Thursday, July 02, 2015

Red palm oil, hype or help?

In this morning’s World’s Healthiest Foods Newsletter, I thought I’d be seeing an article about organic red palm oil, but instead it was on yesterday’s topic, cast iron skillets, which didn’t appear when it was announced.  So I looked it up on Google.  Google now puts mostly advertising first so after wading through about 10 pages of listings, I finally got to an analysis of the hype. Red Palm Oil is the New Coconut Oil on a website that analyzes food trends, fads, and hype. 

Red palm oil (or red palm fruit oil) is extracted from red-hued fruits of palm trees that grow in Indonesia and Malaysia.   The color of the oil remains red due to the beta carotene inside.  This precursor of vitamin A is the same compound that contributes to the color of carrots and other orange-red hued vegetables and fruits.

So it’s true that red palm oil supplies vitamin A.  In fact, the Micronutrient Initiative is exploring the use of red palm oil as part of a food-based approach to vitamin A supplementation in Africa and other parts of the world.  Vitamin A deficiency is a critical issue in developing countries, where it’s the leading cause of blindness (and can even result in death).  However, vitamin A deficiency is rare in this country, and there are certainly much better ways for all of us to get this nutrient, such as eating red or orange vegetables and fruits!

Ah. . . if it is used in a 3rd World country, is must be good. This article primarily goes after a Dr. Oz program on the topic (video not available).  I’ve come to see him (when I do) as great entertainment and a 21st century huckster, snake oil salesman. The Joe Schwarcz article gets a 404 no matter how I try to find it. But it’s a great quote: “As is usually the case with Oz’s miracles, there is a seed of truth that then gets fertilized with lots of verbal manure until it grows into a tree that bears fruit dripping with unsubstantiated hype.”

I guess I’ll have to wait a day to see what the newsletter says.  It’s web page seems to have it’s link confuse.  I’ll update tomorrow.

1 comment:

Rosy smith said...

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