Are You Eating Palm Oil Without Knowing It?

Palm oil has been receiving negative press for quite a while due to its many negative effects on the environment.  It is responsible for bringing several endangered species to the brink of extinction.  What products contain palm oil and how bad is it for your health?

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What’s Palm Oil? 
Palm oil is derived from oil palm originally native to Africa.  It is now widely produced in Indonesia, Malaysia, and some parts of Central America.  It is used in the production of a wide array of products from many processed foods consumed in America and elsewhere, to cleaning products and soaps, and even biofuel.  It is the second most widely used oil in the world after soy bean oil.
palm oil
What is the problem?
Palm oil is widely used because it is inexpensive and it can be used in wide array of products.  The issue with palm oil is that its high demand has caused a loss of 50% of Indonesia’s forests.   Farmers have destroyed these forests, both with and without local government consent, to plant the very coveted palm plant. Conservationists and animal lovers alike are alarmed by the deforestation, which has significantly impacted various species already in the brink of extinction such as the Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran tiger, and the Sumatran rhino.  Moreover, the unmanaged deforrestation is greatly affecting human induced-climate change which has increased global pollution by an alarming 8%.