Palm Kernel Oil Allergy: What Are The Symptoms?

Out of the many tropical oils, one popular variety is hydrogenated palm kernel oil. Once limited to body products, soaps, and candles, palm kernel oil can now be found in many food items. Once you start reading labels, you’ll see it in baked goods, mayonnaise and crackers. Currently, there is much debate surrounding the healthfulness of this hydrogenated oil.

Palm kernel oil comes to form the seed of the oil palm fruit. It’s usually red in color and can be used as a substitute for any cooking oil. The oil is very similar to coconut oil, with about 80% saturated fat and 20% unsaturated fat.

What is Hydrogenation?

Hydrogenation is the process by which a hydrogen atom is bonded to the double bonds of a fatty acid chain. It turns oil from a liquid into a semi-solid state, making it more stable. The process creates trans fats, which have a proven negative effect on cholesterol levels.

Advantage or Disadvantage?

Hydrogenated palm kernel oil contains less trans fat than other hydrogenated oil. Since it already has a high amount of trans fats, it is not hydrogenated as much as other oils. This decreases the final amount of trans fats. That’s the good news.

The bad news centers around the health merits of any hydrogenated product. The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended that people limit their intake of foods containing saturated fat or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. The AHA flatly states that partially hydrogenated oils containing saturated and trans fats raise cholesterol levels.

Symptoms of a Palm Kernel Oil Allergy

Like other allergies, the reaction will vary person to person. You may have some combination of red, itchy rash with or without hives, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, stuffy/runny nose, congestion, facial swelling or red, itchy eyes. In rare cases, a life-threatening reaction may occur. Anaphylaxis may be present as difficulty breathing, and extremely low blood pressure with possible loss of consciousness. Immediate medical attention is necessary. If you know you have a reaction to palm kernel oil – whether or not it is hydrogenated – avoid exposure to this product.

Source: eMedicine Health
Photo: Pixabay

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