Palm Oil. Why Is this Dangerous?
The oil, around which there are so many rumors and conflicting opinions, is made from the fleshy fruits of the oil palms. The unrefined product is also called red because of its terracotta color.
The main source of palm oil is the Elaeis guineensis tree, which grows in West and South West Africa.
Today, almost the entire population of the Earth regularly consumes products containing palm oil. Attempts by some manufacturers and retailers to “get off the palm” show that there is virtually nothing to replace palm oil. Moreover, doctors, ecologists, representatives of the food industry urge not to do this and debunk the myths around this product.
Palm Oil Content?
Palm oil is 100% fat. At the same time, it contains 50% of saturated acids, 40% of monounsaturated acids, and 10% of polyunsaturated acids.
One tablespoon of palm oil contains :
- 114 calories;
- 14 gr fat;
- 5 gr monounsaturated fat;
- 1.5 gr polyunsaturated fat;
- 11% of the daily value for vitamin E.
The main fats of palm oil are palmitic acid, in addition to it, it also contains oleic, linoleic and stearic acids. The reddish yellow pigment comes from carotenoids – antioxidants like beta-carotene. The body converts it into vitamin A.
What’s so dangerous?
Palm oil products hit the mainstream consumer table in the 1970s. Although humanity realized the need for solid fat much earlier. In the middle of the 19th century, French chemists discovered the hydrogenation process, which turns any liquid oil into a solid or semi-solid fat. As a result of this discovery, the world received a rich assortment of food products that we cannot refuse now: baked goods, confectionery, dairy products, etc.
However, by the 1990s, scientists had discovered that hydrogenation leads to the formation of trans fatty acids, which are seriously harmful to health. With their use, scientists have associated an increase in the risks of coronary heart disease and other diseases. The search began for a healthier alternative. Unilever was a pioneer and quickly tackled the problem. The task was not easy – to find a replacement for trans fats without losing technological characteristics and without negative consequences for human health.
One of numerous studies has shown that reheating hardened palm oil makes it dangerous. Continuous use of such a product leads to the formation of deposits in the arteries due to a decrease in the antioxidant properties of vegetable fat. At the same time, adding fresh oil to food did not lead to such consequences.
The oil, which is obtained from the fruit of the palm tree, was ideally suited to the requirements. By 1995, the company had succeeded in replacing all trans fats with the healthier palm oil. This discovery of Unilever turned the consumer industry upside down. Practically all food manufacturers have adopted the company’s experience. In 2003, the World Health Organization officially declared war on trans fats.
According to the USDA, in Indonesia one person consumes 21.1 kg of palm oil per year, in Egypt – 10.6 kg, in Singapore – 8.8 kg, in Turkey – 6.6 kg, in the EU countries – 5.7 kg , in Russia – 5.4 kg. At the same time, according to WHO statistics, life expectancy in Singapore is 82 years, in Turkey – 76 years, and in Russia it barely reaches 71 years.
It is the best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fat. Nutritionists urge to add olive, rapeseed, corn and common sunflower oil to food. Moreover, they are suitable for adding to ready-made dishes, and you should not fry on them.
It is important to consider the burning temperature of the oil. Many types of food are suitable for frying and baking as they do not smoke or impair the taste of the food. For cooking, peanut, coconut and sesame oils should be preferred.
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