Palm oil is harmful for the health?
Palm oil (palm fat) is so commonplace as plastic: It is used in detergents, cosmetic products, chocolate and ready meals. However, palm oil is considered to be unhealthy – at the time of its processing, even carcinogenic substances can occur. And also in terms of ethical and ecological points of view, the Oil is in the criticism, because for its cultivation are mainly cleared of trees in Southeast Asian rain forests, with serious consequences for people, animals and the environment. Here you will learn what the impact palm oil has on health, in what products it is used and what are the Alternatives to the purchase of palm oil products.
What is palm oil?
Palm oil or palm oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the pulp of the oil Palm. The from the kernels of the fruit produced Oil is called palm kernel oil.
Due to its high content of carotene, the Oil, as well as the fruits, first of all, an orange-red coloration, which, however, removed in the Refining process. By this processing, the taste: While crude palm oil is aromatic and slightly sweet tastes, and changes the refined palm oil is almost tasteless.
The Oil is in the industry, highly sought after, because its cultivation is very profitable and cheap. In addition, heat-resistant, it is stable, durable and similar to coconut oil, at room temperature, creamy coating. Therefore, it can be used in place of hydrogenated fats used and is particularly in finished food products or spreads is a common additive. Due to these properties, palm oil is the most cultivated vegetable in the world.
Palm oil – a health hazard?
Palm oil may not be as healthy. In recent years, many physicians and consumers have warned the guards against the Oil, which is now included in about half of the finished food.
A point of criticism is the high proportion of saturated fatty acids. This may have the effect of excessive consumption, negative impact on the blood lipids, especially LDL-cholesterol. This, in turn, could affect the estimation of the physician, the effect of Insulin in the body and thus increase the risk of developing Diabetes.
Damage to the vessel walls can be caused by an Excess of saturated fatty acids. A possible consequence of vascular calcification, which promotes serious diseases such as a stroke or a heart attack.
Saturated fat in moderation is allowed
Saturated fatty acids are considered to be not unhealthy, but should be consumed only in moderation. According to a recommendation of the German society for nutrition such fatty acids should not exceed seven to ten percent of the total energy supply.
What is crucial is the amount you eat of a particular product is not alone, but whether the ratio between the saturated, as well as multi-and mono-unsaturated fatty acids is true.
Moreover, it is not recommended for other reasons to consume palm oil in large quantities. Because as pure fat-palm oil is definitely not a Slimming – 100 grams have about 900 kilo calories.
Cancer-causing substances in palm oil
But palm oil is from a completely different reason than harmful: In its processing of cancer-causing substances can occur. When Heated, palm oil pollutants, so-called 3 – MCPD-and Glycidol are formed fatty acid ester. These fatty acid esters in refined (purified) vegetable oils and are therefore included in many foods. You will find, for example, in Margarine, nut-Nougat-cream, or soy sauce.
Palm oil is the purified edible fats and the highest content of Glycidol fatty acid esters. In the digestion can be of these materials Glycidol cleaved, which has been classified as carcinogenic.
Also, MCPD, which can result in the digestion of 3-MCPD-fatty acid esters, is suspected to increase the risk of cancer. In animal studies, it caused a certain dose of tumors, and toxic effects for liver, kidney and testes. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid the inclusion of this substance through the diet as much as possible.
Dangerous ingredient in baby food?
Even baby food contains the controversial 3-MCPD – and Glycidol fatty acid esters. However, their emergence in the production of infant nutrition, is currently considered to be unavoidable.
Because infant formula must contain a certain fatty acid patterns of breast milk are similar. The necessary fats need to be cleaned, wherein the fatty acid esters are produced – there is no way out at the moment. Other production method is research, currently there is a lack of Alternatives.
However, there are so far no studies of the effects of these fatty acid esters to people, especially to babies. The Federal Institute for risk assessment currently, no acute health risk and recommends that parents who can’t breast-feed your child to use the mother milk substitutes as usual, since this a Baby’s life provide the necessary nutrients. In addition, the fatty acid esters are also included in mother’s milk.
Red Palm Oil
Despite all the criticism of palm oil are said to have various positive effects on health. The speech is here, but not from the industrial used Oil, but cold-pressed, unrefined palm oil, you can buy it as “red palm oil” – ideally in Bio quality.
In its native Form palm oil contains about 15 times as much carotene (Vitamin A) as carrots. In addition, it has a high content of Vitamin E (particularly tocotrienols), and coenzyme Q10, both of which are considered antioxidants to combat free radicals and thus as a cancer preventative.
Palm oil in food
About two-thirds of the production of Palm oil in processed foods, where the fat is because of its creamy consistency and its resistance to heat, very much appreciated.
Examples for products with plant fat can be:
- Ready-made meals like frozen pizza and instant soups
- Cake glaze
- Biscuits and crackers
Cosmetics containing palm oil and palm kernel oil
Even in cosmetics, the Oil is found often, because it has a moisturizing, skin smoothing, and can the cell repair damage. After all, a quarter of the world’s produced palm oil is used in cosmetics and detergents.
Typical cosmetic products containing palm oil are, for example:
- Shower gel
- Cream and Lotion
- Eyeliner, Mascara, and other cosmetics for the eyes
In addition, detergent, candles, and some drugs are manufactured with the help of the plant fat. For the production of Biodiesel and animal feed palm oil is used.
Alternatives and substitute products
Products without palm oil are sometimes not easy to. So the fat is needed for example for the manufacture of many nut-Nougat-creams, because most of the other vegetable oils are liquid at room temperature – except coconut oil, which has a strong taste of its own.
Nevertheless, it is possible in most cases to replace the fat. In the manufacture of soap and beef tallow, for example, is a possible Alternative to palm oil – of which, however, is not suitable for Vegans. But also, olive oil can replace palm oil in Soaps.
Seal of approval for sustainably produced palm oil
In addition, there are several seals, with which products are marked, the palm oil from sustainable cultivation. The most famous of which is the RSPO seal of approval, however, this is very controversial, since the underlying minimum standards are reputed to be heavily industry-influenced.
Nevertheless, there are some providers that use palm oil from environmentally responsible farming and fair trade. Information is provided by various environmental organisations.
Tips for shopping without palm oil
Who wants to buy palm oil free products often have to look carefully. Since December 2014, a labelling requirement for palm oil is, however, only for food. Often this fat appears also under other names in the list of ingredients, such as, for example:
- Sodium Palm Kernelate
- Palmitic Acid
- Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides
Meanwhile, dealers and lists of palm oil free products, as well as Apps to facilitate the shopping to be found increasingly Online.
The best Alternative, however, it is to cook with fresh ingredients. From a health point of view are rapeseed oil or linseed oil to the palm oil because these Oils have a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Deforestation of rain forests
But palm oil is not only because of possible health hazards in the criticism. Annually about 60 million tons of palm oil are produced, and the trend is rising.
To meet the growing demand and to create space for the cultivation of oil palm, grubbed up, mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia, more and more rain forest. Deforestation goes hand in hand with the destruction of habitats of endangered animal and plant species, as well as the release of greenhouse gases rooms.
Add to this Land grabbing and displacement of indigenous people, and often disastrous working conditions, and the use of pesticides on palm oil plantations.