STOP! PLEASE check products for palm oil.

With recent news articles bring our attention to health problems associated with palm oil I wanted to look deeper into this to understand what the dangers actually are.

Firstly I was totally surprised about the number of everyday products containing palm oil – it is literally everywhere and not just in foods but also cosmetics, cleaning products and fuels. It’s a source of huge profits for multinational corporations, while at the same time destroying the livelihoods of smallholders, displacing indigenous peoples, causing deforestation and loss of biodiversity. These are all consequences of our over consumption of palm oil.

Palm oil plantations cover 27m hectares, the size of New Zealand!

As consumers, we are unaware that we are complicit in horrific crimes against animals, people and the environment.

PALM OIL ENVIRONMENTAL FACTS:

• An area the size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared EACH HOUR to make way for palm oil production.

• Large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction – the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years.

• Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil.

• In 2006, at least 1,500 orangutans were clubbed to death by palm workers.

• Only 35% of palm growers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil are actually certified by the RSPO… the other 65% pay to be “members” and not adhering to the sustainability regulations.

• Palm oil ranks among the U.S. Department of Labour’s top four worst industries for forced and child labour.

• For every hectare of peat forest cleared, 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide are released.

The industry is linked to major deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and displacement of indigenous peoples. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. If nothing changes this large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.

Everyday, huge areas of rainforest in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa are being bulldozed or burnt to make room for more plantations. This releases vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and as a consequence, Indonesia – the world’s largest producer of palm oil – has surpassed the United States in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. With their CO2 and methane emissions, palm oil-based biofuels actually have three times the climate impact of traditional fossil fuels.

Palm oil is not only bad for the climate: endangered species such as the orangutan, Borneo elephant and Sumatran tiger are being pushed closer to extinction while smallholders and indigenous people who have inhabited and protected the forest for generations are often brutally driven from their land. Even on supposedly “sustainable” and “organic” plantations, human rights violations are everyday occurrences,

Orangutans have been found buried alive, killed from machete attacks and guns. Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades. This either occurs during the deforestation process, or after the animal enters a village or existing palm oil plantation in search of food. Mother orangutans are also often killed by poachers and have their babies taken to be sold or kept as pets, or used for entertainment in wildlife tourism parks in countries such as Thailand and Bali.

PALM OIL HEALTH FACTS

• Palm oil is high in saturated fat. One tablespoon of palm oil contains 55 percent of the daily recommendation of saturated fat.

• Half of all supermarket products contain palm oil.

• Half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used for biofuel.

• The 2nd most consumed vegetable oil in the world.

Although there are undeniable health benefits of fresh, untreated palm oil, processed palm is a totally different story and should be avoided.

FRESH PALM OIL:

Palm oil is one of the few fatty fruits in existence. It is different from other plant and animal oils in its fatty acid composition (50% saturated, 40% unsaturated, and 10% polyunsaturated) in that it does NOT promote atherosclerosis or arterial thrombosis.

Where coconut oil has around 90% MCFA’s (fat your body can easily burn for energy) palm oil only contains around 50% MCFA’s.

But in addition to MCFA’s, palm oil is also loaded with the following phytonutrients:

• Carotenoids (alpha-,beta-,and gamma-carotenes)

• Sterols (sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol)

• Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols) – more Vitamin A than any other plant-based oil

• Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids

Subsequently, the health benefits of palm oil include reduced risk of a variety of disease processes including:

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Cancer

• Cataracts

• Cognitive impairment

• Macular degeneration

• Platelet aggregation (blood clotting)

• Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels)

• Hypertension (high blood pressure)

• Vitamin A deficiency

OXIDIZED PALM OIL

Palm oil can be sold in a fresh state or at various levels of oxidation. Oxidation is a result of processing the oil for various culinary purposes. However, a considerable amount of the commonly used palm oil is in the oxidized state, which poses potential dangers to the biochemical and physiological functions of the body.

Oxidized palm oil induces an adverse lipid profile, reproductive toxicity and toxicity of the kidney, lung, liver, and heart.

PROCESSED AND HYDROGENATED PALM OIL

put simply, you want to TOTALLY avoid all processed, hydrogenated oils. Even the amazing health benefits of palm oil are completely negated due to this harmful process which is used to extend shelf life.

Stay safe and keep your shelves stocked with UNREFINED, COLD-PRESSED oils!

Saturated Fat: Palm oil is particularly high in saturated fat. In just 2.5 tablespoons of palm oil, you would exceed the recommended daily maximum of saturated fat.

Cholesterol: Marion Nestle, author of the book “What to Eat”, palmitic acid is a type of saturated that makes up most of the fat in palm oil. She goes on to say in her book that this fat is “especially adept at raising cholesterol levels” and that “palm oils are decidedly worse than butter” for this reason.

Hypertension: In addition to causing weight gain and elevated cholesterol, consuming palm oil that has been heated may elevate blood pressure. Heating vegetable oil produces free radicals. Over time, free radicals can lead to chronic disease.

SOME OF THE COMPANIES THAT USE PALM OIL:

Warburtons: palm oil accounts for between 15-20% of the blend of oils used in its products.

Unilever: the makers of Flora margarine, Knorr soups, Pot Noodles and Dove soap is the world’s biggest user of palm oil.

Premier foods: the makers of Hovis bread, Mr Kipling cakes, Cadbury cakes and Bisto gravy granules uses 30,000 metric tonnes of combined palm/vegetable oil each year.

Nestle: the makers of Kit Kat, Quality Street and Aero uses palm kernel oil in a range of their confectionery and dairy products.

Kelloggs: claims the vast majority of its cereals do not contain palm oil and, where present, it is in small quantities.

SUMMARY:

Although there are health benefits to consuming unprocessed palm oil, there is undeniable evidence showing the health dangers of the processed oil and catastrophic environmental consequences due to our over consumption of palm oil.

I urge us all to read the labels of the products we buy so we can make an informed choice and try to cut down on our use of palm oil as the devastation being caused to our planet is irreversible. It is not necessary to use so much oil in products, when home cooking we would not use so much. Industries are bulking their products out with cheap oils rather than proper ingredients, causing dangerous health effects simply to increase their profits whilst showing a total disregard for the environmental impact they are imposing on the planet.

Please share this article to help prevent the over use of palm oil, therefore saving the lives of innocent animals, indigenous peoples… and us!

Together we can influence corporations to change for the better.

More blogs available at www.wildmedicines.co.uk

Refs:

http://www.Redapes.org

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

http://www.thedailyhealth.co.uk

http://www.onegreenplanet.org

http://www.rainforest-rescue.org

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk

http://www.draxe.com

http://www.healthyeating.sfgate.com

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