Cooking oils to be avoided or limit the amount

Cooking oils to be avoided or limit the amount

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The type and quantity of oil used in cooking can significantly impact our overall health. According to Canada’s Food Guide, oils are an essential source of fat in our diet, but not all oils are created equal. It is important to choose the healthiest oils for our bodies and consume them in moderation. Some oils should be avoided, while others should only be consumed in limited quantities. This guide is aimed at helping people make informed choices about the oils they use in their cooking by providing information on oils to avoid or limit according to Canada’s food guide recommendations. By being aware of the types and amounts of oils in our diets, we can promote better health and well-being.

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This article is part of “Discover how to choose cooking oils wisely

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Canada’s food guide recommends to limiting the amount of those cooking oils.

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Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a natural oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts. It has a mellow, slightly coconut-y flavour that works with various other flavours, sweet and savoury. It is commonly used in cooking, baking, commercial baked goods and as a main ingredient in many beauty and skincare products. If you want to use it for other methods like sautéing or roasting, know it has a relatively low smoke point. The oil is high in saturated fats and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are believed to provide various health benefits such as weight loss, as its fat can boost metabolism and improve brain function. It’s suitable for people with trouble absorbing fats due to certain medical conditions. However, it’s also relatively high in saturated fat, possibly increasing your total cholesterol. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a type of fatty acid with antimicrobial properties that can boost the immune system. Some studies even suggest that coconut oil may have antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is also believed to support healthy hair and skin by nourishing and moisturizing them. While coconut oil has recently gained popularity, it is high in saturated fats. It may raise LDL cholesterol levels, considered the “bad” cholesterol. It is important to note that coconut oil is still high in calories. Moderation is vital when using coconut oil.

Coconut oil

High in saturated fats

6-7% MUFA
6-11% PUFA
82-92 saturated
Smoke point: 175-205°C/350-400°F

Is Coconut oil a health choice?

Some oils, like coconut oil, remain controversial. Coconut oil should be avoided or embraced in moderation, depending on whom you ask. Coconut oil is one of the world’s most well-known and widely used oils today. A spurt in medicinal research and an increase in awareness about the extremely beneficial properties of this oil have led to its growing popularity worldwide. But, it is also the most debated oil among health communities. The main point of conflict is its high saturated fat content; unlike other plant-based oils, coconut oil is primarily saturated fat. Not everyone agrees that such a concentrated source of saturated fat is a no-go for health. Still, some experts, including the American Heart Association, argue that replacing foods high in saturated fat with healthier options can lower blood cholesterol levels and improve lipid profiles. Still, science suggests that not all saturated fats are bad for you. This may not be the same unhealthy saturated fat found in animal products as the one found in red meat that clogs your arteries. However, those with high cholesterol should avoid coconut oil. Getting your LDL cholesterol into healthy ranges by eating a lot of coconut oil would be difficult. The 2017 advisory report from the American Heart Association did not recommend the use of coconut oil. The panel concluded that coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a known cause of heart disease, and has no known to offset favourable effects.
Coconut oil does not have any unique heart-health benefits, meaning its perception by the public as a healthful food is probably not justified from a scientific perspective. There is no reason to use coconut oil rather than unsaturated oils, and there are potential disadvantages from its high saturated fat content.
That’s not to say this oil will make you sick, but don’t go overboard. “I am not anti-coconut oil.” Our bodies do need some saturated fat. But the industry has done an excellent job of making it seem like it’s a superfood. The research is definitely not there.
Coconut oil isn’t quite the miracle cream it’s advertised as. As a cream, it is a miracle worker, but when it comes to preparing meals, we can’t suggest a free pass to eat as much as you want. It’s about as healthy as butter. Coconut oil has more saturated fat than the same amount of butter or lard. The reason it’s solid at room temperature is that it has a high content of saturated fat. Nutrition experts recommended using it only sparingly.
So, you’re better off using other oils, like extra-virgin olive oil. The exception: baking. Consumers have bought into the hype that it’s among the healthier options, and vegans, who eat no animal fat, may use it as a butter substitute. That creamy, fatty quality makes coconut oil a great vegan butter alternative for baked goods.

More research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of coconut oil.
Because the jury’s still not out on the impact of saturated fat on cardiac health, you may want to be conservative in the amount you use compared to sources of unsaturated fat if you are concerned about heart disease.

It is always best to consult a healthcare professional before making dietary decisions.

What are the varieties of coconut oil?

Several varieties of coconut oil are available in the market:

Virgin coconut oil (VCO)

Virgin coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconuts and is unrefined, making it the purest form. Extra virgin coconut oil is a misnomer, as it is the same as virgin coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil has a sharp coconutty aroma and tastes like coconut. Virgin coconut oil is a versatile and popular product known for its numerous health benefits. It is derived from fresh coconut meat and made without chemicals or refining processes. Virgin coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are easily digested and can provide a quick energy source. It has also been found to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Many people use virgin coconut oil for cooking, skincare, and hair care.

Organic coconut oil

Organic coconut oil is derived from coconuts grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Organic coconut oil can be used for cooking, as a moisturizer for the skin and hair, and even as a natural alternative to traditional mouthwash. Its high levels of healthy fats make it a great addition to any diet, and it has been found to support weight loss and improve brain function. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil also make it an effective natural remedy for various skin conditions. Overall, incorporating organic coconut oil into your daily routine can lead to improved health and well-being.

Fractionated coconut oil

Fractionated coconut oil is a type of coconut oil that has been processed to remove certain components, such as lauric acid. It is usually liquid at room temperature, unlike solid coconut oil. Fractionated coconut oil is known for its light texture, stability, and long shelf life. It is commonly used in various skincare products, as a carrier oil for essential oils, and in cooking and baking. Its high levels of medium-chain triglycerides make it easily absorbed by the skin, making it a popular choice for massage oils and moisturizers.

RBD (Refined, Bleached and Deodorized) or Refined coconut oil

Refined coconut oil is a type of coconut oil that has gone through a refining process to remove impurities and odour. This refining process often involves bleaching and deodorizing the oil, producing a clear, odourless oil with a higher smoke point than unrefined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil is often preferred for cooking and baking as it has a neutral taste and can withstand high heat without smoking. However, it may have a slightly lower nutritional value than unrefined coconut oil. It is important to note that refined coconut oil is still high in saturated fats and should be consumed in moderation. This is the most widely used coconut oil. It is not as good as virgin coconut oil but ideal for cooking and cosmetic purposes. This oil has very little of the characteristic coconut aroma.

Solvent-based extraction

Solvent-based extraction is a method to extract coconut oil from coconut meat. In this process, solvents like hexane are used to dissolve the oil from the meat. The solvent-oil mixture is then separated, and the solvent is evaporated, leaving behind the coconut oil. While this method efficiently extracts a large amount of oil, there are concerns about residual solvents in the final product. It is important to ensure that proper measures are taken to remove any traces of solvents to ensure the safety and quality of the coconut oil. This oil should not be used for edible purposes or even for the skin.

Hydrogenated Coconut oil

Hydrogenated coconut oil is a type of oil that has been processed by adding hydrogen atoms to it. This process increases the shelf life and stability of the oil, making it useful for cooking and baking. However, hydrogenation also increases the level of saturated fats in the oil, which can be detrimental to heart health when consumed in excess. In this oil, a small amount of unsaturated fats too are hydrogenated and thus making it unhealthy. It might contain some trans fats as well. Using hydrogenated coconut oil in moderation is important, and choosing healthier alternatives, such as virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil, whenever possible.

What type of fatty acids are in Coconut oil?

Coconut oil has a unique fatty acid composition and specific characteristics. Here is a breakdown of the fatty acid profile and information about coconut oil:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)

Coconut oil has a relatively low percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids than other oils. It contains about 6-11% PUFAs, primarily PUFA being linoleic acid.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

Coconut oil contains a moderate amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. On average, it consists of around 6-7% MUFAs, with oleic acid being the predominant MUFA.

Saturated fatty acids

Coconut oil is rich in saturated fatty acids. It is one of the highest sources of saturated fat among edible oils. On average, coconut oil contains around 82-92% saturated fat. The primary saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which may have unique properties and potential health benefits.

Trans fatty acids

Pure, unprocessed coconut oil does not contain trans fatty acids. However, it is important to note that some commercially available coconut oils may undergo hydrogenation or refining processes that can introduce small amounts of trans fats. Choosing unrefined or virgin coconut oil is recommended to avoid trans fats.

Smoke point

Coconut oil has a relatively high smoke point, typically ranging from 175-205°C/350-400°F. This makes it suitable for cooking at moderate temperatures, such as sautéing, baking, and stir-frying. However, it has a lower smoke point than oils like grapeseed or avocado oil.

It is important to note that the exact composition of coconut oil can vary depending on factors such as processing methods and the type of coconut used.
Additionally, the health effects of coconut oil and its impact on cholesterol levels and heart health are still debated among experts.
Consuming coconut oil in moderation as part of a balanced diet and considering individual health conditions and dietary guidelines is advisable.

What is Coconut oil made from?

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts, the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) tree.

What is Coconut oil best for?

Coconut oil is a versatile oil and has several beneficial uses. Here are some common areas where coconut oil is often utilized:

Cooking and baking

Coconut oil is suitable for cooking and baking due to its high smoke point and unique flavour. It can be used in baking recipes for sautéing, stir-frying, roasting, and as a substitute for butter or other oils. It adds a subtle coconut aroma and flavour to dishes.

Skin and hair care

Coconut oil is commonly used in skincare and haircare products or as a natural remedy. Its moisturizing properties can help hydrate the skin and hair, and its antimicrobial properties may benefit certain skin conditions. It can be used as a moisturizer, makeup remover, lip balm, hair mask, or as an ingredient in DIY skincare recipes.

Oil pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice where a tablespoon of coconut oil is swished around in the mouth to draw out toxins and improve oral health. It is typically done for several minutes and then spit out. Some people find it beneficial for oral hygiene and freshening breath.

Massage oil

Due to its moisturizing properties and pleasant aroma, coconut oil is often used as a massage oil. It helps to moisturize the skin, providing a smooth gliding surface for the hands and may have a calming effect.

It is important to note that individual responses to coconut oil may vary.
Some people may find it highly beneficial, while others may not.
Suppose you have specific health conditions or concerns.
In that case, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist before incorporating coconut oil into your routine.

What is Coconut oil not recommended for?

While coconut oil has a variety of uses, there are certain situations where it may not be recommended or require caution. Here are some instances:

High saturated fat content

While coconut oil can be a part of a balanced diet, it is important to consume it in moderation due to its high saturated fat content. Excessive consumption of saturated fats may contribute to heart disease and other health concerns. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian regarding your specific dietary needs and considerations.

Lower Smoke Point

While coconut oil has a relatively high smoke point compared to other oils, it is lower than oils like avocado oil or grapeseed oil. It may not be suitable for cooking methods requiring extremely high heat or prolonged frying.

Acne-prone skin

Coconut oil is considered to be moderately comedogenic, meaning it has the potential to clog pores. Using coconut oil on the face or body may worsen breakouts for individuals with acne-prone skin. It is best to choose non-comedogenic oils or seek advice from a dermatologist for suitable alternatives.

Allergies

Although rare, some individuals may have allergies to coconuts or coconut oil. Suppose you have a known allergy to coconuts or other tree nuts. In that case, it is advisable to avoid coconut oil to prevent any adverse reactions.

Sensitive skin

Coconut oil can cause irritation or allergic reactions in individuals with sensitive skin. It is recommended to perform a patch test on a small skin area before using coconut oil topically and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.

It’s important to note that these recommendations may not apply to everyone, and individual responses may vary.
Suppose you have any specific health conditions, allergies or concerns.
In that case, consulting with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for personalized advice is best.

How to store Coconut oil?

Coconut oil should be stored properly to maintain its quality and prevent spoilage. Here are some general guidelines for storing coconut oil:

Cool, dark place

Coconut oil should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can degrade the oil and reduce its shelf life.

Room temperature

Coconut oil is solid at temperatures below 24°C/76°F and liquid above that threshold. Storing it at room temperature is generally sufficient, but if you live in a hot climate exceeding 24°C/76°F, you may want to refrigerate it to prolong its shelf life and stability.

Airtight container

Ensure that the coconut oil storage container is airtight and seals properly. This helps to prevent air exposure and the absorption of unwanted odours or flavours from the surrounding environment.

Avoid moisture

Coconut oil is resistant to spoilage, but excessive moisture can promote bacteria or mould growth. Keep the container dry to maintain its quality.

Avoid contamination

Use clean, dry utensils to scoop out coconut oil from the container. Never introduce water or any other contaminants into the oil, as it can increase the risk of spoilage.

Check for rancidity

Over time, coconut oil may become rancid due to air, light, or heat exposure. Check the oil periodically for any signs of off-putting odour or taste. If it smells or tastes off, it is best to discard it.

Refrigerate for an extended period

Suppose you have a large quantity of coconut oil that you do not plan to use within a short period. In that case, consider storing the excess in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life. However, refrigeration may cause the oil to solidify, and it may take some time to soften at room temperature before use.

Following these guidelines should help you store coconut oil properly and maintain its quality for an extended period.

What are Coconut oil pros and cons?

Coconut oil has both pros and cons that should be taken into consideration. Let’s explore them:

Pros of Coconut oil

Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

Coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides, particularly lauric acid. Some studies suggest that the MCTs in coconut oil may have certain health benefits, such as boosting metabolism, supporting weight loss efforts, and improving brain function. However, more research is needed to fully understand these potential benefits.

Versatile culinary uses

Coconut oil has a distinct flavour and aroma that can add a pleasant taste to various dishes. It is suitable for cooking and baking and can substitute for butter or other oils.

Moisturizing properties

Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil has excellent moisturizing properties. It can help hydrate the skin and hair, keeping them soft and supple.

Long shelf life

Coconut oil, like palm fruit oil, has a long shelf life.

Cons of Coconut oil

High Saturated Fat Content

Coconut oil is predominantly composed of saturated fats, potentially contributing to elevated cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease when consumed excessively. Consuming coconut oil in moderation is important as part of a balanced diet.

Controversial health effects

While coconut oil has gained popularity in recent years, its potential health effects, particularly cardiovascular health, remain controversial among experts. Some evidence suggests it may have neutral or even negative effects on cholesterol levels. While the newest research suggests that not all saturated fats are created equal, and coconut oil may be a better option than butter, from a heart health perspective, it still can’t compete with unsaturated fats like olive oil. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice.

Comedogenic potential

Coconut oil is considered to be moderately comedogenic, meaning it has the potential to clog pores. Individuals with acne-prone skin should exercise caution when using coconut oil topically and opt for non-comedogenic alternatives.

Allergy concerns

Although rare, some individuals may have allergies to coconuts or coconut oil. Before using coconut oil, it is important to be aware of any potential allergies or sensitivities.

It’s important to note that individual responses and preferences can vary.
It is always advisable to consider one’s unique health profile, consult with healthcare professionals when necessary, and incorporate coconut oil into a balanced and varied diet.

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Palm oil (Palm fruit oil)

palm tree oil

High in saturated fats

38-44% MUFA
9-12% PUFA
40-50% saturated
Smoke point: 190-230°C/374-446°F

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. Palm oil is usually a deep red colour. Its taste is considered savoury and earthy. Some people describe its flavour as being similar to carrot or pumpkin. It is widely used in various industries, including food. Palm oil is sometimes added to peanut butter and other nut butter as a stabilizer to prevent the oil from separating and settling at the top of the jar. In addition to nut butter, palm oil can be found in several other foods, including cereals, baked goods like bread, cookies and muffins, protein bars and diet bars, chocolate, candy, coffee creamers and margarine. It is also used in biofuels and cosmetics.
Like coconut oil, palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature. However, its melting point is 35°C/95°F, which is considerably higher than 24°C/76°F for coconut oil. This is due to the different fatty acid compositions of the two oils.
Palm oil can withstand deep frying at higher temperatures and is resistant to oxidation compared to high-polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Repeatedly reheating the oil may decrease its antioxidant capacity and contribute to the development of heart disease. It may cause plaque deposits in the arteries. It’s important to note that these are only potential risk factors, not evidence that palm oil can cause heart disease.
The environmental and sustainability concerns surrounding palm oil production should also be considered. 

Is Palm oil a health choice?

Palm oil contains more saturated fats than canola oilcorn oil, linseed oil, soybean oilsafflower oil, and sunflower oil. Its high saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease when consumed excessively. Because they’re at risk for heart disease, people with diabetes should pay close attention to their saturated fat consumption and avoid fat sources like palm oil, according to the American Diabetes Association. Palmitic acid is the primary type of saturated fat in palm oil, contributing 44% of its calories. It also contains high amounts of oleic acid and smaller amounts of linoleic acid and stearic acid.
It also contains vitamin E, and red palm oil contains antioxidants called carotenoids, which your body can convert into vitamin A. Palm oil can help improve vitamin A status in people who are deficient or at risk of deficiency.
It is a versatile and cost-effective ingredient. All around the world, palm oil consumption is increasing. Palm oil is one of the least expensive and most popular oils worldwide, accounting for one-third of global plant oil production. In Asian and African countries, palm oil is used widely as cooking oil, just like we might use sunflower or olive oil here. However, when it comes to cooking oils, palm oil is typically considered the most controversial of the options – for both health and environmental reasons.
Despite being free of trans-fat, there is a debate over whether palm oil consumption is associated with health risks or benefits. On the one hand, it’s reported to provide several health benefits. It may pose risks to heart health. Since about 1900, palm oil has been increasingly incorporated into food by the global commercial food industry because it remains stable in deep frying or baking at very high temperatures and for its high levels of natural antioxidants, though the refined palm oil used in industrial food has lost most of its carotenoid content (orange-red colour).

Despite the benefits, other oils, such as olive oil, are recommended for use in cooking.

Be aware of Palm oil production issues

Palm oil production has been associated with environmental issues, including deforestation, habitat destruction, and biodiversity loss of endangered species like orangutans and tigers. The palm oil industry is also known for human rights violations, including forced and child labour.
Efforts have been made to produce palm oil more sustainably, such as through certification systems like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). However, there are criticisms that these systems are not strong enough to prevent adverse impacts on people and the environment.
Consumers need to be aware of these issues. They can help reduce the harmful effects of palm oil by choosing sustainable palm oil products or avoiding palm oil altogether and seeking alternatives.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to avoid using products with palm oil as its use is now so common worldwide. You may never have walked into a grocery store with it written on your shopping list, but you’ve certainly walked out with bags full of it. We wash our hair, brush our teeth, smother our skin, and use it to powder our cheeks, plump our lashes, and colour our lips. We clean our houses with it, fuel our cars with it, and eat it in chocolate, bread, ice cream, pizza, breakfast cereal, and candy bars. Palm oil is found today in half of all consumer goods, an extremely versatile ingredient that’s cheaper and more efficient to produce than other vegetable oils. Palm oil is in nearly everything – it’s in nearly 50% of the packaged products we find in grocery stores, everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate to laundry detergent, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick.
Palm oil is also found in biodiesel used to power cars (more than 50% of the European Union’s palm oil consumption in 2017 reportedly went to this purpose). It’s also used in animal feed and as a biofuel in many parts of the world.

To lessen the impact, looking for products that only contain sustainable palm oil is a good start.
If you want to use palm oil, purchase ethical, RSPO-certified brands.

What are the types of palm oil?

There are several types and variants of palm oil. The variants are derived from different parts of the palm fruit and offer specific properties for different purposes.

Crude palm oil (CPO)

Crude palm oil comes from squeezing the fleshy fruit, and palm kernel oil which comes from crushing the kernel or the stone (nut) in the middle of the fruit. It retains its natural reddish colour and strong flavour. It is semi-solid at room temperature and differs from palm kernel oil in nutritional composition.

Refined, bleached, and deodorized palm oil (RBDPO)

RBDPO, on the other hand, undergoes further processing to remove impurities, resulting in a clear, odourless oil suitable for various applications.

Unrefined palm oil

Unrefined palm oil is sometimes called red palm oil because of its reddish-orange colour. This type of palm oil has not been processed or refined. It is typically obtained from the fruit of the oil palm tree and has a distinct reddish colour and strong flavour. Unrefined palm oil contains the natural nutrients and antioxidants present in the fruit, making it a popular choice for cooking and baking. However, it has a lower smoke point than refined palm oil, which may limit its use in high-heat cooking. It is commonly used in various cuisines around the world and can provide a unique flavour and richness to dishes.

Palm kernel oil

It is important to note that palm oil should not be confused with palm kernel oil. While both originate from the same plant, palm kernel oil is extracted from the fruit’s seed. It provides different health benefits. Palm kernel oil is extremely high in saturated fat and is used chiefly in soap making.

Fractionated palm oil

In fractionated palm oil, the liquid portion is removed by crystallizing and filtering. The remaining solid portion is higher in saturated fat and has a higher melting temperature.

Dende

Dende is a deep-orange oil that comes from the fruit of the red palm (but not the same palm as the source for palm oil). It is a common ingredient in Brazilian dishes.

What type of fatty acids are in Palm oil?

Palm oil has a unique fatty acid composition. Here is a breakdown of the fatty acid profile and information about palm oil:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)

Palm oil contains a small amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It typically has about 9-12% PUFAs, primarily PUFA being linoleic acid.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

Palm oil has a moderate amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. On average, it consists of around 38-44% MUFAs, primarily oleic acid.

Saturated fatty acids

Palm oil is known for its high saturated fat content. On average, it contains around 40-50% saturated fat. Palm oil’s main saturated fatty acids are palmitic acid (about 40% of total fatty acids) and stearic acid (around 5-10%).

Trans fatty acids

Palm oil naturally contains very low levels of trans fatty acids.

Smoke point

The smoke point of palm oil can vary depending on the refining process and the quality of the oil. Generally, it has a smoke point ranging from 190-230°C/374-446°F. This makes it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods such as deep-frying.

It’s worth noting that the fatty acid composition of palm oil can vary depending on the type of palm (e.g., African oil palm or American oil palm), the ripeness of the fruit, and the specific processing methods used.

What is Palm oil made from?

It is made from the palm tree’s fruit (not the seeds), which is native to Africa.

What is Palm oil best for?

Palm oil is a versatile oil that is used in various industries and applications. Here are some common uses and areas where palm oil is often utilized:

Cooking

It is often used for sautéing, deep frying or baking at very high temperatures because it has a high smoke point.

Food industry

Palm oil is widely used in the food industry due to its unique properties. It is commonly used in cooking and frying due to its high smoke point and stability at high temperatures. Palm oil also produces baked goods, snacks, spreads, margarine, and confectionery products. Its semi-solid nature at room temperature makes it suitable for creating creamy textures in food products.

Cosmetics and personal care products

Palm oil is used to produce cosmetics and personal care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, toothpaste, cosmetics and shampoos. It is valued for its moisturizing and emollient properties, which help to nourish and hydrate the skin and hair.

Cleaning and household products

Palm oil derivatives are commonly used to produce cleaning and household products such as detergents, soaps, candles, and other cleaning agents. It provides stability and adds lathering properties to these products.

Biofuel

Palm oil also produces biodiesel, a renewable and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. It can be used as a fuel in diesel engines and as a blend with petroleum diesel.

Industrial applications

Palm oil is used in various industrial applications, including lubricants, greases, paints, and coatings. It is valued for its oxidative stability and viscosity.

It is important to note that palm oil production has raised concerns regarding deforestation, habitat destruction, and sustainability.
Sustainable palm oil initiatives aim to address these issues by promoting responsible palm oil production and sourcing methods.
Environmental and ethical considerations should be considered when using or purchasing palm oil products.

What is Palm oil not recommended for?

While palm oil has various uses, there are also concerns associated with its production and consumption. Here are some areas where the use of palm oil may not be recommended or may require caution:

Environmental impact

Palm oil production has been linked to deforestation, habitat destruction, and biodiversity loss in certain regions. It is often associated with the clearing of land for plantations, which can have negative effects on ecosystems and contribute to climate change. Choosing sustainable and certified palm oil helps to mitigate these concerns.

Health concerns

Palm oil is high in saturated fats, specifically palmitic acid. Consuming excessive amounts of saturated fats may raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. It is advisable to consume palm oil in moderation as part of a balanced diet, and choose healthier oils, such as olive oil, for most cooking purposes.

Allergies

Although rare, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to palm oil. Suppose you have a known allergy or sensitivity to palm oil. In that case, avoiding it and checking product labels for its inclusion is best.

Ethical concerns

Human rights concerns have been associated with palm oil production, including unfair labour practices and exploitation of workers. Supporting companies and products committed to ethical and socially responsible sourcing and production practices is important.

Non-food applications

Due to the concerns surrounding palm oil production and its environmental impact, some consumers choose to avoid palm oil products, even in non-food applications such as cosmetics and cleaning products. Opting for palm oil-free alternatives may be preferred by those who wish to minimize their environmental footprint.

It’s important to note that there are ongoing efforts towards sustainability and responsible production within the palm oil industry, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Choosing products with RSPO certification can support sustainable practices and mitigate some of the associated concerns.
Since you can get similar health benefits from other oils and foods, using other fat sources is probably best for most of your daily needs.

How to store Palm oil?

Storing palm oil properly helps maintain its quality and extend its shelf life. Here are some guidelines for storing palm oil:

Cool, dark place

Palm oil should be stored in a cool location away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can cause the oil to deteriorate and spoil more quickly. Aim for a storage area with a stable temperature, ideally below 25°C/77°F.

Room temperature

Palm oil is generally solid at room temperature (below 25°C/77°F) and liquid above that threshold. Storing it at room temperature is adequate, but if you live in a hot climate where room temperatures regularly exceed 25°C/77°F, it is advisable to refrigerate the oil to prolong its freshness and stability.

Airtight container

Ensure the container or bottle you store palm oil in is airtight and adequately sealed. This prevents air exposure and protects the oil from oxidation and contamination. Choose a container suitable for oil storage, such as glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

Avoid moisture

Keep the container of palm oil in a dry environment to prevent moisture absorption, which could lead to spoilage. Ensure the container and lid are dry before pouring the oil into it.

Avoid contamination

When using palm oil, always use clean utensils or equipment to prevent introducing any foreign substances or contaminants into the oil. This helps maintain its quality and prevent spoilage.

Check for rancidity

Over time, palm oil can become rancid due to exposure to air, heat, or light. Periodically check the oil for any signs of off-putting odour or taste. It is best to discard the oil if it has a rancid smell or taste.

By following these guidelines, you can store palm oil properly and maximize its shelf life, ensuring it stays fresh and suitable for use over an extended period.

What are Palm oil pros and cons?

Palm oil has both pros and cons that should be considered. Let’s examine them:

Pros of Palm oil

Versatility

Palm oil is a highly versatile oil widely used in various industries, including food, cosmetics, cleaning agents, and biofuel. Its unique properties, such as its semi-solid state at room temperature, make it suitable for various applications.

High yield

Palm oil is known for its high oil yield per hectare compared to other oil crops. It requires less land to produce a significant amount of oil, which makes it an efficient and economical choice.

Economic impact

Palm oil production plays a significant role in the economies of many countries, providing employment opportunities, income, and economic growth, particularly in Southeast Asia and Africa.

Shelf stability

Palm oil has a natural resistance to oxidation, which enhances its shelf stability and helps maintain the quality of products over a longer period.

Cons of Palm oil

Environmental impact

Palm oil production has been associated with deforestation, habitat degradation, and biodiversity loss, particularly in tropical regions. Clearing land for palm oil plantations can destroy rainforests and threaten the habitats of endangered species. It’s important to choose sustainable palm oil options and support companies committed to responsible sourcing.

Carbon emissions

The conversion of forests and peatlands for palm oil cultivation releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. The draining of peatlands for palm oil plantations can also release significant amounts of stored carbon.

Land use issues

The expansion of palm oil plantations has raised concerns about land grabbing, displacement of indigenous communities, and conflicts over land rights. Palm oil production’s social and human rights impacts require careful consideration and efforts to address these issues.

Health considerations

Palm oil is high in saturated fats, which, when consumed in excess, can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Consuming palm oil in moderation and as part of a balanced diet is important.

Ethical concerns

The palm oil industry has faced criticism for labour rights abuses, including forced labour, child labour, and poor working conditions. Supporting companies committed to ethical and socially responsible practices is crucial in addressing these concerns.

It is important to note that sustainable and responsible practices within the palm oil industry are being promoted through initiatives like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to address the environmental, social, and ethical issues associated with palm oil production.

Cooking oils to be avoided or limit the amount

According to Canada's food guide:

Not mentioned by Canada’s food guide:

Cooking fats to be avoided or limit the amount according to Canada's food guide
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This article is part of “Discover how to choose cooking oils wisely

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