There is so much risible nonsense these days, but there’s nothing more risible than the disingenuous guff released by environmental groups on palm oil! It’s gotten so bad that when you read anything on palm oil, you should look beneath the sauce to see if it’s pasta.
We’re moved to write these series of papers detailing the lies that are fed to the world at large by green groups and blindly regurgitated by a main stream media that is too undermanned or too lazy to investigate the roiling cauldron of blunderbuss allegations against what is probably the world’s healhtiest and most sustainable oilseed crop bar none!
However, in truth the first attacks against palm oil probably started innocently enough. In the mid-eighties, American millionaire industrialist, Phil Sokolof suffered a heart attack and the industrialist on being advised by his doctors that it was caused by consumption of saturated fats, began a misguided campaign against tropical oils in processed foods, mainly palm and coconut oil.
Sokolov’s campaign, “The Poisoning of America,” featured nationwide full-page newspaper ads describing the ‘dangers’ of saturated fats found in tropical oils. (see: http://articles.latimes.com/2004/apr/16/local/me-sokolof16) Palm oil was subsequently linked to increasing blood cholesterol levels as well as heart disease risk among Americans; a reputation that looms to this day.
Palm oil does in fact contain a higher percentage of saturated fat in comparison to ‘heart healthy’ fats, like olive oil, but half of palm oil’s fat content is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – known to increase HDL, ‘good cholesterol’ and benefit the cardiovascular system. Palm oil is also a rich source of vitamin E. Crude palm oil has a deep red hue and is rich in vitamins such as vitamin A (beta-carotene), minerals, antioxidants and other phytonutrients.
Sokolov was correct that palm oil and other tropical oils are high in saturated fats but, in contrast with animal fats, plant sources do not contain cholesterol. Twenty plus years later, countless research has proven that animal sources of saturated fats and trans fats pose far greater heart disease risk than their green counterparts which can be a healthy addition to a varied and balanced diet – something Sokolov’s campaign wasn’t aware of.
Sokolof’s views on palm oil are now largely discredited as reams of scientific studies have shown that palm oil is, in fact heart friendly as the saturated fatty acids in the sn-1 and -3 position (typically found in palm oil) has very different biological consequences than animal fats such as lard and milk fats as the saturated fats are primarily found in the sn-2 position!(see: Donald J. McNamara, PhD: “Palm Oil and Heart Health: A case of Manipulated Perception and Misuse of Science” 240S Vol 29 No. 3(s) Journal of the American College of Nutrition)
Palm oil is also the richest source of the heart friendly anti-oxidant tocotrienol, a superior form of Vitamin E as well as other heart friendly phyto-nutrients such as Co Enzyme Q10, betacarotenes and other polyphenols.
However, Sokolof’s campaigns did raise eyebrows and attracted the attention not only of food manufacturers and fast food chains but also anti-palm oil lobbyists who were funded by forces who stood to benefit from halting the edible oil market juggernaut that was palm oil.
First to jump on the bandwagon was the oddly named Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Helmed by Michael Jacobson, a microbiologist who curiously started CSPI with 2 lawyer friends in 1971, CSPI has developed a reputation for utter disregard of the truth and scientific facts, frequently exaggerating figures and claims to advance their own agenda (with the help of an annual revenue of USD 16 Million.)
CSPI, having witnessed the effect of Sokolof’s tropical oils and saturated fats campaigns, was not going to let the opportunity slip. THE END… to be continued.