In recent years palm oil has gained both good and bad popularity due to a number of facts. But what is true and what is fake? Let’s see!
What palm oil is used for?
Palm oil is made from the fruits of oil palm. And the oil obtained from the seeds of this palm tree is called palm kernel oil. Its use totals more than 400 thousand years. Researchers record the first traces of the use of palm oil during excavations of Egyptian burials, where they found pots with palm oil. The use of it is quite traditional and, like all types of fats, it is used both in the production of food products and in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics.
Everyone saw soap made from olive oil, and therefore the conversation is wrong that if any type of oil is suitable for the manufacture of perfumes, then it is not suitable for food. We must proceed from the fact that olive oil is not edible. This is the usual use of fats. The same glycerin, which is made from fats, is used in the production of gunpowder and dynamite, but no one says that this is not entirely correct.
This oil and its fractions are included in the international Standard-210, or the “List of Named Edible Fats,” which sets all safety and quality standards. There are other requirements for its transportation, processing. It can only be called a non-food product when standards are violated, the product does not meet the safety indicator, for example, it has been cleaned incorrectly, has some deviations from quality standards in terms of organoleptic, and the content of toxic elements. It is, in this case, that it should not be used as food, but only for the production of perfumes. All this can be attributed to any other food products and other types of oils – both vegetable and animal.
Why has such attention been drawn to this product?
First of all, there is a certain competition in the market. Secondly, this is a really cheap product. It is very profitable in production. Almost four times as much raw material is obtained from one hectare of oil palm than from one hectare of sunflower, soy, or corn. In addition, production is year-round. That is, you do not need to create any elevators for storage, the crop matures monthly, and it is harvested monthly. This, of course, is more convenient from an economic point of view than seasonal processing and storage. Therefore, this product is cheaper.
Why is palm oil bad?
It is a rare case of vegetable fat with a semi-solid consistency, which allows it to be used in the manufacture of food products that require solid fats, such as margarine. It lacks cholesterol, and there is the so-called phytosterol, which is competitive with cholesterol. Lowering cholesterol is good. Palm oil contains saturated fats, about 50 percent. The second half is oleic acid, which is found in olive oil; it is not a saturated acid with a positive effect on the human body. Well, a certain amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids. That is, this oil is less saturated than animal fats, including butter.
Yes, indeed, it is saturated. There are recommendations of the World Health Organization, we emphasize – recommendations, and they relate to building your diet. They say that you need to remove highly saturated fat products, such as animal fats, vegetable oils – such as coconut oil, palm and palm kernel oils, margarine, butter, various creams from consumption, or minimize their consumption. And increase your intake of unsaturated fats. However, a number of products cannot be produced without solid and saturated fats – the same confectionery and bakery products.
There are new technologies for the production of margarine from domestic plant materials, but they require additional costs.
Is palm oil used in the production of baby food?
This is a traditional technology. It is used as a substitute for natural milk fat, but not directly, but as one of the components. This is a complex composition of fats that mimics the composition of fats in breast milk. It contains about 24 percent polymethic acid, and in order to find a natural source, palm oil is usually used as an ingredient to create this fat composition. And without this, it is impossible to create a composition that would be close to the composition of female breast milk. That is, in any case, palm oil products will be present in baby food. That is, even if the package says that there is no palm oil, this is just an advertising ploy. In any case, there is polymethic acid, and palm oil is used in its production.
It is not digested, because it melts at temperatures above the human body. Is it right?
Any product that is not quite traditional for Europe raises concerns. We can say as much as we like that palm oil accumulates, is not digested, is not absorbed and does not melt. But we have never seen that the myths that exist on the Internet have at least some scientific evidence. Specific scientific research suggests that it is digested, like all vegetable fats, that have the same absorption rate as all vegetable fats – from 92 to 95 percent.
After digestion in the human body begin to form their own lipids or lipoproteins, which are necessary for a person to exist. Therefore, all this talk that palm oil cannot be absorbed in any way, but somehow gets into the blood, these are two mutually exclusive processes. Well, the last.
If someone says that it is not digested and exclusively accumulates, for the reason that it has a melting point higher than the human body, then this is again a lie, because if you look at the international standard for refined and deodorized palm oil, then the melting temperature is about 38 degrees Celsius, and it begins to melt at a temperature of 36 degrees Celsius. Due to the fact that fats are not mono-substances, it contains many molecules with different physical characteristics. It has the so-called extended melting point.
Here we can give an example that fat does not melt too. Similarly, potatoes do not melt, bread does not melt, cabbage, vegetables, and fruits do not melt. They are digested. We chew them, and then due to enzymes in the stomach, due to further digestion in the intestine, substances are absorbed. So this myth, of course, is interesting, but it does not have any underlying motive.
Where does palm oil come from?
The myth that it is produced from the trunk. In fact, you need to see how the monthly harvest of oil palm fruits occurs. This is such a giant raspberry, where they collect fruits that look like an orange plum, which has an absolutely red core. From the outside of this plum, palm kernel oil is obtained – palm kernel oil. This is a common oil plant, traditionally grown in Guinea.
By the way, the European Union is one of the largest buyers of palm oil in the world.
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