What You Need to Know About Palm Oil in Baby Formula
If you’re a big ingredient reader as a new parent, you’re not alone. Parents want to be in the
know when it comes to anything that their babies are ingesting. It’s a great habit to have
because you should always be aware of what your baby is consuming and how it can affect
their tiny bodies.
When it comes to baby formula, you may have noticed palm oil listed as an ingredient. Palm oil
is widely used in foods, so why is it added to baby formula and what impacts can it have? We’re
going to dive deeper into the subject so that you can be informed when it comes to what’s
included in your baby’s formula.
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is derived from the fleshy fruit of oil palms. It’s widely used for cooking and is also
added to many ready-to-eat foods you find in your grocery store. Palm oil is one of the most
popular oils worldwide as it accounts for one-third of global plant oil production. It is also one of
the least expensive. Palm oil is known for its savory and earthy taste.
Why is Palm Oil Used in Baby Formula?
One of the main goals baby formula producers have is to make their products as similar to
breast milk as possible. This means looking for ingredients that can provide a somewhat similar
composition of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that breast milk contains.
One of the most important components of breast milk is fat, so baby formula is also going to rely
on sources of fatty acids to give babies the nutrition they need. Palm oil is often used in some
infant formulas to match the fatty acid profile of human milk.
Palmitic acid is one of the most prevalent fatty acids found in breast milk. Baby formulas are
known to use a blend of vegetable oils as their primary source of fatty acids. These typically
include palm, safflower, sunflower, and rapeseed oil.
Although palm oil and breast milk can both give babies palmitic acid, the impact on the baby’s
system is different. Palmitic acid from palm oil is typically not absorbed as well as palmitic acid
from breast milk. The palmitic acid from palm oil can end up floating in a baby’s intestines. This
is where it binds with calcium molecules and forms calcium soaps. These indicate palmitic acid
calcium that is not being absorbed. Any of this gets out of the body through normal bowel
Palm Oil Benefits
Palm oil is known to have health benefits when it is included in foods. These include:
● Protecting brain function
● Reducing risk factors of heart disease
● Improving Vitamin A levels
Studies have suggested that palm oil may be able to reduce the risk of stroke and slow the
progression of dementia. There has also been research to indicate that palm oil can lower bad
cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol.
Red palm oil may also improvise Vitamin A levels in people who have a deficiency or are at risk
for deficiency. Palm oil is rich in carotenoids which the body can convert into Vitamin A.
Palm Oil Concerns & Sustainability
One of the main concerns about palm oil in baby formula has to do with how it impacts calcium
absorption and skeletal development. Some studies have shown that palm oil can lower calcium
and fat absorption. When it comes to health issues, that is the one concern that is often
There are also concerns about how palm oil is produced and its impact on the environment.
Much of the world’s palm oil is produced with methods that can be detrimental to the world’s
ecosystems. But, if you are buying organic baby formula that contains palm oil from brands like
HiPP and Holle you can feel confident that both companies use palm oil that is sustainably
sourced and socially responsible.
At Organic Baby Formula, we provide baby formula that includes the best organic ingredients to
help your baby’s development and growth. All of our formulas from Holle, HiPP, and Jovie have
no preservatives, GMOs, or added sweeteners so you can feel confident about the nutrition you
are giving your baby. We know how important it is to give your baby a healthy start and we
strive to provide products that do just that!