food for it to taste delicious. “It’s possible to make vegetables taste good, which helps people adhere to eating more healthy foods moving forward,” explains Registered Dietician, Lon Ben-Asher of the Pritikin Center.
The Worst Foods with Palm Oil
A fat added to many processed foods, palm oil can create desired textures and extend the shelf life. Eating processed foods is an unhealthy choice: two large European studies recently showed that ultra-processed foods (highly processed) increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Avoiding processed foods is important to your health. (The healthiest foods to eat are nutrient-dense, such as plant-based whole foods that are linked with low rates of death and heart disease, according to studies.)
1. Peanut Butter
Palm oil is used in many peanut butter brands. Some natural peanut butters may not. However, if weight loss is a goal of yours, it’s best to avoid calorie-dense foods, such as nuts and nut butters.
Despite being promoted as a healthier option with its use of ‘plant oils’, a quick review of the ingredient list on your margarine you will find unhealthy tropical oils and salt. A calorie-dense food with added salt, margarine is not a healthy choice for those looking to achieve healthy body weight and lower hypertension, notes Pritikin Center Registered Dieticians, leading experts at sorting through the hype on food products.
A solid fat at room temperature, shortening is a traditional ingredient in flaky, crumbly baked good recipes. As shortening is high in saturated fats, it’s best to avoid it to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a scientific review by leading experts.
4. Instant Noodles
Linked with obesity and cardiometabolic syndrome by scientists, instant noodles are best left on the shelf – where this highly processed, sodium-rich product can last for an astonishing 12 months.
5. Cake Mixes
Loaded with sugar and palm oil, cake mixes are calorie-dense foods that are best avoided. But you can still eat cake! Try this cake recipe instead – created by the award-winning Pritikin chefs who are masters at helping show people how delicious healthy eating can be.
Palm oil gives cookies a creamy taste and texture, hence it’s used as an ingredient in processed cookies.
7. Packaged Bread & Buns
Inexpensive and easy to bake with, palm oil is found in many packaged bread and buns. Better alternatives for healthier sandwiches and burgers, include using whole-grain bread and adding vegetables.
8. Pizza Dough
Think outside the pizza box, for a healthier option as your store-bought or delivery pizza may contain palm oil. For some culinary inspiration, try these Pritikin pizza recipes.
9. Vegan Cheese
Choosing a vegan product may not necessarily mean it doesn’t contain saturated fat. Read ingredients – some vegan cheese contains palm oil.
Some chocolate contains palm oil, including popular candy bars and holiday chocolates. Palm oil can help create the shiny appearance and smooth texture of some chocolates. Dark chocolate can also contain palm oil. But, chocolate can be good for you in certain forms, according to health experts at the renowned Pritikin Center in Miami, Florida.
Yes, you can eat chocolate as part of a healthy eating plan! Pritikin chefs have come up with low-saturated fat solutions that please just about every chocolate lover.
The Pritikin Center is a luxury, all-inclusive, educational health resort where you can immerse yourself in a healthy lifestyle. Experience infinite opportunities to learn from leading experts how you can create better habits in your daily routine at home.
Ready to transform your palate?
Discover how delicious healthier foods can be.
Book a Stay at Pritikin
- Consumer effects of front-of-package nutrition labeling: an interdisciplinary meta-analysis. J Acad Market Sci 2020;48:360-383.
- Research advancements in palm oil nutrition. Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 2014 Oct; 116(10): 1301-1315.
- Multiple health and environmental impacts of foods. PNAS 2019 Oct; 116(46):23357-23362.
- Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and mortality in a general population of middle-age adults. J Am Heart Assoc 2019; 8:e012865.
- Consumption of ultra-processed foods and health outcomes: a systematic review of epidemiological studies. Nutrition Journal 2020 Aug;19(86).
- Systematic review of palm oil consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease. PLoS One 2018 Feb; 13(2);e0193533.
- Palm oil consumption increases LDL cholesterol compared with vegetable oil low in saturated fat in a meta-analysis of clinical trials. J Nutr 2015 Jul;145(7):1549-1558.
- Instant noodle consumption is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors among college students in Seoul. Nutr Res Pract 2017 Jun; 11(3):232-239.