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Palm oil is currently on everyone's lips, due to both its potential effect on both the environment and health, causing a social alarm similar to what other products have caused in the past.
Most of the products we offer to our children contain palm oil: cookies, buns, chocolate spread ... But more than the carcinogenic potential of palm oil of these, we should be concerned about their sugar content, whose effect on health is not potentially harmful but harmful per se.
Palm oil and its derivatives come from the African palm, Elaeis guineensis, a plant originally from Africa, where it has been consumed for thousands of years. Lately its cultivation has expanded to regions of South America and Southeast Asia, with Malaysia and Indonesia being one of the main producers. In the 1980s, in an attempt to eliminate saturated fats, palm oil from food was replaced by trans fats, but today these are known for sure to be extremely harmful to health.
- Palm oil is one of the cheapest and most commercialized in the world. At room temperature it is semi-solid, and is used for cooking due to its high resistance to high temperatures. ANDPalm oil has only fat, no carbohydrates or proteinAlthough it also contains a large amount of beta-carotene and vitamin E. 50% of its fat is saturated and is in the form of palmitic acid.
- Given its content in saturated fats, its consumption could be considered detrimental to cardiovascular health, since these fats contribute to increasing cholesterol levels. However, research published in prestigious scientific journals has found evidence to the contrary, which is why, in principle, consumed within a balanced and healthy diet, palm oil does not pose an extra risk to cardiovascular health.
- The EFSA (European Food Safey Authority) published in May 2016 an opinion paper that has led to the dissemination that palm oil is carcinogenic. This publication assures that the glycidol present in palm oil is a potentially genotypic and carcinogenic product, according to studies carried out in experimental animals. Glycidol is formed by refining vegetable oils at high temperatures. The refining process - a process by which undesirable colors and flavors are removed - from palm oil can, although it does not have to, reach 200C.
- With respect to formula milks containing palm oil, the most recent study (published in January 2017) carried out with about 100 different types, shows the presence of glycidol in samples that did not contain palm oil, in quantities similar to those of the samples with palm oil, probably from the refining of the oils used in its composition.
Having all this information, Any vegetable oil whose refinement reaches 200C will contain glycidol, and will therefore be as potentially carcinogenic as palm oil.
You can read more articles similar to Things you should know about palm oil, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.