WHO Revises Infographic on Nutrition Advice for Adults During COVID-19
World Health Organization (WHO) has revised campaign materials on nutrition advice that dismissed palm oil as a suitable product for consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
JAKARTA—World Health Organization (WHO) has revised campaign materials on nutrition advice that dismissed palm oil as a suitable product for consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The revision was to respond to the objections raised by Indonesia and the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) about flyer entitled "Nutrition Advice for Adults During Covid-19" published by the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, endorsing adults to avoid eating saturated fats, with palm oil under the list of oils and fats to avoid.
As published on the website of WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, the new flyer had changed suggestion “Don’t eat saturated fats” to “Eat less saturated fats” and removed palm oil from the list.
Chairman of Indonesian Palm Oil Board (DMSI) Derom Bangun was grateful for the revision. “The new flyer doesn’t mention palm oil on list of oils and fats to avoid. However, coconut oil remains on the list,” he said as quoted by Warta Ekonomi, (11/5/2020).
Earlier, objection letters were sent by Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesian Oil Palm Society (MAKSI), Southeast Asian Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (SEAFAST) Center LPPM IPB University, Indonesian Association of Food Technologists (IAFT), and CPOPC.
The ministry said Indonesia is concerned with the unbalanced content of the aforementioned materials that dismiss palm oil as a suitable product for consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The assumption that palm oil has negative impacts on health is a misperception that are still being contested until now. Indeed, there have been many other studies that describe the nutritional benefits of palm oil, including to enhance the immune system.
Various studies on palm oil [Cazzola (2017), Mukjerjee and Mitra (2009), Slover (1971) and Gunstone (1986)] have further shown that: palm oil contains phytosterols, a compound that can help reduce cholesterol; improve brain function, reduce the risk of blood clots, and lower blood pressure. Palm oil has also vitamin A and E, especially tocopherol and tocotrienols (antioxidants), that can increase the immune system. Additionally, palm oil contains more vitamin E compared to other vegetable oils.
Meanwhile, MAKSI, SEAFAST Centre LPPM-IPB University, dan IAFT stated that many scientific evidence have shown that balanced intake of saturated and unsaturated fats are needed during the entire lifespan of human being. Suggestion of omitting saturated fat from our diet could adversely deteriorate human health. In some degree saturated fat is needed in human metabolism. ***