Palm Oil: Good Fat or Bad Fat?

Stephanie Shaw August 01, 2012

Palm Oil: Good Fat or Bad Fat?

Palm oil, also called “liquid gold,” has been used by African and Asian peoples for decades. In the past, researchers and scientists condemned the oil, claiming that it was “bad” oil. Chefs around the world wouldn’t touch it as a result of these reports.

However, in a recent turnaround, scientists have taken back their negative reviews of the oil. It has been revealed to be one of the preferable alternatives to trans fats, especially for bakers.

The United States, arguably the highest producer and consumer of fast food, consumes 10 million metric tons of oils and fats every year in the food industry. It is used in many products such as breads, biscuits, cosmetics and candy.

As a result, global demand for palm oil is rising at an increasingly high rate. The oil is cheaper and lasts much longer than other plant-based oils because it produces much more oil per hectare. Olive plants, for example, produce about 1000 liters of oil per hectare, whereas palm plants produce over 6000 liters per hectare.

The oil palm tree, native to the African continent, is a plant that can only grow in a very specific tropical climate. Despite this, the oil from this tree is feeding the world.

Malaysia is the epicenter of this industry, producing over 20 million tons of oil per year. The palm oil industry is boosting the economies of developing nations like Malaysia and Indonesia. In Malaysia, the industry helps combat poverty by providing jobs for over half a million people. They earn over $17 billion annually from palm oil exports.

In the below video produced by the AFC, the question of whether palm oil is good for humanity in general is raised. What are the health benefits or harms of Palm oil? It it good for our environment? Should you start consuming palm oil more than regular oil? What role do developing countries play in all of this?

Watch and share your opinion below.


Last Edited by: Updated: February 25, 2014


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