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Scientists find alternative to palm oil

Palm oil is used in many things we eat and use every day. It is in food, in beauty products, and in biofuel. However, producing palm oil leads to environmental damage because of deforestation. A team of researchers in Scotland believe they have found an alternative to palm oil. Scientists from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh have created a wholly plant-based oil that is better for the environment and for our health. The university's new PALM-ALT product is 70 per cent better for the environment. This is because it is more sustainable and leads to less biodiversity loss. It is also healthier than palm oil, with 80 per cent less saturated fat and 30 per cent fewer calories.

The researchers believe their work could change how things are made. Around half of all the food and cosmetics we currently buy contain palm oil. The use of palm oil is growing, so more trees have to be cut down in tropical countries. PALM-ALT is made from a by-product from the linseed flower and rapeseed oil. Researcher Catriona Liddle spoke to the BBC about PALM-ALT. She called it the "holy grail" to replace palm oil. She found it does the same things palm oil does. She said: "We've put it through some special sensory testing to see if a panel can tell the difference between our product and traditional palm [oil], and they can't." She is now hoping businesses will start using it instead of regular palm oil.

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