Health & Nutrition
October 20, 2020
• Updated on
16 Jun

Is Palm Oil Good For Your Health? Here’s The Truth.

Palm oil is a controversial cooking fat. Apart from the environmental damage it causes, there is also a lot of debate around “is palm oil good for health,” and how healthy it actually is. So, why is palm oil bad? And why is there so much bad press around it? That’s what we are discussing here. 

Is Palm Oil Good For You?

There are so many questions related to palm oil: should I avoid palm oil? Is palm oil bad? Why is palm oil bad for health? Should you cook with it? 

What Is Palm Oil?

You need to know what palm oil is, first. Palm oil is an edible oil that is extracted from the fruit of oil palms, the Elaeis guineensis, which, however, is a species native to Southwest Africa. This is considered the primary source of palm oil. They also produce the palm fruit from which palm oil is extracted. The colour of its pulp is red. That's why crude palm oil is naturally similar to the pulp colour, because of high inactive vitamin A content. 

why is palm oil bad
Palm Kernel

It is different from kernel oil or coconut oil and is commonly combined or mixed with coconut oil to make a highly saturated vegetable fat, which is also used for cooking purposes. It is one of the cheapest trans fat free oils to be produced, which is why a lot of the FMCG companies use it in various forms. The manufacturer demand for palm oil is so high that is present in one of every two packaged products in your local supermarket! If you’re asking yourself - is palm oil good for health - know that any compound found in excess in packaged foods cannot be healthy. 

The Nutrition Factor: Is Palm Oil Good For Health?

When it comes to cooking oils, palm oil is typically considered the most controversial - for both health and environmental reasons.

To be fair, palm oil does have its share of positives, which is why you will get conflicting answers when you run a search for “is palm oil good for health.” Some studies have shown that palm oil [can help reduce] the risk factors for heart disease and aid in brain functioning. It has a high presence of tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E that act as antioxidants. Some research shows that tocotrienols are able to slow the progression of dementia and lower stroke risk. Palm oil is also devoid of trans fats.

Palm Oil

However, just because palm oil is trans-fat-free, doesn't mean it is a healthy oil. It is loaded with saturated fats and because palm oil is always mixed with another oil before production for consumers, there is double saturated fat present in the final product. And since manufacturers want to reduce the cost further, they mix palm oil with refined and overly processed oils which strip off all the nutrients from the final product - leaving you with a dangerously unhealthy oil, which when consumed regularly causes a lot of complications in your body.

Saturated Fat Content

Most nutritionists and other health experts agree that saturated fats raise levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol in the blood. Excessive LDL accumulates in the artery walls and can trigger inflammation, eventually leading to a heart attack or stroke. Regular consumption has also shown a steep rise in inflammation in the plasma and adipose tissue and a complete change in the gut microbiota. This high amount of saturated fat is another reason why palm oil gets a negative rap when you Google “is palm oil good for health.” 

We hope the information here covers the query of whether palm oil is good or bad for health.

You can read our blog for more health and nutrition info - or follow us on Instagram @lovneetb

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Is palm oil cholesterol-free?

You might be wondering - is palm oil good for health because it is free from cholesterol. While it is cholesterol-free, it isn’t the healthiest option. 

What are the most common foods with palm oil?

Pizza, instant noodles, ice cream, chocolate and margarine are some common foods with palm oil. 

Is palm oil good for the heart?

Is palm oil good for health or the heart? Since it is high in saturated fats, no. 

Is palm oil sustainable?

Palm oil is not sustainable. Large tracts of forest land are cleared to specifically cater to palm oil farming, creating an imbalance in the ecosystem,

Lovneet Batra
Lovneet Batra is a clinical nutritionist with over a decade of experience treating patients and educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet. One of Delhi’s most sought-after nutritionists...
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