What’s the Big Deal about Palm Oil?

Article by Lisa B.

You may have heard of the ‘Say No to Palm Oil’ campaign, but are you wondering what all the fuss is about? How does this affect me? Many already know that the palm oil industry has had a detrimental impact on the environment. But today we will also touch on the negative aspect towards our individual health.

A few years ago, I watched the documentary, “Rise of the Eco-Warriors”. This was an inspiring visual of young activists from various parts of the world, coming together to see first hand the displacement of the orangutans through the deforestation of Borneo.  Even those who have little conviction of environmental issues are stirred by the gentle, defenceless creatures that are left homeless and orphaned. As the camera sweeps over the landscape above the southeast Asian island, a gasp can be heard in the cinema from the shocking realization that millions of hectares of forest have been destroyed. In fact, 1.3 million hectares per year is the deforestation rate according to WWF.1

When the documentary finished, the Australian Director, Cathy Henkel spoke to our group. She encouraged us to withdraw our support from palm oil products, the root cause of what drives the money hungry industry to bulldoze the forests to supply the western world. I asked what alternative industries we could support that creates income for Indonesians, so they have a better job choice. Cathy recommended using coconut blossom sugar. The sap is taken from the flower, so the tree doesn’t need to be cut down to harvest.  After researching more about this sugar, I’ve found it to be an excellent choice in a sweetener for its health benefits since the sap is only evaporated and holds more nutrients than raw sugar.

How often do you look at the labels while shopping to see which products use palm oil? It’s a popular cheap ingredient for producers to use. But can it affect your health? Like many oils, in their raw state, they are fine. However, palm oil in your food products has been processed where oxidization occurs generating toxins that unfortunately affect major organs of the body. The more products you consume that have palm oil, the greater exposure to these potential toxins which overtime may be harmful to one’s health.

My recommendation would be for you to read some articles on the web2 to gain more of an understanding and to strengthen your convictions, whether to avoid this ingredient or not. I find when I’ve taken the time to read up on health issues, I am more inclined to follow through, being an informed consumer. Remember, our economy is built on the supply and demand principal. That is why we’ve seen a huge change with products excluding artificial colors and flavors. It’s up to us to encourage this change by ‘Saying No to Palm Oil’ too. Already, producers are catching on. Let’s continue our consumer impact together.

 

1  World Wild Life Org

2 Say No To Palm Oil

Recommended Further Reading

Dr. Axe- Red Palm Oil

Healthline- Palm Oil: Good or Bad?

Sustainable Palm Oil

 

 

 

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