Pesach food is a little slow getting onto the grocery store shelves here. But every day there's something new.
Today I found cooking oils. Fortunately, there was a lot of olive oil – the healthiest choice. They also had canola oil, which some people consider kitniyot. Kosher l'Pesach avocado oil (delicious, healthy and expensive) is also available this year.
Then I saw something else – palm oil.
Years ago, highly saturated palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil were used extensively in commercial baking. When health professionals and the public finally influenced a change, industry switched to hydrogenated oils, which turned out to be full of unhealthy trans fat.
Now that trans fat is out, manufacturers are back to using palm and coconut oil. It's true – they have 0% trans fat. But they are highly saturated and can raise blood cholesterol levels.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute warns that the "high content of saturated fat... in... palm kernel oil, palm oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter" puts people at risk for heart attack or stroke. The World Health Organization states that there is "convincing evidence" that palmitic acid (found in palm oil) increases the risk of heart disease.
That's reason enough to skip palm oil this Pesach and choose heart-healthy olive, walnut or canola oil instead.