Low contribution of palm oil to SAFA intake in France

Posted on: October 17, 2014

The consumption of palm oil in France is 2.8 grams per day representing approximately 4% of the total intake of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) in adults. This was the outcome of research done by Crédoc, the Research Center for study and observation of life and living conditions, and much lower than the previously estimated 5.5 g day. The results were presented by Pascale Hebel from Crédoc at a symposium organized by the French Alliance on the 14th October 2014 at Paris. Professor Bernard Guy-Grand, coordinator of the French Fund for Food and Health, stated that the limited contribution of palm oil to the SAFA intake of the French consumer does not justify the current negative image of palm oil on health.

Dr. Pascale Hebel, director of the consumption department of Crédoc, presented the results from the latest consumption study in France commissioned by The French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil. She pictured an average intake of 2.8g palm oil per person per day. This is almost half the previously estimated number of 5.5 g palm oil per person per day and relatively low  compared to a total SAFA intake of 30.5g (or 14.2 energy %) in the total diet. The study also showed an average intake of 3.3 g/day for the 3-14 year olds and 2.7 g/day for adults (15 years and older). When data were split into people with high and low consumption patterns of palm oil (tertiles), those with the highest consumption of palm oil had an average intake of 6.6 - 7 g/d.

In adults, palm oil contributes to approximately 4% to the total intake of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) in France. Professor Bernard Guy-Grand, coordinator of the French Fund for Food and Health, stated that the limited contribution of palm oil to SAFA intake does not justify the current negative image of palm oil consumption on health.

Dr. Patrick Serog, nutritionist, placed palm oil in the context of the diet of his patients. It is all about the diet. An unhealthy diet packed with snacks and empty calories, may not contain any palm oil. Instead of worrying about one nutrient, he emphasized we should be promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Frans Claassen, chairman of the European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA) explained that, considering the low contribution of palm oil to the SAFA intake, it is peculiar that the overall image of palm oil and health in Europe is negative. Debates on palm oil may be based on one-sided, biased or incorrect information and rebalancing the health image of palm oil requires a European approach. EPOA aims to create a pan-European platform and engage stakeholders at all levels, addressing any misconception on palm oil with fact based communication.

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