USAGE TRENDS OF PALM OIL IN INDIA
Nutrient profiling of palm oil: Is it better or worse than other edible oils?
The figure below summarizes the fatty acid content of the mentioned edible oils. It could be clearly seen that the coconut oil and palm oil contain more amount of saturated fats compared to other edible oils. An oil is considered to be healthier when it has lesser amount of saturated fats.
Source- Canola Council of Canada based on Canadian Nutrient File & USFDA National Nutrient Database
HOW MUCH OF SATURATED FATS COULD BE CONSUMED DAILY?
According to WHO, the intake of saturated fats shouldn’t be more than 10 percent of the recommended energy intake i.e. about 2000 kcal/day. So, one shouldn’t be consuming more than 200 kcal derived from saturated fats i.e. 22g of saturated fats.
HEALTH CONCERNS ASSOCIATED WITH PALM OIL
The palm oil contains high amount of saturated fatty acids which contributes to a lot of health concerns. Compared to other oils, the palm oil has higher amounts of saturated fats. Consumption of saturated fat can cause cholesterol build up in the blood vessels. Saturated fats raise the level of LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol in the blood. This is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Palm oil has lesser amounts of poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) i.e. omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are associated with positive health benefits. Polyunsaturated fatty acids aids in increasing the levels of HDL cholesterol in blood which is also known as good cholesterol. This decreases the risk of occurrence of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Although, unrefined palm oil contains Vitamin E, and unrefined red palm oil is rich in carotenes, the processed and refined white palm oil which is used in most of the ultra-processed packet foods.
ENVIRONMENT CONCERNS ASSOCITED WITH PALM OIL
Palm oil trees are cultivated in the tropical regions. Deforestation in these areas for palm cultivation leads to destruction of homes to some endangered species. Burning these forests for palm cultivation pollutes the environment negatively and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
LIST OF FOOD ITEMS WITH PALM OIL
Here is a list of food items picked from the market that contains palm oil and derivatives. Also, we picked a few items which could be alternatives to these food items and enable consumers to make relatively healthier food choices.
The coffeestick pack that has palm oil in it has 25 g of total fats/ 100g and lacks labelling on saturated fats.
A ready-to-eat upma pack had palmolein oil and palm kernel oil.
A biscuit pack that contains palm oil. The corn snack has palm oil in it labelled as Palmolein oil.
It’s labelled as- Edible vegetable oil (PALM)
The diet snack that claims to be ‘lite’has refined palm oil in it labelled as Palmoleinoil. It has 12 g of saturated fats in 100g of the food item.
THERE ARE HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES IN THE MARKET.YOU JUST NEED TO FLIP THE FOOD PACK AND CHECK THE INGREDIENTS LIKE THE BELOW PACK:
The images of two food packs of snacks that claim to be healthier than other snacks.
On the ingredient list, you can find Rice Bran Oil as an ingredient.