This section of my website used to be dedicated to triathlon training, personal race results and certification reviews, like Turbo Kick. I am expanding it to include more generic health & fitness topics. Also, I talk a lot about "D" -- he's my husband (Dave Liu)!

Friday, March 21, 2003

Fractionated oil = trans fat?

My friend Crystal looks fabulous. She was the one who educated me on the evils of trans fat (also known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. I'm trying to avoid the stuff, but it's an uphill battle since it's in most processed foods I (used to) eat. I'm currently in the habit of reading product labels before I buy. Lately, however, I encountered a conundrum regarding LUNA®, the whole nutrition bar for women (TM) (brought to you by the same folks that created CLIF Bar®). The first time I tried one was during my YMCA Martial Arts certification last year (they were free). It tasted pretty good so I was quite excited when I saw them for sale at Costco a couple of weeks ago. As usual, I investigated the label, which didn't say anything about trans fat or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, but indicated the presence of "fractionated palm kernel oil". Hmm. Sounded suspiciously like a euphemism for trans fat, but I took a leap of faith and bought it anyway. Since then, I've been chowing down on those things like they're going out of style.

I finally got around to investigating what exactly fractionated oil is today, and to my horror, I found an article on suggesting that foods with fractionated oil indicate the presence of trans fat! I immediately went to the LUNA® FAQ which contradicted the aforementioned article: they claim that LUNA® DOES NOT contain any trans fat. They also explain what fractionated palm kernel oil is. I've sent them an email for clarification so I'll let you know when I hear back.

Note: I'm giving LUNA® the benefit of the doubt on this one, since the credibility of took a dive when I found a section on their website regarding "removing inches from your body, losing a double chin and tightening your skin" using body wraps.


Irene said...

Ms Wu,

I am interested in your further research of fractionared palm kernel oil that you were discussing with Luna. I enjoy South Beach high protein cereal bars which also contain fractionated palm kernel oil. How does it compare to trans fats?

Unknown said...

Irene: Thanks for your question on fractionated palm kernel oil. I didn't follow up with Luna on this particular question because I noticed that they have since changed their ingredients!

For instance, I recently ate a "Nutz Over Chocolate" Luna bar, and I noticed that they list "Organic Palm Kernel Oil" as an ingredient, *not* the fractionated variety.

I encourage you to follow up directly with South Beach on this matter and see what they have to say.