From Olivatia we would like to direct this post at a recurrent topic, which is frequently discussed but not always well explained: the palm oil.
Often we do not know what we eat and even less about the health benefits of certain foods. That is why, from Olivatia we are going to explain in a simple way the 4 main points on Palm Oil that we hope will help you understand both why this product is used, and why its high and continuous consumption can compromise your health:
- Why palm oil is used so much? This oil is extracted from the mesocarp of African palm fruit (Elaeis guineensis) and has become a raw material widely used globally for the production of a large number of foods and cosmetic products. The palm oil tree is grown mainly in tropical countries where its production represents an important base for several national economies. Indonesia and Malaysia make up about 85% of production and Latin American countries have doubled their output in recent years. In fact, it is the most widely used oil in the world for human consumption, but it is not the most suitable option from the nutritional point of view.
- What products contain it? We find palm oil in many products because it helps as a preservative, resistant to rancidity, enhances food taste, causes satiety and is much cheaper than other oils like olive oil. In particular, palm oil is used especially in cakes, creams and dessert toppings and in spreads such as cacao creams and margarines because it provides a greater oiliness, in crisps and snacks because it is stable at high temperatures, and in precooked foods because of its conservative power. For more details, the Union for Concerned Scientists specifies on its website which products are made with palm oil, something it should be taken into account when preparing your shopping list.
- Why should you take care of and measure your consumption? In palm oil, saturated fatty acids make up around 49%, so that taken in high amounts, can be harmful for your health. Palmitic acid is the main saturated fatty acid because it makes up about 60% of what we consume. It is abundant in meats, dairy fats and vegetable oils such as coconut oil and palm oil. Research has shown that it increases the levels of total cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein), commonly known as “bad cholesterol”, when they substitute carbohydrates for other fats in the diet.
- How much should be consumed of this oil? According to the nutritional recommendations advised, saturated fatty acids should not represent more than 25% of our daily food. However, although we do not realize it, our consumption of this type of fat is much greater since it is present in many processed products. Therefore, special care must be taken because its consumption in high doses in the long term can cause cardiovascular diseases, cholesterol, carotenosis, raise glucose production, raise blood pressure and even produce bleeding.
The bad reputation of palm oil has made the tendency in the labeling of the products that contain it to suppress the word “palm” by the term “vegetal oil”, since our mind associates everything vegetable as positive. In contrast to those who defend its content in vitamin E, it can be said that this is lost during the refining process.
At the end of the day, most experts in nutrition advise the substitution of these types of fat to healthier ones such as extra virgin olive oil, whose health properties are beyond all doubt. In addition to a healthy diet, healthy living should be accompanied by frequent physical exercise.