Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
28 Jul

Smart Fuel: Palm Oil

Of the tropical oils, coconut gets the most attention, while palm oil gets mostly ignored. The virgin coconut oil has a fairly distinct flavor, but it’s one most people are familiar with, and it lends itself well to both sweet and savory dishes. Palm oil, especially the virgin red variety that gets all the attention for its positive health effects, also has a distinct flavor, but it’s one many people seem to dislike, probably because it’s so unfamiliar (in the US, at least; worldwide, palm oil is the most widely used cooking oil) to our palates. Scott Kustes had a guest post awhile back discussing the tropical oils, but I thought it would be good to give a short, comprehensive primer on the multiple varieties of palm oil.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is extracted from the flesh of the plum-sized palm fruit. In the better brands, the processing that goes into the extraction isn’t overly invasive, and people have been doing it in roughly the same manner (the scale of operations has changed, of course). The main steps, for both small and large operations:

  • Separation of individual fruits (palm fruits grow in bunches).
  • Softening up the flesh.
  • The pressing of the fruit.
  • The purification of the resultant oil.

Now, step four is where everything changes. If you want to make an ultra-refined product for shipping to the masses, you subject the raw oil to a purification process that renders the oil white and nearly flavorless. This highly-refined palm oil, as long as it hasn’t been hydrogenated (partially or otherwise), is a great choice for relatively high heat stir frying, but you will be losing some nutritional value (see Red Palm Oil below). Refined palm oil is about 50% saturated fat, 39% monounsaturated fat, and only around 11% polyunsaturated fat, making it stable for cooking (and storage) and semisolid at room temperature. Feel free to use this as a primary cooking oil.

Palm Kernel Oil

Palm kernel oil comes from the same fruit and the same tree, only this time the oil’s coming from the seeds of the plant – or the kernel. Health officials are quick to warn against excess consumption of palm kernel oil owing to its much higher saturated fat levels, which is usually our cue to do the exact opposite. Palm kernel oil is highly saturated (around 80% SFA, 15% MUFA, and 2.5% PUFA), making it fantastic for high heat cooking. It’s very similar to coconut oil. I haven’t tried it myself, and I can’t get word either way about the flavor, so I’m unclear as to how it differs from normal refined palm oil beyond the fatty acid profile. Anyone know?

Red Palm Oil

This is the virgin, unrefined stuff. Palm oil is naturally reddish, and it comes chock full of vitamins and antioxidants. When palm oil is highly refined, though, it loses its color and taste right along with the inarguably beneficial effects. Vitamin E (may help prevent LDL oxidation), betacarotenes (many more than carrots or tomatoes), and co-enzyme Q10 (a major participant in cellular respiration) are all in red palm oil. Furthermore, the vitamin E in red palm oil is made up of both tocotrienols and tocopherols; the vitamin E in most foods is mainly tocopherol, which may be less effective than the tocotrienols abounding in red palm oil. Red palm oil does have a strong taste – according to one Portuguese explorer, “It smells of violets, tastes like olives and has a colour that blends foods together like saffron, but even all this can’t sufficiently describe its special qualities.” A bit of hyperbole? Perhaps. But the point is that you don’t want to be mixing this stuff with just anything; you might, for example, try this West African dish employing red palm oil.

Most health food stores should carry palm oil, both refined and red, and I know that Whole Foods definitely carries both. If there’s no Whole Foods in your area, check out any local co-ops or the smaller health food shops. On the online front, Tropical Traditions makes a great virgin red palm oil that can be ordered.

I think red palm oil is worth having around. For regular sautéing (eggs, for example), butter would probably work just fine, but certain cuisines use a lot of palm oil, and it’s great having options. Plus, it’s an extremely shelf stable fat. Use liberally and with great gusto!

Lon&Queta Flickr Photo (CC)

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Thanks for this post.

    The only reason I hadn’t bought any was the huge price tag. This post pushed me over the fence :)

    Grok wrote on July 28th, 2009
  2. Mark – I like your breakdowns of SFA / MUFA / PUFAs… any idea on the breakdown of the virgin Red Palm Oil?

    Berto at Discount Supplements wrote on July 28th, 2009
  3. I bought red palm oil cheaply on Ebay. They advertise it for parrots but its the same stuff and I am on my second liter now. I do all my saute cooking in it. Tocotrienols are usually derived from it and they will regrow hair in balding spots, among other health benefits.

    Gordon wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Gordon,

      I am going through a crisis now, where I lost half of my hair because of a combination of stress, and a mix of low carb, low fat diet. I know I was worng, and I am suffering the consequences. But your post said this red palm oi can regorw hair. My hair loss was all over, and I am still shedding. I am taking a mix of multi vitamins, biotin, flax seed oil now..but wouldn’t mind trying anything else that is recommended. I don’t have thyroid problems, I checked. My blood test showed than my health is optimum besides the very low cholestrol levels, both good and bad. I am a female and had an amazing shoulder length hair. Now my hair is litterally less than half. This started two months ago, and it slowed down a bit, but hasn;t stopped yet. I am trying not to stress about it, but I am really devastated. I am 5.6, I was 138 lbs, and now I am 128 lbs. That was my goal and am happy with my weight now, but not hair. Please elaborate a little on red palm oil helping hair regrowth if you any more info, or anyone else on this forum. Thanks.

      Renee wrote on November 12th, 2009
      • Renee,

        I red about tocotreinols regrowing hair on another site. They are abundant in red palm oil and it is used to supplement parrot’s diets to help them keep and restore feathers.
        I use a derivative called Toco Sorb from red palm oil and I believe it has filled in a balding patch on my head . I know that Mark has tocotreinols in his Damage Control Master Formula as well.

        Good Luck.

        Gordon wrote on November 12th, 2009
        • Gordon,

          Thanks for your reply. I will dig more on the Damage Control Master Formula, as I haven’t seen it yet.

          Renee wrote on November 13th, 2009
      • Renee, do you have symptoms of hypothyroid? Have you had a thyroid panel done? At minimum, you need TSH, FT4, FT3 and better to include rT3 also.

        Also, get an iron panel ASAP. Serum iron should be in the 100-130 range, %sat 35-45%, UIBC less than 170 and TIBC less than 300.

        If you have these issues, you can get help here:

        jpatti wrote on April 16th, 2011
      • Sorry to hear about your hair loss, I’ve heard iodine (sweet water) mixed with pure castor oil is used for hair growth.

        Graham wrote on July 2nd, 2015
      • I am so sorry to hear about your hair loss – having gone through it myself, resulting in cutting off my lovely long haïr, i feel your pain.
        Its extremely non Marks Daily Apple friendly but I quit paleo and became a fruitarian. Now i am breastfeeding having gone through pregnancy mostly fruit-based, i am plain old mostly higher carb vegan…. my hair is growing in droves. Its done over an inch a month and i have so much regrowth i basically have bangs.
        (Its nothing to do with prenatal vitamins – i don’t do supplementation as i only beleive in whole foods)

        I personally would reccomend cutting out all the meat and fat as i used to be so committed to paleo and meat and lard and it got me nowhere.

        Sophie wrote on July 17th, 2016
  4. Unfortunately, the Whole foods in my area haven’t carried palm oil in months =(. Lots of coconut, but no palm. I’ve wanted to try it for a long time too.

    In other news, I got TPB in the mail one day late for an annual convention I host, and spoke at about exercise and nutrition. I still spoke highly of Primal Blueprint in my speech (my number one recommendation for proper nutrition) but I didn’t have it in hand to show on camera! Oh well. Perhaps you would be interested in speaking next year Mark?



    Anthony wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Details for the convention? Let me know and maybe we can work something out for next year. Thanks, Anthony.

      Mark Sisson wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • I’m concerned about the sustainability of Palm Oil Products when rainforests and peatlands are being destroyed to plant Palm plantations, what are your views on this please?

        Lynn wrote on February 22nd, 2014
  5. Mark, I know corn (as in popcorn) is a grain and is not part of the PB. However, I love popcorn and have every once in a while. What’s the best oil to use? I never eat microwave popcorn!

    LG wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • LG, cook your popcorn in the microwave with no oil! All you need is popcorn kernels, paper lunch bag, and a staple if your microwave is metal proof or a piece of tape if it’s not.

      You’ll need between 1/4-1/3 cup of kernels, put them in the lunch bag, fix the top, microwave as you would for pre-packaged microwave popcorn.

      bionicsamm wrote on July 29th, 2009
      • Although palm oil may seem a nice new thing to try, im affraid it is the main reason for the extinction of orang-utans, dont believe me?

        Emma Lokuciejewski wrote on July 30th, 2009
        • Agreed. I’ve stopped using all products containing Palm Oil because of the massive deforestation happening in developing countries.

          A great healthy alternative shouldn’t require animals to die just to turn a profit.

          Sylvia wrote on June 27th, 2011
        • As opposed to just killing and eating them directly?

          Anyway, the article mentioned above refers to Indonesian palm oil. I buy the local “Waew” brand, normally from Southern Thailand. However, there’s a current shortage (from hoarding because of the floods), so the Government has authorized imports (location not specified, but probably Malaysia).

          John Steakeater wrote on December 7th, 2011
      • What about red palm oil sourced not for the Amazon but from small West African family farms – is that harming orangutans? Yes it is critical to know where the product is sourced. You should also not purchase red palm oil sourced in Malaysia by large agri-business conlomerates.

        Kat wrote on February 26th, 2013
        • Since orangutans are from West Africa, not the Amazon, yes.

          Ladu wrote on January 9th, 2014
        • Actually orangutans aren’t from the Amazon or Africa, they exclusively live in maritime Southeast Asia. If you want to avoid buying from farms which encroach on orangutan territory then that’s Indonesian and Malaysian farms.

          Chris wrote on February 24th, 2014
    • Coconut oil, hands down, makes the BEST popcorn. Ever.

      Tirzah wrote on July 31st, 2009
    • Popcorn popped in a combination of palm oil & coconut oil, then sprinkled with brewers yeast, a little bit of salt and a pinch of turmeric (it can get a little bitter if there’s too much) is a delicious snack and certainly qualifies as a healthy snack. (See Mark’s “Important Supplemental Foods” write up for more on Turmeric). Yumm!

      Christina wrote on January 6th, 2013
  6. This may not be true – and so I would appreciate it if someone would correct my potential error – but my understanding is that palm oil extraction/farming is directly responsible for destruction of orangutan habitats.

    If true, then it is something worthy of consideration, IMO.

    Russell wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Palm fruit has been planted in Asia to the detriment of wildlife but originally red palm fruit were from West Africa and I buy mine from there. It is easy to discern. The West African Palm oil is not processed.

      Gordon wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • This is my understanding also. The devastation caused rainforest habitats for palm oil production is revolting. But like a lot of things in life it’s cheaper for corporation to produce in foriegn climates regardless of such farming practices impacts on the forest, it’s endangerd wildlife and in turn on our planet in general. To make matters worse once deforestation has occurred, the nutrients left in the soil are slim to none. Farm this land for a couple of years and it’s completely dead. How can the rainforest then be reestablished if it was the forest and it’s inhabitan that fed nutrients into the earth in the first place?

      It’s about making informed choices. Much like the choice as to whether to buy local or imported food stuffs, we all know local is the better choice and should do so as much as we can. Palm oil may hold health benefits but at what price? Grok surely didn’t have plam oil? And I’m sure we can live without it!

      I’ve listed a good website as a starting point for those who are intersted in the social, environmental and moral impact of palm oil production and the products that use it. It’s a Australian website, with regards to palm oils use in American products you may want to conduct you own search.

      Hope this helps.

      Ella wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • Apologies, here is the website:

        Ella wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • Not to exonerate any corporation, but I will point out that African soil is nearly barren in the first place because of the soil type and the frequent rainfall. It just washes nutrients into the water table. Slash and burn is not an invention of greedy businesses destroying the world for $$, it’s how many African tribes have lived for 1000s of years. Burning everything is the way to put fertilize the soil. Then you plant their a few years until it’s gone then you move on. You rotate like this and hopefully, the plants regrow by the time you come back to the same spot.

        Joshua wrote on August 3rd, 2011
        • The palm oil is from palm plantations grown in the Indonesian rainforest. Africa is not a big producer of palm oil. Soy is produced from the destruction of the rainforests in South America primarily.
          It would take many, many, many generations to grow another rainforest. And the wildlife, fauna and any benefits our rainforests may have existed for is long gone.
          Please stop the destruction of the world’s rainforest.

          roxanne wrote on June 29th, 2013
    • i believe that is unsustainable practice. one is able to purchase organic sustainable products.

      maryke wrote on July 1st, 2011
    • I suggest anyone who wants to become more fully informed on the case for red palm oil read Bruce Fife’s “The Palm Oil Miracle.” A section of the book covers the myth (or not … you ultimately have to decide) about the ecological destruction wrought by palm oil plantations.

      Fife suggests that the idea is part of a disinformation campaign by the vegetable oil against tropical oils. If so it is a rather egregious case of the pot calling the kettle black, given the ecological destruction cause by soybean and other monocultural crop practices, which amount to topsoil mining.

      These appear to be the facts, more or less: (1) The percentage of Malaysia’s land devoted to agriculture is not out of line with the rest of the world; (2) a palm oil plantation ecosystem appears to be far more diverse, including being tolerant of large animals such as elephants and orangutangs wandering through, than almost any other crop’s.

      If you are still not convinced, you can order red palm oil manufactured in, e.g., West Africa or Columbia where traditional small-scale techniques are used.

      Geoff wrote on January 28th, 2012
      • I agree with Geoff. If anyone wants to know about red palm oil, they should refer to Bruce Fife’s book on red palm oil. What happened to the blacklisting of Coconut oil, that it is saturated fat,thus bad for you is still very prevalent and everyone seems to be aware of the fact. With palm oil, there was a letter sent out to all the health food stores etc about how palm oil trees were devestating the planet. In Indonesia a huge percentage of there economy is based on palm oil. The palantations are not fenced and allow animals to roam freely. There are no pesticides applied. Why do we interefere with an economy because ‘propaganda’ has been sent out to convince us of something that perhaps is not a fact. Now everyone believes that the land is being used in an unsustainable way. What about the acers and acres of soy beans fenced, polluted and inhospitable. What if this was turned around and played back to the world how devastating soy beans were to North America. Lynda

        Lynda Maximenko wrote on March 30th, 2013
  7. I probably rely to heavily on coconut oil and ghee in my diet and never really considered palm oil. Thanks for the info!

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on July 28th, 2009
  8. I use the white palm oil for quite a while now and I can’t say anything bad about it, although it can be pricey…

    Florian wrote on July 28th, 2009
  9. Russell – It is true and probably why it is sometimes hard to find:

    Be well, Carla aka

    Carla Golden wrote on July 28th, 2009
  10. I had a bottle of spicy red palm/macadamia oil – I wish I could remember the name of the company that made it- so good. It was great for curries and West African/ Carribean inspired dishes. Will get more after reading this- nice to have a variety of cooking fats on hand.

    marci wrote on July 28th, 2009
  11. @LG

    Ironically I believe tropical oils were the original popcorn topping, until the saturated fat is evil/”vegetable” oil propaganda non sense started a few decades ago.

    So, I would go with coconut oil red palm kernel oil. I’ve used coconut oil myself on the rare occasion I eat any organic popcorn. I imagine melted grassfed butter would be a decent option as well.


    The convention is almost exactly 1 year away. My e-mail is Dream at

    Shoot me an e-mail sometime, I would love to have you there! As for quick details, the third year of the event just wrapped up, over 100 people showed over the course of 4 days. The main demographic is college guys, but there are men in there 30’s and even 40’s at the event, as well as a few women.

    The main focus has always been dating and relationship advice for men, but I am always expanding the topics covered at the event, since as the host- and IMO- you can’t succeed in one area of your life and ignore others (health as a prime example!).

    A few of our speakers have been seen on national TV, including CNN, and most recently The Tyra Banks Show.

    Also, all footage of the event is in true HD, and released free TED style on our main site each year. Each speaker also has the option of releasing their footage on their own and using it however they wish.

    talk to you soon (actually I won’t have internet for the next day or 2, but soon enough)



    Anthony wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Thanks Anthony, sounds great!


      LG wrote on July 28th, 2009
  12. I noticed some people commenting on the relationship between palm oil and orangutan habitat, so I’d lke to clarify. Please keep in mind that 90% of the global supply comes from Indonesia and Malaysia.

    The palm oil industry is guilty of the most heinous ecological atrocities imaginable, including the systematic genocide of orangutans.

    The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are the only place where these gentle, intelligent creatures live, and the cultivation of palm oil has directly led to the brutal deaths of thousands of individuals as the industry has expanded into previously undisturbed areas of rainforest.

    When the forest is cleared, adult orangutans are typically shot on sight. These peaceful, sentient beings are beaten, burned, mutilated, tortured and often eaten. Babies are torn off their dying mothers so they can be sold on the black market as illegal pets to wealthy families who see them as status symbols of their own power and prestige. I’m not writing this to shock anyone. It has been documented time and again.

    Some of the luckier orangutans are confiscated and brought to sanctuaries such as the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Center, which is home to around 650 orphaned and displaced orangutans in Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Many of these orangutans are only several weeks old when they arrive, and all of them are psychologically traumatized and desperate for their mothers– who were slaughtered right before their eyes.

    To learn more about the crisis facing wild orangutans because of palm oil and see how YOU can help protect them, please visit the Orangutan Outreach website:

    Thank you for your time!

    Richard Zimmerman
    Director, Orangutan Outreach
    Reach out and save the orangutans!
    Adopt an orangutan today!

    Richard Zimmerman wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Thank you for your comment, Richard. Of course, the environmental impact of our food choices is an important part of the equation for me and, I think, many MDA readers. Thanks for the info. I’ll be looking into it a little closer and I suggest readers do, too.

      Mark Sisson wrote on July 28th, 2009
      • And this is why I keep coming back to MDA…if the community is concerned or disagrees with something, dissent is welcomed, discussed, and encouraged.

        I’m going to keep away from Palm Oil, but I’ll be keeping with MDA!

        Russell wrote on July 29th, 2009
    • I’m with Richard on this one, having seen both the orangs and the *massive* palm oil plantations in Malaysia & Indonesia up close.

      As it’s difficult to differentiate between sustainably harvested and ecologically damaging palm oil, I avoid it entirely. (You’d be amazed at the number of non-food products employing some chemically tortured version of palm oil.)

      The idea of a sustainable source in Africa is intriguing, but I’m always wary about “sustainability” — it’s too easy to print up a pretty label to cover abuses 99.9% of your customers will never see.

      Coconut oil’s just fine for me!

      Josh Roman wrote on July 29th, 2009
      • How sustainable is coconut oil one may ask and same goes for GMO canola, rapeseed, soy or even corn. How ever it may sound, Palm Oil is the world’s first certified sustainable vegetable oil.

        Abhimanyu wrote on March 9th, 2015
    • To a certain extent there has been some conflicts that has been encountered and oil palm plantations has been smeared with negative allegations through out the time. such allegations of orang utans are being killed and shot is totally absurd. as reported by certain NGOS without no evident proof doesnt carry any weight.
      The industry such as in Malaysia have created their fund for consrvation efforts for wildlife including orangutan, the wild cattle / Bornean Banteng, Bornean Elephant, Malayan Sun bear among others is never highlighted and not looked upon to.
      Its not a perfect Industry, many policies are being made to produce palm oil sustainably. Palm oil is the driver of the Nations development especially for malaysia and Indonesia. Sustainable palm oil making its way and Palm oil is the world first sustainable vegetable oil,, compared to Rapeseed, Canola Oil and Soy which are comparatively lower in productivity and uses way much larger areas for production of oil and fats and creates extensive destruction and uses way much fertilizers with the mass agricultural farms and practices.
      Malaysia especially has their policy on conservation of wildlife through education to the managers ans staffs in oil palm plantations and any human-wildlife are reported to the Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit established with the collaboration of the Sabah Wildlife Department and MPOC .
      Malaysia still upkeeps its promise made during the world summit and still keeps a minimum of 50% fo its land mass under forest cover and Its doing way much better than the rest of the world, sad to say, compared to the developed world of US, EU and also Australia.
      Australians has many movements on anti plam oil campaigns but has forgotten that they have the highest mammal extinction in the world for the century. and this was not caused by palm oil.
      At times, it even looks like its a market competition between the soft oil producer where all the smearing and bad-mouthing is done by the rivals, in this sense for the palm oil industry the rival is significantly soy, rapeseed, canola, maize and sunflower. nevertheless, The fact is that #Palmoil is here to stay for the global community’s food security.

      Abhimanyu wrote on January 16th, 2015
      • Is there any official consensus on whether it is better to totally boycott palm oil or whether to attempt to source “sustainable palm oil”?… and if so, how to be sure that we are buying palm oil that has no link to the rainforest devastation and orangutan slaughtering? I want to encourage local cafes etc to avoid bad palm oil, but they are asking me what to use instead as a shortener and I want to make sure I am encouraging the right thing. One local ice-cream producer for instance uses palm oil in their frozen cookie dough so that it is soft to bite into, but they are open to changing their ingredients and I am now un-sure what to suggest…

        Tamsyn wrote on May 20th, 2015
        • I would say it is important to source sustainable palm oil because it is actually the most efficient oil to produce. It requires half the land of other vegetable oils to produce the same amount of product. We just need to do it sustainably. The round table for sustainable palm oil has a good write up on this.

          Courtney wrote on August 4th, 2015
        • Nutiva sources theirs from Ecuador. No orangutans.
          Although if you ask me, bye bye orangutans. There are actual people living nasty short brutish lives and need the land.

          Joshua wrote on June 28th, 2016
  13. great discusion. Thanks for the info!

    Jeff Sherman wrote on July 28th, 2009
  14. As in a previous post I advocate buying red palm oil from West Africa, where it originated, and where it supports the economic development of native peoples. This is the red palm oil one should buy and not processed oils at all.

    Some microwave popcorns do come with palm oil…just read the packages.

    Gordon wrote on July 28th, 2009
  15. Being naturally saturated, palm oil gets a bad rap. Manufacturers make use of it in “natural” peanut butter to keep it from separating.

    Greg at Live Fit wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Yes. Thats true. being naturally saturated with a balanced portion of 50-50, its very stable at high temperature and through processing and thus Trans Fat Free which is a major health concern highlighted by FDA with reference to the processing and hydrogenation of other types of vegetable oil.

      Abhimanyu wrote on March 9th, 2015
  16. This is a new source. This what they say. “Red palm oil is free of cholesterol and trans-fatty acids. Rich source of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, vitamin E tocotrienols, lycopene, which act as a super-antioxidant.These carotenoids are responsible for the striking red colour of the oil.”
    site is at:

    Robert Batson wrote on July 28th, 2009
  17. I bought some red palm oil a while ago in the supermarket, but it is actually a blend of palm oil and canola oil. I’m not sure if I should use it now as I don’t hear anything good about canola.

    Indiscreet wrote on July 29th, 2009
  18. I’d kill an Orangutan in exchange for some red palm oil. Does anyone know where I can find an Orangutan in Toronto, Canada apart from the zoo? I would really like to try some red palm oil!

    Conrad wrote on July 29th, 2009
    • you can substitute seal blubber and its quite cheap in the Northern territories.

      Gordon wrote on August 2nd, 2009
  19. Original, orgainic “Paradise Oil” is my absolute favorite! The company, Jungle Products, makes about six different oils, and 3 of them are unique blends like Vanilla or African Spice… the original is a blend of macadamia, coconut, and red palm oils. It is expensive, so I don’t cook with it like I do my organic bacon fat and coconut oils, but instead use it for making salad dressing because it is liquid at room temperature.
    Unique fat makeup(grabbed a bottle from my kitchen and looked at the back):
    -14 g total (in 1 tbs)
    -7 g Saturated
    -8 g monounsaturated
    -O g polyunsaturated?

    Kaite wrote on July 29th, 2009
  20. I use red palm oil all the time. Along with pastured butter, it’s one of the most nutrient-dense fats. It does have a strong savory flavor, so I think of it as a combination of a fat and a flavoring. It goes really well in some dishes.

    Stephan wrote on July 29th, 2009
  21. I’m the lucky guy here, my wife’s from Gabon and prepares some dishes with the red palm oil (poulet nyembue or kassava leaves nyembue). At first I found the taste strange, but the more I it goes, the better it gets. The first time I tasted it, it was in Gabon and it was elefant trunc that was prepared with it. That was not so good, as the elefant trunc is quite special.
    My wife also brought unrefined palm kernel oil, which is not consumed as food but as a natural wound treatement (it has imho antiseptic and antiparasitic properties).

    gallier2 wrote on July 30th, 2009
  22. As 90% of all palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia it is extremely likley that any palm oil bought is directly linked to rainforest destruction and the death and cruetly of orangutans and numerous other species of animal.

    This website has more information and (warning) some graphic images.

    As consumers we must ask the companies if they know where their palm oil comes from and what they can do to ensure their supply is sustainable.

    Orangutans share 97% of our DNA and they have an estimated 10 years left in the wild.

    Asha wrote on August 2nd, 2009
    • I will do without palm oil. Knowing that the destruction of the rainforests, the major source of the earth’s oxygen and the death of many animal species is necessary for our pleasure and lifestyle, I will change my ways. I will do without palm oil. I will probably live longer and be healthier having made that choice. Will others join me and find a way?

      roxanne wrote on March 11th, 2013
      • The industry such as in Malaysia have created their fund for conservation efforts for wildlife including orangutan, the wild cattle / Bornean Banteng, Bornean Elephant, Malayan Sun bear among others is never highlighted and not looked upon to.
        Its not a perfect Industry, many policies are being made to produce palm oil sustainably. Palm oil is the driver of the Nations development especially for malaysia and Indonesia. Sustainable palm oil making its way and Palm oil is the world first sustainable vegetable oil,, compared to Rapeseed, Canola Oil and Soy which are comparatively lower in productivity and uses way much larger areas for production of oil and fats and creates extensive destruction and uses way much fertilizers with the mass agricultural farms and practices.
        Malaysia especially has their policy on conservation of wildlife through education to the managers ans staffs in oil palm plantations and any human-wildlife are reported to the Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit established with the collaboration of the Sabah Wildlife Department and MPOC .
        Malaysia still upkeeps its promise made during the world summit and still keeps a minimum of 50% fo its land mass under forest cover and Its doing way much better than the rest of the world, sad to say, compared to the developed world of US, EU and also Australia.
        Australians has many movements on anti plam oil campaigns but has forgotten that they have the highest mammal extinction in the world for the century. and this was not caused by palm oil.
        At times, it even looks like its a market competition between the soft oil producer where all the smearing and bad-mouthing is done by the rivals, in this sense for the palm oil industry the rival is significantly soy, rapeseed, canola, maize and sunflower. nevertheless, The fact is that #Palmoil is here to stay for the global community’s food security.

        Abhimanyu wrote on March 9th, 2015
  23. I know Grok probably did not read but most of us CAN..and can pick up a jar and determone country of origin and know whether it came from Brazil, Africa, or somewhere else. Besides which the plantation oils are preocessed for cheao usage and not the kind we want.

    Gordon wrote on August 2nd, 2009
  24. I only buy red palm oil that originates from West Africa. I have found only one such company that offers certified organic red palm oil from sustainable agriculture. From what I understand it is Fair Trade certified as well. No Orangutan problems in West Africa nor destruction of the rainforest. The organic certification is under Ecocert which is the European standard that is more stringent than the USDA standard.

    Some websites offer red palm oil from South America or African palm oil that has been traditionally produced but from what I have experienced and been educated on they are sub par tasting oils. You will either get a bland tasting oil that smells funny or a badly produced and dirty red palm oil. So far the best red palm oil is from

    Their oil is phenomenal. Very tasty! I use it in various recipes as a substitute for oil but I have always consumed it as a health supplement. One tablespoon a day is all you need. It gives you a natural boost of energy. I have also been cold/flu free for more than 3 years. Research states that it has the highest content of vitamin A in natures, vitamin E, and super antioxidants. I have asked my local Whole Foods to contact them as well.

    Larry David wrote on September 14th, 2009
  25. I know I’m a little late with my comment, but I’m wondering why they use palm oil a lot in fast food chains if its that expensive.

    Do they use an other kind than the healthy one recommended here?

    (BTW, my info about fast food chains using palm oil comes from a documentary on palm oil available on Youtube).

    Sebastien wrote on December 14th, 2009
    • Palm oil is one of the cheapest oil in the market but the price difference may be due to the fact that theres 2 types of palm oil. Palm Oelin which is generally yellowish and the Palm Kernel Oil which is the Red Oil. both go through different processing method in the preparation. the price could be higher if the oil is blended with other types of soft oil to maintain stability or to withstand cold temperature.

      Abhimanyu wrote on March 9th, 2015
  26. Sebastien,

    the cheap stuff is not palm oil but palm kernel oil. Even if it is a bit more expensive than shortening (hydrogenated oil) it has it advantages, it’s more stable so it can be used longer, less oil changes, less labour cost. But I suppose it depends more on the company than anything else, AFAIK in Europe McDonalds uses rapeseed oil (canola). In Belgium the real “friteries” use beef tallow. So it depends.

    gallier2 wrote on December 16th, 2009
  27. Been using palm oil for a while… and it sure can get pricey. But worth every penny IMO.

    FitJerks Fitness Blog wrote on January 4th, 2010
  28. anyone know what modified palm oil is, as listed on the nutella bottle? it says on the nutella website that it’s not hydrogenated, but other than that i can’t figure it out.

    nick wrote on February 23rd, 2010
  29. How does the palm oil help hair grow? Do you eat it, if so how much? Do you rub it on your head and scalp?
    What else can I eat or take to help my hair grow?

    nannette wrote on May 16th, 2010
    • You can take biotin to make your hair grow.(Hair stylist for 10yr)

      aurora wrote on August 24th, 2010
  30. My hair needs help. How do you use the red palm oil to help hair grow? If you take it, how much do you take per day? Do you rub it on your hair and scalp?
    Any supplements you take that help?

    Nannette wrote on May 16th, 2010
    • You should try Tropical Traditions coconut hair oil. Really good for hair and scalp.

      Gem wrote on July 25th, 2012
  31. Mark – PLEASE stop promoting the use of palm oil – this has been commented on several times by people who are clearly more educated than myself…i’m quite upset that you are still running with this as an acceptable product!!

    please put out a “daily apple” condeming the use of this product that is single handedly making a beautiful species extinct.

    you wield a huge power over your readers – people TRUST you and believe in you – use your power for the good of the environment and let all your readers know that palm oil should be;



    Sarah wrote on August 24th, 2010
  32. Good lord, why don’t you guys just read the entire post and click the link he provided to Tropical Traditions before you attack Mark for contributing to monkey genocide. Their page clearly states:

    “Tropical Traditions Virgin Palm Oil comes from West Africa, NOT South East Asia. Our Virgin Palm Oil is produced by small-scale family producers in Africa that are certified organic. When you purchase Tropical Traditions Virgin Palm Oil, you are supporting small scale family producers in Africa, and NOT large corporate plantations in South East Asia.”

    There you have it. A source for this fine oil from a company with a spotless reputation for honesty, integrity, quality, and environmental stewardship.

    Calm down, buy the oil, and put the real monkey killers out of business.

    Rob wrote on December 30th, 2010
    • Its not about putting the Big conglomerates out of business but more of sustainable sourcing and production to feed the local employees and small holder farmers, elevating the developing nation and thus feeding the whole planet. Lets not make up your mind just by the information you’re feed in. You have heard from the other party. The Malaysians and Indonesians should be given a chance to develop and elevate from poverty and still keep the treasured forests.

      Abhimanyu wrote on March 9th, 2015
  33. What do you all think about Spectrum’s Shortening made with palm oil

    Crimson wrote on January 28th, 2011
    • Spectrum Naturals Shortening – yes – I was wondering that as well. Anyone on a low budget has to read posts like this with an eye to finding the cheapest solution to take advantage of the MDA recommendation. Most of the time it’s ridiculous, as virgin oils of any kind, coconut or whatever are not cheap. I currently use Louanna refined coconut oil as my cooking staple. Not ideal – but that’s the ONLY relatively cheap coconut oil anywhere. So what about the Spectrum Naturals Shortening? Any ideas?

      Mart wrote on March 5th, 2011
      • Mart wrote on March 5th, 2011
      • I have Spectrum Shortening, too, so I’m curious.
        As for cheap unrefined coconut oil, if any stores in your area sell “Tree of Life” brand, I’ve found that for $5.99 at my local healthfood store. Also, Amazon sells Nutiva for around $11/2 jars.

        Leah wrote on March 6th, 2011
        • Nutrition label on the Spectrum Shortening says: 6g SFA, 2g PUFA and 5g MUFA, so I presume the outlook isn’t good…?
          Meanwhile the Louanna coconut oil says 12g SFA, 0g PUFA and 1g MUFA.

          Mart wrote on March 6th, 2011
  34. Didn’t realise how fortunate I was to live in South London as all the African shops sell palm oil and its the orange stuff too. As well as that I have sourced coconut oil, almond oil, coconut, cassava, yam, and almond flours as well as a load of other flours which are gluten free and that I have never heard of (melon seed flour for instance!!). Lots of West African people are living in South London and their cuisine is well worth checking out I think.

    Polecatz wrote on May 15th, 2011
  35. Hi all,

    I’ve just bought and tried unrefined red palm oil from Ghana (according to label).

    Peculiar smell (saffron-y, I’d say), semisolid at room temperature, gives red colour to food, very stable while cooking and very tasty.

    I paid 2 pounds for 500 ml. That is all but expensive, in my opinion.

    In fact, I think it’s so cheap it’s almost too good to be truly something great (my reference point is always extra-virgin olive oil). Don’t you think so?

    Eddy wrote on June 29th, 2011
  36. hmm it think the issue of over using habitat is important. but plam oil is one product where i notice a real difference in how i feel. so im not going to stop using it. however in the above it is interesting to note that a lot of hte misuse may come from fast food outlets. i make all my own food at home. i will look into buying the African one. thanks.

    maryke wrote on July 1st, 2011

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