Palm oil is in greater demand these days because the United States banned the addition of trans fats to food and many manufacturers have turned to palm oil, which is an inexpensive substitute. 

Palm oil comes from the fleshy fruit of oil palms. Unrefined palm oil is sometimes referred to as red palm oil because of its reddish-orange color.

Palm oil is also used for cooking because of its high smoke point which means it's better suited for cooking foods at high temperatures. In terms of flavor, palm oil gives food a creamier, fattier mouthfeel. Palm oil is also versatile. It can be processed and blended to produce a vast range of products with different characteristics.

ALSO READ: Health benefits of Palm Kernel Oil

Palm oil is a very controversial ingredient but to what extent and why [Credit: Healthline]
Palm oil is a very controversial ingredient but to what extent and why [Credit: Healthline]

However, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil, all the so-called tropical oils, have gotten a bad reputation because they're high in saturated fat, which has long been linked to heart disease. 

Despite its high content of vitamin E, vitamin K and monounsaturated fats, palm oil may not be as healthy as most people think. Its saturated fat content might pose some risks to cardiovascular function.

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Considering this information, it's safe to say to palm oil health risks are negligible. Remember, moderation is the key. If you consume this oil as part of a balanced diet and don't go overboard, you're unlikely to experience side effects. 

While palm oil isn't as unhealthy as trans fats, it's better to go with healthier cooking oil options when you prepare food at home or eat out, such as olive oil.