One of the most misunderstood foods in the world of health is vegetable oils. You have undoubtedly heard that vegetable oils are preferable to those artery clogging oils like butter, but did you know that there really is no science to back up these claims?
Let's take a minute or two to look at these kinds of oils and clear up the confusion as to what is a heart healthy oil and what isn't.
Oils that are extracted from seeds, such as corn, soybeans, canola (rapeseed), sunflowers, etc., (And margarines that are made with these oils) did not even exist a little more than 100 years ago.
In the early 1900's, a new chemical process allowed us to extract these oils from seeds. So in terms of our evolution, humans are eating something that, while coming from a natural food, is anything but natural.
Butter comes from a truly natural source; the cream of cows is simply beaten until it forms butter. Coconut oil and olive oil are also natural as we simply press the food, squeezing out the oil.
However, we cannot simply press sunflowers or corn and extract oil. To get the oil from these foods, we need chemicals. Most people are unaware of this procedure, however.
One of the things most people are unaware of is that almost all vegetable oils are made from GMO foods. Whether you think GMO's are good or bad, there is no denying that they are heavily sprayed with herbicides.
Rapeseed is a good example. In its natural state, rapeseed smells pretty ugly. Rapeseed was genetically modified to remove most of the bad smell. Even the name was changed to Canola oil, because let's face it; rapeseed is not a very marketable name.
To make canola oil, the seeds need to be super heated, along with a petroleum based solvent, to extract the oil from the seeds. Doesn't that sound appetizing? The oil is then heated again, and a type of acid is used to remove the wax that is created in the first heat process.
Now the oil is treated with other chemicals to make it look and smell more appealing. If this were not bad enough, the oil must be subjected to another process, called hydrogenation, if it is going to be made into margarine or shortening, use canola oil is in a liquid state unless it is hydrogenated.
It is during the hydrogenation process that those ugly trans-fats are formed. Trans-fats are the most dangerous man-made source of fat ever created! It is trans-fats that clog your arteries and cause heart disease.
Who do you trust, chemist or cow?
Wow. What a difference! Whoever said that butter was unhealthy didn't know what they were talking about!
Vegetable oils were created somewhere in the early 1900's. Up until that time, people consumed natural fats, such as butter, lard, cream, etc.
Humans aren't consuming more oil, but we are definitely consuming a type of oil that is no longer natural. Commercially made vegetable oil in the 1900's consisted of olive oil and coconut oil.
Somewhere in the 1950's, health experts began telling people that vegetable oils, such as corn oil, were better for them than those "artery clogging saturated fats". Companies saw an opportunity to market their products as a "healthy alternative" and people bought into it.
Since butter and natural fats were demonized, vegetable oils and shortening have been used almost exclusively in processed foods, and in most fast food restaurants for frying or cooking.
How many of you are old enough to remember when a famous McFast food chain used to advertise outside their restaurants with billboards reading "We now use healthy corn oil in our food!"?
Remember that these oils are not natural, which means our bodies are not set up to consume them. The human body is made up of about 97 percent of monounsaturated and saturated fat, with the other 3 percent being polyunsaturated fats. One half of that 3 percent is Omega-3 fatty acids.
Our bodies need fat for proper hormone production, as well as building new cells. However, our bodies are forced to use whatever we feed them. This means that when we consume a great deal of polyunsaturated fats, our bodies have no choice but to use those fats to make new cells.
This is problematic because polyunsaturated fats oxidize easily inside the body and are very unstable. In fact, you are probably consuming oxidized vegetable oils because of their exposure to light or heat inside warehouses and grocery stores. Oxidized fats cause inflammation in the body, which is the driver for disease.
Inflammation and oxidation also cause cell mutation, which clog arteries, lead to skin problems, and even affect our reproductive organs.
Our bodies are almost pure saturated and monounsaturated fats. Doesn't it make sense that these are the types of oils (fats) that we should be eating?
Most people have never even heard of Omega-6 fatty acids. This is most likely because food manufacturers don't want you to know that their oils have high levels of omega-6 fatty acids.
Our body needs a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, due to vegetable oils, most of us eat a great deal more omega-6 than omega-3.
Like polyunsaturated fats, omega-6 fats are oxidized by heat and light. This imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 has been linked to skin cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
Remember that our body contains only about 3 percent of polyunsaturated fats, with half being omega-3 and half omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to fight cancer and other diseases by decreasing inflammation. An excess of omega-6 fatty acids leads to inflammation. Our bodies know that they need a perfect balance, but humans don't seem to understand this.
Now that you know how vegetables oils are made, it should come as no surprise that they are loaded with damaging chemicals. Almost all of these vegetable oils contain BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene).
You have probably tried to avoid these chemicals in your plastic containers, but did you realize they are in vegetable oils? Don't worry; most people are unaware of this.
BHA and BHT are synthetic (fake) antioxidants, intended to prevent the oil or food from going rancid too quickly. The problem is that these chemicals are known to be carcinogens in humans. They are linked to liver damage, immune system problems, sterility, high cholesterol and kidney problems.
Vegetable oils can be very damaging to both the reproductive system, as well as the developing bodies of children. The human reproductive system of both sexes is constantly dividing and producing new cells, which means that these cells can also be made up from the wrong type of fats, as well as risk being oxidized in the body.
Excessive consumption of vegetable oils, especially those that are hardened via hydrogenation (such as margarine) are especially damaging as they interrupt the production of hormones.
As we mentioned before, these types of oil oxidize very easily, which means they can quickly deplete antioxidants stored in the body. Eating a diet high in these types of oils can also cause low levels of vitamin E and other types of vitamins.
These oils have also been linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, weight gain, and increased levels of uric acid in the blood, which leads to gout.
Since there are so many healthy alternatives, it's a wonder why anyone would still want to consume oils that are known to damage your health!
Corn oil, sunflower and Canola oil generates very high levels of aldehydes, up to 20 times higher than recommended by the World Health Organisation.
If you aren't sure which oils to avoid, here is a list of oils that have little or no nutritional value.
Avoiding bottled or packaged oils are fairly easy, but finding which foods contains them is not an easy task! Hundreds, if not thousands, of these foods contain vegetable oils, but don’t always list them in a way that you would recognize.
First, avoid anything that states it contains partially hydrogenated anything! Another misleading label will say "Might Contain or May Contain Soybean or Canola or Peanut Oil". There is no might or maybe, it does! Avoid these like the plague!
Other foods which usually contain vegetable oils include:
There are a great many healthy fats and oils that your body can actually use! Check out the list below for some of the best choices.
Coconut oil, along with olive oil, ghee and butter are some of the healthiest oils
For more on healthy fats.
This is the superstar of fats and healthy oils. Since our bodies are made up of mostly saturated fats, it’s no wonder that coconut oil is so favored by our bodies; it’s made up of 96 percent saturated fat! This oil does not oxidize easily and can be used safely in high temperature cooking.
We recommend extra virgin, cold pressed and unrefined coconut oils from Viva Naturals
Meat sure gets a bad rap in many places, but when the animals are raised correctly, they are a terrific source of healthy, saturated fats. Always buy grass fed, free range, organic meat whenever possible.
Like meat, eggs from free range, organic chickens have more omega-3 fatty acids than their non-organic counterparts. You will taste the difference right away!
Everyone knows that fish is healthy, but did you know that cold water fish, such as salmon and sardines, are loaded with those omega-3 fatty acids? Fish also help to maintain that natural omega-3/omega-6 balance that is so important to the body. Look for wild caught whenever possible.
Is there anything more delicious than real butter and thick cream? Most people are only too happy to go back to these basic natural food items. Try to find butter from grass fed cows for a terrific source of fat soluble vitamins. You can add real cream to your morning coffee and don’t forget that real whipped cream, not the junk in a can, is a tasty topping on your fruit.
We recommend 100% organic ghee from grass-fed cows from Acient Organics
Who doesn't love guacamole?! Imagine eating avocados a few times each week and know that your body is loving you for it? Avocado’s are high in monounsaturated fats and taste good in salads, sandwiches, you name it! Avocado oil tastes something like milk and is a nice alternative for salad dressings.
This healthy favorite is high in monounsaturated fats, but low in polyunsaturated fats, so use this oil in salad dressings, dipping sauces, and your own homemade mayo. Don't use this for high temperature cooking as it can oxidize at high temperatures.
We recommed extra virgin, cold-pressed, unfiltered and unrefined olive oil from Papa Vince
This is a great choice since it is high in saturated fat and is also heat stable, but some people have concerns that the production of this oil is endangering animals and ruining natural habitats. If you can’t find a brand which states it is made from “sustainable sources”, use coconut oil instead.
While some fats are nutritious, they are high in Omega-6 and should be consumed only in moderation. These fats are:
Since no one likes to waste money or food, you might think that you will start buying healthy oils as soon as you finish up the unhealthy ones in your kitchen.
For your health's sake, don’t do it. Put them in the garage and use them to oil tools or use them to make your own wood polish, throw them out if you want, but don't eat them!