Palm Oil In The Food Supply: What You Should Know

Palm Oil In The Food Supply: What You Should Know


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Heather Rousseau/NPR

Heather Rousseau/NPR

Remember the battle over trans fats ? Yeah, the fats that did our hearts no favors. As we ‘ve reported, the push to get these cholesterol-raising fats out of the food supply has been pretty successful. And now most box snacks are labeled as having zero grams of trans fat. So what are food manufacturers using alternatively ? One alternative is decoration petroleum. But it ‘s not an ideal successor. There are environmental concerns about how decoration vegetable oil is produced. And what ‘s more, from a health perspective, handle petroleum is high in saturate fat. In one study, people who were put on a diet rich in palm oil for about five weeks saw their LDL cholesterol ( that ‘s considered the bad cholesterol ) arise. This is very similar to what happens on a diet eminent in partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats. So what ‘s the better alternative ?

“ optimally, the substitution [ for partially hydrogenated oils ] would n’t be palm oil. “ It would be a vegetable oil ” such as canola oil or soy petroleum, says Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition at Tufts University. These oils contain more unsaturated fatness .

so how much palm oil is in our food supply ? According to USDA data, U.S. imports of palm petroleum more than doubled between 2005 and 2012. last class we imported about 2.7 billion pounds. As my colleague Richard Harris estimates, this is about 380 million gallons, which is is enough to fill more than 500 Olympic swim pools and, he points out, is more oil than BP spilled in the Gulf during the Deepwater Horizon calamity. much of the decoration vegetable oil ends up in nosh foods such as cookies, crackers and microwave popcorn. And a numeral of manufacturers are using a mix of oils in many of their products. For exemplify, it ‘s typical now for crackers to contain a little handle oil equally well as soy, canola oil or cottonseed oil. It ‘s impossible to know precisely how much palm anoint is in a food just by reading the pronounce. But here ‘s one rule of ovolo : The more palm anoint a packaged food contains, the higher the saturate fatness content. thus if you see palm oil listed as an ingredient but the saturated fatten is low, you can assume that it has been mixed with other, unsaturated fat oils. It ‘s important to note that handle anoint should n’t be vilified. It contains about a much saturated fatty as butter.

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And both of these fats, let ‘s expression it, are found in calorie-dense foods that we ‘re told to eat meagerly.

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