Some readers have recently heard that palm oil is unhealthy. Is there any truth behind such an observation? When we consider the fact that dietary fads seem to present themselves come and go on a regular basis, it is understandably challenging to separate fact from fiction. The team at Spatz3 has therefore decided to address such an important topic.
This article will answer several questions. What are some of the reasons why palm oil should be substituted for alternatives? Are there any palm oil ingredients that pose specific risks? What palm oil side effects should make you think twice about using this substance when preparing food? Let’s begin without any further delays.
Why is Palm Oil an Unhealthy Fat?
Palm oil has obtained a rather contentious reputation in recent times. There are indeed benefits and drawbacks to this substance. One advantage involves the fact that this type of oil does not contain any trans fats (fats that have been linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease). Furthermore, palm oil is relatively rich in antioxidants known as carotenoids alongside vitamin A and vitamin E.
The main problem with palm oil involves its relatively high concentration of saturated fat. Saturated fats have been linked with higher levels of LDL (the so-called “bad” cholesterol) within the bloodstream. LDLs are likewise linked to cardiovascular problems when found in elevated concentrations.
Before moving on, it should be noted that palm oil is normally available in two forms. Unrefined oil contains no artificial ingredients such as added colors or preservatives. This type is considered to offer more benefits due to its entirely organic nature. Refined oil is generally used by western society, particularly during meal preparation. As you might have already guessed, refined oil often correlates with fewer health benefits as well as higher levels of saturated fats.
What are the Side Effects of Consuming Palm Oil?
To be clear, the side effects associated with palm oil are generally mild and unless an individual suffers from allergies, there are few acute dangers. Some studies have found that consuming between 12 and 17 grams per day for six weeks is safe for the majority of individuals.
However, one possible contraindication may occur when palm oil is consumed by those who are taking medications to thin their blood (known as anticoagulants). Anticoagulants are prescribed to treat specific conditions such as poor circulation, gout and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Research indicates that palm oil may negatively impact the clotting mechanisms of these substances. It is therefore wise to consult with a physician or switch to another palm shortening substitute (cold-pressed olive oil is a healthy alternative).
Is Palm Oil Vegan?
Palm oil is considered to be vegan due to the simple fact that it is derived from plant-based sources. However, a word of caution should be mentioned here. There may be instances when refined palm oil contains ingredients that are related to animal byproducts. Be sure to determine whether or not this is the case before committing to a purchase.
Is Palm Oil as Dangerous as Some Claim?
We need to answer this question by taking both quantity and quality into account. As palm oil contains saturated fats and triglycerides, consuming excess amounts could negatively impact your cardiovascular health over time. Even unrefined palm oil may cause issues if left unchecked.
However, occasionally using palm oil to cook meals or even taking small doses on a daily basis should not affect your health. The only caveat here involves individuals who have already been suffering from hypertension or cardiovascular disease. In this case, it is prudent to speak with a doctor or nutritionist to determine the best course of action.
Plenty of Alternative at Your Disposal
Palm oil has been used as a shortening for thousands of years and it is still popular throughout the world. Still, you can always opt for alternatives such as olive oil, coconut oil or rapeseed oil if you wish to further reduce your intake of saturated fats.
It could also be a good idea to cut down on your intake of palm oil if you have recently been provided with a Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon. Not only will this apparatus help to limit your caloric intake, but its benefits can be augmented by avoiding saturated fats and triglycerides. Is palm oil unhealthy? We can now see that there are two sides to this question.