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Label Able: Palm Stearin

At the grocery store to pick up some soy nut butter for a batch of Soy Nut Butter Muddy Buddies I was planning on making, I saw a new kind made by Simple Food. Checking out the label I noticed an ingredient I've never heard of — organic palm stearin.

If you're curious to know whether it's healthy or not

.

When palm oil is extracted from the fruit of the palm tree and then refined, it can be further refined into two forms — palm olein (liquid) and palm stearin (solid). This ingredient has a neutral taste, and contains a balance of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fatty acids. Palm stearin also contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid our bodies don't produce, and tocopherols, which are natural antioxidants. This fat is cholesterol free, and may even lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Palm stearin shouldn't be confused with palm kernel oil, which is made from the seeds of the palm fruit and is high in saturated (unhealthy) fats.

Since palm stearin is solid at room temperature, it's often used instead of butter in breads and cakes, and can be found in nonhydrogenated margarine. It's also used to prevent nut butters from separating, as in this soy nut butter. Well that's a relief. Now I can enjoy my Muddy Buddies even more!

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