Palm oil: myths and reality

Everyone is not averse to feel their own superiority over subscribers, and the more of them, the more unbearable the temptation. So there are amazing stories about dogs that win first at exhibitions and then at children's math olympiads, until finally they get the Nobel Prize for their revolutionary discovery in neuroscience - all thanks to a piece of excellent blue from Europe. Let us leave the truthfulness of these messages on the conscience of the authors, because they do not represent practical value.

The question is much more interesting: is palm oil really the cause of all health problems?

Remember the chemistry

Palm oil is a plant product that contains predominantly saturated fats. Raw materials from the fruits of oil palm are subjected to industrial processing. The result is a refined oil, its chemical properties close to cream and coconut. Palm oil has a higher melting point than coconut.And it is much cheaper and does not have the characteristic sweetish smell of coconut chips. In other respects, palm oil is not much different from other vegetable saturated fats.

Arguments against palm oil

If you ask any person who is far from science, whether palm oil is useful, he will surely answer “no”. At the same time, the only argument in favor of “guilt” is that there are many varieties of cheese counterfeits on the shelves of Russian supermarkets, and these are products with the addition of palm oil. And then various speculations begin, like palm oil is a carcinogen, and that it contains trans fats, and that infarctions and strokes occur from it.

Palm oil: myths and reality

Palm oil: myths and reality

In fact, palm oil is “guilty” only in the fact that products with its addition differ in an unusually cheesy taste. And yet - cheap to manufacture. It's cheese, which looks like cheese only externally, but tastes like tainted. It's an awfully cloying cookie. These are "sports nutrition" bars that contain glucose-fructose syrup, a handful of rancid nuts and starch. However, it’s not even palm oil that is to blame for the disgusting taste qualities, but the manufacturer’s desire to reduce the cost of production. The oil itself does not have a bright taste or smell.

What is called cheese is made from milk. And what is prepared from palm oil, feces and branches, cheese can not be named. However, this does not mean that palm oil in such products is a terrible poison. Much more harmful than this ingredient is allergenic dyes, a huge amount of salt, sugar and God knows what else you will never be told about on the label.

Arguments in favor of palm oil

Attempts to find out what can harm the health of palm oil, open up a lot of interesting information. For example, this product contains carotenoids, tocopherols, phospholipids, and coenzyme Q10 (most likely, this is unrefined palm oil). Translated into Russian, this means that the oil contains very useful substances that can have a beneficial effect on the resistance of the body cells to damage, maintain beauty and youth.

Also, studies show that regular consumption of palm oil does not affect the statistics of strokes and heart attacks. However, take your time to the store to buy some fake cheese and a package of sugary chocolate bars: first,All the above excellent and useful ingredients can be found in a handful of sunflower seeds, and secondly, all the benefits of the product are negated by a huge amount of sugar, salt, flavors and other "good".

Palm oil: myths and reality

Palm oil: myths and reality

The impressionable journalist was partly right, buying fat country cottage cheese and eating village eggs for breakfast. Saturated fats are rehabilitated by scientific research, and doctors are no longer recommended to completely "defat" your diet. Therefore, dairy products, and eggs, and a variety of oils, and even a little fat meat - quite suitable products for a balanced diet. However, the devil is in the details.

The benefits of balance

If you have cheese for breakfast, eggs for lunch and pork for dinner, you will have problems. Even if it is cheese from Europe, eggs from a chicken you know personally and pork, which was delivered an hour ago directly from the ecologically clean region of Abkhazia. Because “organic” products or the absence of palm oil is far from the only condition for a balanced diet, which the respected journalist “with a suitcase of cheese from Europe” forgot. A person needs fiber - vegetables and fruits.And other products: for example, cereals, legumes, fish.

Palm oil and trans fats: is there a connection?

Palm oil does not contain trans fats, which are mentioned in a negative way by the World Health Organization and the FDA (the latter even obliged American manufacturers to indicate on the packaging of products that they contain trans fats). Trans fats are generally such a thing that almost does not occur naturally in nature: they are obtained by hydrogenating various oils in industrial conditions, and are still contained in small quantities in mutton fat (while researchers always focus consumers' attention that only “artificial” trans fats are dangerous ). In other words, trans fats can be found in chips, candy, baking, burgers and other fast food. And in palm oil they are not.

Palm oil: myths and reality

Palm oil: myths and reality

In the hysterical search for falsification, wherever possible, the problem of transgens is somehow forgotten. But initially palm oil was proposed as a more healthy alternative to trans fats, regular consumption of which has proven to increase the risks of type 2 diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.But for some reason, journalists are concerned about the problem of falsification of cheeses, and the problem of the ignorance of a huge number of people that chocolate bars, crackers, chips or their favorite pie from the fast food chain daily supply a portion of “bad” fat to their bodies and bring them closer to diseases, is ignored .

Trans fatty products lengthen the shelf life of products to almost infinity. Therefore, if you see a cake on the supermarket shelf that you do not need to keep in the refrigerator, or a beer snack, which has been on the kitchen cabinet for years and preserves its edible appearance, you can be sure that there are trans fats

WHO and the FDA recommend removing them completely from the diet (for comparison, the daily rate of added sugar, according to WHO, is about 5–6 teaspoons; saturated fats are not limited at all, but with an explanation that unsaturated fats are still preferable), because they are "not part of a healthy diet," and it is assumed that there is no amount of trans fats safe for the body.

True, a lie and some marketing

The popularity of coconut oil and the universal love of supporters of a healthy lifestyle for this product look somewhat curious, given that the chemical structure of coconut oil is very close to palm.It seems to be a very telling story about marketing opportunities: coconut oil is several times more expensive than palm oil and is positioned as a unique cosmetic and dietary product, while palm oil is synonymous with poverty, lack of awareness about the health and greediness of the food industry.

In fact, unrefined coconut oil is simply tastier. And has a more pronounced flavor.

What are the conclusions?

Fat is needed by your body. These can be unrefined vegetable oil or butter, a slice of lamb, an egg, a couple of sour cream spoons or a portion of cottage cheese. Unsaturated fats (sesame, rapeseed, olive oils) are preferable to saturated (fatty meats, butter, ghee, palm and coconut oils). But trans fats, which are contained in almost any food produced in an industrial way, are dangerous to health.

In all you need a reasonable balance. No matter how optimistic the results of research on the benefits of saturated fat, you need to understand that a diet consisting only of butter, eggs and curd is not the most balanced.Therefore, you need to dilute the "rural" diet with fruits and vegetables.

Palm oil: myths and reality

Palm oil: myths and reality

Healthy food is not only in Europe. A balanced diet can be arranged by visiting a nearby supermarket. The secret is to use the minimum of processed foods and prepare yourself. Semi-finished products, “store” desserts and ready-made salads contain an abyss of sugar, salt and trans fats. A self-made vegetable salad and a piece of fish, or home-made cheesecakes, or “ice cream” made from banana and strawberries are all quite accessible, easy to prepare and healthy. Preservatives and antiseptics used to process fruit for transportation to Russia, as well as the possible presence of palm oil in cottage cheese or, for example, terribly harmful manganese in marine fish can be neglected.

We live in a country with a bad environment and a poor economy, we often have to be passive smokers, we don’t always find time for regular sports. In the light of these sad facts, trace amounts of manganese in fish do not have a significant impact on health.

Therefore, the most reasonable thing to do is pay attention to the amount of vegetables, fruits and whole grains in the diet.That is just to make a choice between an orange and an orange cake from the nearest supermarket with a shelf life of five years in favor of the first, instead of raising its level of anxiety by searching for palm oil and counterfeit products on the shelves. Or bake an orange cake yourself, adding to it as much sugar as you think is necessary.


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