Palm Oil: Veg But Not Vegan – Is It Bad?

Palm oil is everywhere: it’s in food, in cosmetics and it’s used in industries too as fuel and lubricant.

The reason of its diffusion is because it’s cheap, compared to other veg oils, especially when we talk about food.

Lately, I’m paying attention at ingredients’ labels and something started to seem strange to me: when I look for products which contain just vegetable oils, I see often on the label a certain percentage of olive oil and a certain percentage of vegetable oils.

How does it make sense? What are you hiding, Mr. Supplier?

Usually they’re hiding palm oil.

The problem of palm oil is that it’s true that it’s vegetable, but it contains a very very high percentage of saturated fats, which is considered less than good for health (obviously with all these money around, many are studying its dangerousness and many others are trying to demonstrate that palm oil is not risky for our health: I often go with vibes and palm oil’s vibes seem bad to me, so I try to avoid it as much as possible).

But there’s more.

Palm oil’s plantations are damaging hugely environment and local human and animal populations. We’re talking about rain forest’s destruction, gas carbon due to fire deforestation… fires which are threatening of extinction Indonesian orangutans, whether for the destruction of their habitat and for deaths caused directly by flames.

I mean, it’s just like you’re relaxing at your home and someone comes and start set your house on fire just because he wants to build something of his own: does it make any sense to you? Me neither.

palm oil orangutan

deforestation caused by palm oil plantations – pictures via google images

Elephants, tigers and many other sub-tropical species are being seriously damaged because of the soil consumption of by palm oil plantations (pictures say more: you may write “palm oil” on goole and find many eloquent images about damages caused by what we’re talking about).

Besides animals’ very sad fate, we were also saying that palm oils plantations has very high environmental costs too, in fact EPA excluded palm oil biodiesel from eco-fuels just because its production carb footprint doesn’t allow the 20% pollution reduction required for bio fuels.

palm oil orangutan

deforestation caused by palm oil plantations – pictures via google images

Unfortunately, especially for those who don’t have the time to make at home everything they consume, it’s still quite impossible to avoid palm oil completely (you might find it in bio products too!), but some manufacturers are already started to eliminate it and it seems that, at least here in Italy, during 2015 the government might emanate an act which should obligate producers to specify which vegetable oil is used in the product.

Meanwhile stay aware: information is power and every person which make informed choices is a small drop in the gigantic wave of change!

fonts: wikipedia

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