Italian Government Confirms: Palm Oil is Healthy
The new CREA – guidelines confirm the healthiness of palm oil. Italian Government belies – yet again – those who denigrate it.
CREA (Council for Agricultural Research and Analysis of Agricultural Economics) has published its Guidelines for Healthy Eating: if included in a balanced diet, palm oil is a totally normal ingredient. The Guidelines contradict all those who, without the back-up of scientific proof, have repeatedly accused this ingredient of being harmful, or even carcinogenic, confusing consumers. This has led to public alarms and contributed to the spreading of falsehoods and fake news.
New Guidelines confirm palm oil is healthy
In these new Guidelines, CREA, a Government Agency reporting to the Ministry of Agriculture, confirms how NO INGREDIENT “(…), palm oil included, can be defined either “good” or “bad” and, above all, it is conceptually wrong to speak about the positive or negative nutritional value of a single element without placing it in a global dietary context”. In fact, CREA calls into question those who have eliminated palm oil from their diet in order to reduce saturated fats, exactly as we have demonstrated with our research – read it here >>>.
Saturate fats are not a problem
Even if palm oil is replaced with ingredients containing a lower level of saturated fats, the quantity of these fats in the final product may either remain the same, may even rise in some cases or decrease to a negligible extent. Returning to the updated Guidelines: “For palm oil sources, the same advice applies as for all other sources of fats, and particularly saturated fats, i.e. consume in moderation. What consumers should do – in addition to reading the ingredients on product labels – is also to check whether the “nutritional facts” state the quantity of saturated fatty acids in the products they purchase. The consumption of saturated fatty acids, whatever their origin, must be limited”.
So the problem is not so much palm oil or its substitutes, but consumer behavior and the information they receive.
Also on the subject of “process contaminants”, the last bastion of opposition for those who – unjustly – demonize palm oil, CREA is crystal clear. In the Guidelines, it is explained that these contaminants “are present in all vegetable oils processed at high temperatures, and so it is necessary and of fundamental importance for their content to be controlled and kept below certain parameters”. This is the reason why some food companies have stopped using palm oil: due to their technical inability to process it in such a way as to reduce these contaminants. Instead, they have chosen seed oils with potentially fewer contaminants in origin, but with a final quantity – due to the industrial processing phase – that can actually be higher than that of palm oil.
For CREA, choosing palm oil is the most effective way to eliminate dangerous trans fats: “The use of saturated vegetable fats from tropical crops (palm and coconut) has made it possible to abandon the old process of “chemical” saturation of unsaturated vegetable fats through catalytic hydrogenation for the production of margarines (…). The availability of an oil rich in saturated fats such as palm oil has therefore made it possible to obtain an ingredient that is widely used in the preparation of many products, especially bakery products, and in frying-oil mixtures for catering, both because it is an economical substitute for butter and because it is extremely stable even at high temperatures. Further plus points: it does not go rancid, it is tasteless in its refined form and it gives the products a better texture, stability and structure”.
Italian Government Supports Palm Oil
CREA guidelines, which are the fruit of meticulous scientific analysis, reinforce what scientists and distinguished physicians have been saying for some time: in a balanced diet, palm oil has no negative impact on health. On the contrary, due to its chemical and physical characteristics, it includes important nutrients, such as vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols).
Better than Butter
But if, as CREA proclaims, palm oil is “like butter” but with less saturated fats, then why does Coldiretti continue to demonize it? And even more important, why have certain food companies, which have invested millions of euros in advertising against palm oil, chosen not to rely on science in order to guarantee the consumer the use of an ingredient that is both healthy and economical? Why have they preferred to confuse the consumer with false claims, appealing to a precautionary principle which is not their responsibility?
Once again, science is clear: palm oil is perfectly wholesome!!! To which we add: it costs less, and is better than many other oils used in food processing. Those who have supplanted it have done so out of ignorance or bad faith. One or the other, or perhaps both.