Processed palm oil does not contain cholesterol and behaves like hydrogenated fats (the dangerous trans-fatty acids) in packaged foods since it has “thickness” at room temperature. This makes it ideal for many food manufacturers to use in place of hydrogenated oils in their snack products. Processed foods can then be advertised as being "trans fat free" and "cholesterol free”. But, when red palm oil is refined and processed, the red color disappears and its nutritional and healing benefits are destroyed. Once it becomes part of a processed snack food, it no longer features the health benefits and powerful antioxidants found only in the raw palm oil.
Red Palm Fruit Oil vs. Fish and Coconut Oils
But how does red palm fruit oil compare with fish oil you may ask? Frankly, comparing fish oil to red palm oil would be comparing apples to oranges.
The health benefits of fish oil come mainly from its high levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids known as EPA and DHA. These are incredibly important to our health. In fact, fish oils feature some of the most wide-reaching health benefits, and far and away have the most robust science to back claims related to heart, brain, and immune health and serve to manage inflammation better than any other oil. However, fish oil is extremely susceptible to high temperature, air and light – which is why you can't cook with it. Red palm fruit oil, on the other hand, is very stable.
Palm fruit oil contains less cholesterol-lowering “long-chain” omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil. What red palm oil contains, however, is a lot of “medium-chain” and “short-chain” fatty acids – both of which scientists recognize as healthy for us and necessary in moderation.
And while we're comparing, let’s look at an apple-to-apple scenario: coconut oil vs. red palm fruit oil. Even when you account for the marginally higher levels of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) levels that coconut oil has over palm, it is once again the carotenoid and tocotrienol antioxidants that give it a significant health advantage over coconut oil.