Palm oil often comes under fire in the health world, but what’s the truth about this exotic ingredient? In this post, we’ll dig a little deeper to see whether palm oil is good or bad for you.
Below, we lay out the difference between palm kernel oil and palm fruit oil. We also discuss the potential health benefits of palm oil, and the importance of sourcing, sustainability, and quality.
Palm Oil Sourcing, Sustainability, and Quality
The sourcing of palm oil is where most of the fuss about this ingredient lies. And for good reason. The bad practices of many palm oil companies have wreaked havoc on the environment, animals, and local communities.
But global demand for vegetable oils continues to grow, and it turns out, palm oil is one of the best for the environment when sourced sustainably. In fact, if everyone gave up consuming palm oil, the ultimate result would be worse for the environment. Palm trees produce 4-10 times more oil than other crops per unit of cultivated land.
Graphic from World Wildlife Fund article
"8 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PALM OIL"
Palm oil has endangered certain animal populations in the past, but not all places that grow palm oil even have those animals. We choose to source from the places without those animals, in order to avoid putting any wildlife at risk.
We’ve also chosen to use RSPO-certified palm oil. Companies certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) have a bunch of environmental and social criteria in place to to make sure their palm oil production is sustainable over the long term.
Overall, if you wish to source or consume palm oil sustainably, there are plenty of companies, organizations, and measures in place to help you do so.
Palm Kernel Oil vs Palm Fruit Oil | Differences & Benefits
Not all palm oil is created equal. An important difference to be aware of is whether you are consuming palm kernel oil or palm fruit oil.
As the name implies, palm kernel oil is produced from the kernel or seed of the oil palm tree.
Palm fruit oil, on the other hand, is produced from the fruit of the tree. When most people use the term “palm oil,” they are most often talking about palm fruit oil.
Nutritionally, palm kernel oil and palm fruit oil are quite different. The fat in palm kernel oil is over 80 percent saturated, compared to the 50 percent saturated fat content in palm fruit oil. Palm fruit oil, as a result, is generally considered to be easier on the heart and arteries.
Palm fruit oil actually has several other benefits, including:
- Supporting brain and heart health
- Supporting healthy cholesterol levels
- Increasing the body’s metabolism
Palm fruit oil is also rich in nutrients and antioxidants, particularly in vitamin E. It also contains a good amount of heart-healthy carotenoids, which give the oil its amber-gold color.
Given all the benefits above, we see palm fruit oil as the healthier choice, and one of the healthier oils out there. That’s why we use it as an ingredient in our nutrient-rich, guilt-free cookies.
Graphic from article malaysiakini.com's article:
"Palm Oil vs. Palm Fruit Oil: What's the Difference?"
Why Can't We Just Stop Using Palm Oil?
Many of palm oils top critics ask that we all boycott any product that uses palm oil. This is nice in theory, but nearly impossible in practice. Palm oil is used in everything from cookies to biofuels.
You see it a lot in food because it is much easier to work with than other oils, especially because it has a higher melting point than most. It's smooth, creamy, and acts as a natural preservative.
And again, it is more sustainable than other oils. It needs less than half the land needed by other crops to produce the same amount of oil. This also makes it less expensive.
Bottom Line | Is Palm Oil Evil?
The bottom line is: palm oil isn’t as bad as most people think. Obviously, no oil is perfect, but we feel that palm oil gets a bad rap considering its health benefits, nutritional profile, and sustainable sourcing quality.
Palm oil is pretty good for the earth - and pretty good for us.
That said, we’ll continue to monitor the landscape and keep up to date on the latest health research and environmental impact of palm oil.
You can learn more about our commitment to high quality natural ingredients here. Or browse our cookies to see a full list of all the ingredients we use.