Palm oil, though gaining prominence, has been the centre of debate for its goodness and its adversity on civilization. The myths which are surrounding the cultivation of this crop can be overwhelming sometimes. But now it is the time to invalidate the common myths of palm oil with real facts attached to it.
Before moving on to the myths and facts of palm oil, Lovely Tiny Things would like to mention that these facts are been shared by Ms Bhavna Shah (Country Representative Malaysian Palm Oil Council – India and Sri-Lanka) during a webinar conducted on 28th November 2020 via Google Meet.
Palm oil has led to large-scale deforestation.
Fact - Forest accounts for 31% of the total land and can be deforested due to natural forces like wildfire, climate change or human activities like paper production, logging, mining, urban sprawl etc. Cultivation of palm oil does not account much in comparison to beef/leather production. In fact, the production of palm oil is economical and more efficient than any other vegetable oils.
Besides, recent studies state that oil palm cultivation is not the main cause of deforestation. The land is used for the production of many foods and crops including grains, oil and vegetables. The large population and huge demand for food lead to the removal of forests and expansion of agricultural land.
Palm oil is only produced at large-scale plantations.
Fact - Oil palm trees can be grown on a large scale as well as small scale plantations. In which these small shareholders account for 40% of the total oil palm production. It significantly contributes to reducing poverty and helps in the development of the economy by further helping rural people.
Fact - Palm oil is versatile in terms of its use. It is not only used as edible oil, but also as an ingredient for the manufacture of lipsticks, soaps, shampoo, detergents, candles and many such useful items. So you may not know, but somewhere, you are using palm oil daily. However, it is not harmful because it is grown in a sustainable way that respects the environment and its consumers.
The consumption of Palm Oil is unhealthy because it is high in Saturated Fat.
Fact – Palm oil has higher saturated fat in comparison to other edible cooking oils, and excessive consumption of the same may lead to high cholesterol levels. But at the same time, it has monounsaturated fats which are ‘good’ for health and controls the levels of cholesterol. Therefore, according to the experts, the effect of Palm oil on health is somewhere neutral.
Additionally, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), Palm oil containing most saturated fats are non-edible, hence being used in the making of soaps, cosmetics, and detergents.
Palm Oil does not have any nutrition, it is all just fatty acids
Fact – Palm oil is rich in Vitamin A and E. The high levels of carotenoids act an anti-oxidants and it is good for eyesight and overall immune system. However, repeated use of palm oil for the frying purpose may reduce the level of these essential nutrients.
Likewise, there are many other surprising facts of palm oil and its cultivation, too. For more reliable information and facts about Palm oil and its sustainable production, please visit www.mpoc.org.my