Palm oil has become one of the most important "horror stories" in the food market for domestic consumers. Why not give consumers the opportunity to figure out for themselves what is being offered to them? Experts in fat and oil products share their thoughts, debunking popular myths about palm oil.
Palm oil is obtained from the trunk of a palm tree. This vegetable oil is actually extracted from the fruit of the oil palm, not from the trunk. They hang in the form of a bunch, being 3-4 centimeters in diameter and resembling dates in appearance. Oil is squeezed out of the pulp of such a fruit, but if it is extracted from the nucleolus, then it is called palm kernel. The main difference between palm oil and other plant analogues is its consistency, it is naturally solid. The closer to the north the oil plants grow, the more polyunsaturated fatty acids in their seeds, and the southern plants boast of saturated acids. They make the palm oil from the southern countries solid. Due to this property of the product, it is possible to form and stabilize the desired shape of finished samples based on it.
In the stomach, palm oil does not melt, but turns into a sticky mass, like plasticine. There are concerns that palm oil will clog the digestive system after being consumed. In the stomach, food does not melt, but is digested. Then, in the form of an emulsion, they enter the digestive tract, where the final assimilation takes place. If it were not for such a system, then we would quickly be sealed from the inside with solid and semi-melted products. So is palm oil - it cannot remain in the body, but is absorbed in the usual way. This does not mean that you can eat a lot of it, but in the amount in which it is used in the food industry, this substance is not harmful.
Palm oil is much less nutritious than other vegetable oils. In terms of its energy value, palm oil is not much different from other oils and fats. Its indicator is 9 kcal per gram. In palm oil, it is easy to find natural provitamin A (carotenoid), vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), coenzyme Q10, as well as vitamins B6, D and F. There is no cholesterol in it, as in other vegetable oils. And there are not many polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6. During processing, most vegetable oils are still purified and refined. But at the same time useful substances disappear along with impurities. When comparing processed sunflower and palm oil, you will find that they contain approximately the same nutrients. At the same time, there will be more of them in unrefined oils. That is why, if you want to use the most useful vegetable oil, then you should buy it unrefined and not fry it, but simply use it as a food supplement. There is such a product as red palm oil. After receiving it, it is not processed in any way, which allows you to preserve the aforementioned useful substances.
Palm oil contains dangerous trans fats. If the body is really high in trans fats, it will lead to trouble. Because of them, cholesterol levels in the blood increase and the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases. Except there are no trans fats in palm oil. A large number of them appear when, during production, liquid vegetable oil needs to be solidified. For example, you need it to make margarine. This process is called hydrogenation. As a result, a product is formed that can be stored well at room temperature. But palm oil is initially solid in nature, which is why it does not undergo hydrogenation. And in it trans fats have nowhere to come from.
Palm oil is chosen by manufacturers because of its cheapness. This product is really cheap, domestic sunflower oils are more expensive. The fact is that on plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, where the raw materials come from, productivity is high. But the use of oil is predetermined not only by its cheapness, by no means economy - the main criterion. Technologists pronounce their weighty word. Some confectionery products are simply impossible to create without using this solid oil. We are talking about glaze, various confectionery fillers, margarine. In the past, hydrogenated liquid oils were used for these purposes. They became hard, but also high in trans fats. At the present time, it is possible to use a much better and safer product - palm oil, which is already solid by nature.
Palm oil is transported to Russia of industrial varieties in oil tanks from Indonesia and Malaysia. In Russia, the law clearly distinguishes between technical and edible oils. If a product does not meet food requirements, then it is not allowed to be processed into food. Technical palm oil can go into the industry, as well as rapeseed, technical sunflower and the like. And the history of the transportation of the product in tanks is a myth that appeared thanks to illegal suppliers of oil. However, those large companies with which domestic manufacturers work have their own fleet of containers, which naturally meets all safety criteria. And in every country there are influential organizations that regulate the transportation of products. Oil is brought to Russia from Malaysia and Indonesia by sea tankers. And the delivery procedure is carefully regulated by international standards.
Palm oil is prohibited in developed countries. There is no country in the world that prohibits the use of palm oil. Malaysia and Indonesia do not sell it to poor countries in Africa. Fully developed America buys 10% of the total world volume. Europe consumes almost 5 times more palm oil than Russia. Germany accounts for 13% of this volume, and England, Italy and the Netherlands each 15%. This product is also in demand in China.
Palm oil is added to baby food products, which harms the health of babies. In baby food, this oil is an important and even necessary component. When looking for an alternative to human milk, it is necessary to create the entire set of unique fatty acids. One of them is palmitic, which is needed for the growth of the child and his development. Formula makers manage to replace human breast milk with certain fractions of palm oil. Baby food is generally a complex product of many components. Nobody makes it on palm oil alone. But even if you refuse such a product altogether, then you will not be able to create the desired combination.
Palm oil is generally used in soap making and metallurgy, and is not edible. And even more, this product was part of napalm during the Second World War. However, this does not mean that it is harmful to health. We do not give up water on the grounds that clearly inedible concrete is made with its help. Currently, up to 80% of palm oil goes to food production, and the rest goes to industry and cosmetics, and biofuels are also made from it.
Palm oil is very rare. In total, about 170 million tons of vegetable oils are produced annually, a third of this volume is palm oil. Its exports have quadrupled over the past 20 years.