What do you do when you go grocery shopping? Do you randomly pick up things or do you read the label? If you do the latter, you must be familiar with the word, “palm oil”. Palm oil has become a common ingredient in the processed food industry. But it has earned a bad rep over the years for causing harm to the human body even though it may contain vitamin A and E.  So, what should you do the next time you see a food item containing palm oil? Should you bring it home or keep it back on the grocery store’s shelf? 

Well, let’s find out. 

First things first, what is palm oil and how is it derived? 

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the palm tree (Elaeis guineensis). Being an edible oil, it is rich in both saturated and unsaturated fats. There are two types of palm oil, refined and unrefined palm oil, both having their own set of risks.. 

Let’s dive in deeper. 

The risks 

May increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases

Palm oil contains high saturated fat, which may increase cholesterol and trigger cardiovascular issues by increasing LDL, also known as bad cholesterol. 

May lead to inflammation

Yes, palm oil may contain anti-inflammatory properties but owing to its high saturated fatty acid content, it can also increase inflammation. 

Increases the risk of atherosclerosis: 

It is the hardening or thickening of the arteries chiefly caused by the accumulation of plaque in the inner walls of the artery. Reheated palm oil may cause high cholesterol, contributing to the build-up and leading to the formation of atherosclerosis. 

Risk of contaminant 

A study associated with the preparation of palm oil and its usage in processed foods reveals that it contains a potentially cancer-causing contaminant. This may happen if the oil is heated to a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius. However, more research is needed to understand this possible risk. 

Nutritional value of palm oil

Nutrient (Per tablespoon)

Calories 120

Total Fat 14 gm

Saturated Fat 7 gm

Monounsaturated Fat 5 gm

Polyunsaturated Fat 1 gm

Vitamin E 2.17 mg (11% of daily value)

Vitamin K 1.35 mcg (1% of daily value)

The verdict 

Well, there is no straight answer to this. But the harm mostly lies in the consumption and how it is processed. There is no denying that palm oil comes with high saturated fats, which makes it necessary to exercise caution when consuming it.

Book Your Full Body Health Checkup Today