Private medical group wants doctors to understand health benefits of palm oil, counter misleading claims

IN an effort to promote informed healthcare and dispel misconceptions surrounding palm oil, the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Association Malaysia (FPMPAM) has urged medical practitioners across Malaysia to educate themselves with the scientifically validated health benefits of palm oil and to proactively share this information with their patients.

FPMPAM’s comments come following reports of constant unwarranted criticisms levelled against palm oil in the public discourse.

“As medical practitioners, we are the first line of contact with patients, and we have a responsibility to provide them with the right information to make informed decisions about their health,” commented FPMPAM president Dr Steven Chow Kim Weng.

Dr Steven Chow Kim Weng

“It is crucial that we stay abreast of the latest scientific findings and ensure that our patients are not misled by unfounded claims. Unfortunately, there are many misleading claims on palm oil circulating widely.”

As such, Chow contended that it is imperative for medical professionals to stay abreast of the latest data to separate fact from fiction.

“The reality is that palm oil has been linked to several health benefits, including protecting brain function, reducing heart disease risk factors and improving vitamin A status,” he justified. “It is therefore our responsibility to be well-informed and to share this knowledge with our patients by guiding them towards informed decisions about their dietary choices.”

Despite common misconceptions about its saturated fat content, Chow noted that palm oil does provide a balanced mix of saturated and unsaturated fats.

It has been generally accepted that palm oil is a key source of Vitamin E tocotrienols and carotenoids which are crucial in combating chronic diseases and aging, bolstering the immune system and reducing risks of cancer and heart disease.

Its beta-carotene content is essential for energy, hormone balance, cellular protection, vision health and have the potential to positively influence cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks.

Comparatively, palm oil does not contain the harmful trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils, hence making it a safer and healthier choice.

“In an era of rapidly evolving nutritional science, medical practitioners must remain vigilant in updating their knowledge base. Misinformation can have serious consequences and it is our duty to empower our patients with accurate information,” asserted Chow.

“I encourage my fellow healthcare professionals to engage with reputable sources, attend continuing education programmes and actively seek out the latest research on palm oil and its health effects.”

He added: “By doing so, we can collectively contribute to dispelling myths, promoting a more accurate understanding of palm oil, and ultimately enhancing the overall well-being of our patients.” – Nov 27, 2023

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