Palm oil is a tropical vegetable oil, that is widely used in developing countries as a source of saturated fat. It is used in a wide variety of formats including in an industrial context, in hygiene products and in food. A 2011 study that examined the impact of palm oil in developing countries directly linked palm oil to increased incidents of cardiovascular disease. The production and human consumption of palm oil, has increased by 40% from 1990 to 2997, in the world’s least developed countries. Environmental controversy has arisen over the effect of producing the oil and the destruction of the natural environment, including large areas of tropical forest and other ecosystems with high conservation values, to accommodate said production.
The study analyzed country-level data from 1980-1997 derived from the World Health Organization’s Mortality Database, U.S. Department of Agriculture international estimates, and the World Bank (234 annual observations; 23 countries).
Experts believe that the saturated fat in palm oil has a substantial detrimental impact and worsens cardiovascular health outcomes.
Scientific Experimental evidence confirms that consumption of palm oil increases plasma concentrations of total cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) compared to other more unsaturated vegetable oils. Increases in total cholesterol and LDL concentrations in the blood elevate the risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD), and randomized controlled trials have clearly shown that replacement of the saturated fats present in usual diets with polyunsaturated fats reduces IHD rates.
Palm oil is labelled in diverse format that is not entirely transparent to the average consumer and can be disguised as the ubiquitous vegetable oil label. The South African food labeling legislation enacted in 2012, requires that manufacturers disclose the type of vegetable oil contained in a product.
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- Palm Oil Report
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