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Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil Explained

Label Able: Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil

Recently, while reading the ingredients of an energy bar, I came across the term "fractionated" and it was modifying an oil – palm kernel oil to be exact. Well, I know that palm kernel is 86 percent saturated fat, that is the bad kind of fat, and I wondered if this "fractionating" process was akin to hydrogenating. Since deciphering a nutrition label can be so tricky these days, I wanted to make sure no one was pulling the wool over my eyes or that there were no new code words to watch out for.

It turns out I was being overly paranoid, but just a bit. Fractionating oil is not the same as hydrogenating it, but it does make the oil less healthy rather than more. The process, most commonly used on palm and palm kernel oil, involves heating then cooling the oil so it separates into fractions, hence the name. The thicker fractions have a higher melting point and are more stable, making them perfect for keeping chocolate coatings from melting. Fractionated palm kernel oil contains a higher concentration of saturated fat than regular palm kernel oil, which would be the reason you want to avoid fractionated oil. It is commonly found in energy bars, especially those coated with chocolate or flavored icing.

The ranking of palm oils healthiest to least, goes like this:

  1. Palm oil
  2. Palm kernel oil
  3. Fractionated palm oil of either variety
Join The Conversation
melvirgo88 melvirgo88 5 years
I recently found this ingredient in a jar of 100% "natural" peanut butter...hmm..
cnutgrl cnutgrl 5 years
The above post is 100% true! Thank you for posting to avoid polyunsaturated fats! I am studying nutrition as well and am finding the same thing. I've even lost 30lbs by eating saturated and mono unsaturated fats, and cutting out most of my carbs! Google "Dr. Coconut" to find out the truth about healthy oils.
ekralcmot ekralcmot 8 years
That is only a "fraction" of the truth. There are many fractions available. Some are, as you said, not very heart healthy but if you remove more saturated oil then what is left must have less. This would be another fraction. One of the fractions consists of Medium Chain Triglycerides which can be very healthy. The specific ingredient you mentioned is a substitute for a similarly unhealthy highly saturated fat-butter.
richjar richjar 8 years
thank you! i kind of love this website.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
When I hear about fractioning oils, I think of the petroleum distillation process...not a very appealing comparison!
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Now I know.
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