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Saturday, May 08, 2021

Palm oil: What is it and should you consume?

Palm oil is extracted from the fleshy fruit of oil palm and due to its reddish-orange hue, unrefined palm oil is also known as red palm oil

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 17, 2021 7:12:40 pm
palm oilShould you have? (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Owing to the fact that it is one of the least expensive vegetable oils available, palm oil’s popularity has soared in recent years. But do you know how palm oil is extracted and is used in our day-to-day life?

“Most snack brands use palm oil, which can be a major cause of lifestyle disorders like fatty liver and serious ailments like cancer,” said Vipul Gambhir, Business Head of Yummiano.

He added that palm oil is majorly used in cooking as well as in many ready-to-eat foods sold in grocery stores. In certain parts of the world, it is also used in animal feed and as a biofuel.

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is extracted from the fleshy fruit of oil palm, and because of its reddish-orange hue, unrefined palm oil is also known as red palm oil. Palm oil, like coconut oil, is semi-solid at room temperature. However, its melting point is 95°F (35°C), which is significantly higher than the melting point of coconut oil, which is 76°F (24°C). This is attributed to the two oils’ distinct fatty acid compositions.

Is palm oil good for you?

Palm oil has gained a poor reputation in recent decades due to its incredibly high saturated fat content. Accusations of a link between saturated fats, blood cholesterol, obesity, and cardiovascular disease abound in the scientific literature. “Palm oil comprises 50 per cent saturated fatty acids (SFAs), 40 per cent monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), and 10 per cent polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (PUFAs),” he told indianexpress.com.

Below, she shared three critical reasons as to why one should look for an alternative oil:

Palm oil increases cholesterol levels: Although some researchers claim that palm oil lowers cholesterol levels, others claim that it raises “bad” cholesterol levels. A recent research compared palm oil to other oils, such as olive oil, refined oil, coconut oil, and found that palm oil performed worse. According to one study, palm oil raises cholesterol in healthy people. While palm oil is probably healthier than butter, you should avoid it.

Increases risks of atherosclerosis: Tocotrienol levels in fresh and aged palm oil are slightly different. As a result, reheated palm oil has far fewer advantages than fresh palm oil. Reheated palm oil may not only lose the benefits of fresh palm oil, but it may also increase your risk of heart disease such as atherosclerosis.

Increases risks of heart diseases: Palm oil has a comparatively high saturated fat content as compared to other liquid oils. Palm oil contains about 34 per cent saturated fat, while olive oil contains less than half of it. Saturated fats have been attributed to an elevated risk of heart disease and other serious health problems.

Could increase your appetite: Few saturated fats tend to be more likely than others to induce artery cholesterol accumulation. Palmitic acid, the primary fat in palm kernel oil, is one of these fats. Furthermore, studies have shown that palmitic acid causes mice to become immune to the appetite-suppressing hormones leptin and insulin, which may lead to them eating more.

Palm oil can result in global warming: Palm oil production is regarded as an environmental threat because it contributes significantly to global warming and improvements in general climatic conditions. This occurs as the ground outside is being cleared by fire and the species in the area are being evacuated. The smoke from these agricultural fires lingers in the air for weeks, if not months. Thus, further can become a major reason for respiratory issues in humans.

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