Saturated fats, particularly those found naturally in meat and butter, have been unjustly attacked and demonized for many years. As an alternative to fats like butter and lard, vegetable oils were created in the Twentieth Century, when the technology to do so was finally available.
Oils such as canola, soybean, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, grapeseed, and ricebran were introduced to the human population with no consideration as to the extensive process it takes to produce and refine these oils.
The term “vegetable” oil is deceptive to make it seem that these oils are made from healthy vegetables. In actuality, they are made from the seeds of these plants and are not vegetable oils. They are, in reality, industrial seed oils.
Canola oil is derived from the rapeseed plant. The low erucic acid version of the oil was invented by a scientist at the University of Manitoba, Canada in the 1970s. Before this, it was used primarily as a lubricant in steam-powered engines.
Canola oil is a highly processed substance. It is made in a processing facility by heating and crushing the seeds of the rapeseed plant, then extracted using hexane solvent. This heat exposure pushes the oil past its heat tolerance and makes the oil rancid. It is then further refined with acid, filtered and bleached to remove color and taste, then deodorized to remove all odor. The remainder of the seed is used for animal feed.
Non-organic canola oil is made from genetically modified plants that are engineered to survive herbicide exposure. It also has many non-food uses including industrial lubricants, biodiesel fuel, candles, and ink.
One tablespoon of canola oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, 0.2 grams of that being trans fat. It has a good omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2:1, but you still have to get past the thought of putting genetically engineered molecules stripped by hexane into your body.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybean oil is the most widely produced and consumed oil in the U.S. It is used for frying, added to processed foods, and fed to livestock. It is produced in a similar fashion as canola oil, and is also genetically engineered to withstand herbicide exposure.
According to this study, soybean oil leads to obesity and diabetes. It is also linked to neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, anxiety, and depression.
One tablespoon of soybean oil has 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, with 0.1 grams trans fat per tablespoon. Its omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is anywhere between 7:1 and 13:1 depending on the level of processing.
The ideal omega-6/omega-3 ratio is 4:1 or less. The typical American diet has a ratio greater than 15:1. This contributes to cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory so eat them often!
See more about the omega-6/omega-3 ratio here.
Vegetable oils contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are susceptible to oxidation, a process that degrades them into forming harmful compounds.
The body’s cell membranes are made up of fatty acids. These membranes consist of the fat that you eat. Consuming vegetable oil makes cell membranes susceptible to oxidation.
Artificial trans fats are harmful even in small amounts. So harmful in fact, the the World Health Organization has called for a worldwide elimination of artificial trans fats in food by the year 2023.
When cooking with any oil, care needs to be taken with how much heat the oil can tolerate. If the oil can’t tolerate the amount of heat it is exposed to, it will become oxidized and actually change molecular state. This oxidized “chemical” is very bad for health.
For example, olive oil has a smoke point of 380 degrees F. This is low, and olive oil probably shouldn’t be used for cooking at all. Many people like to use canola oil for its high smoke point, 460 degrees F. A healthier alternative, however, is avocado oil with a smoke point of 482 degrees F.
Vegetable oils are cheap. The crops used to make them are subsidized by the government. They are found in nearly every packaged food, and are commonly used by restaurants because they are cheap. In other words, these oils are difficult to avoid. They are high in calories, trans fats, and pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats. Be on the lookout for them and avoid them to improve your health.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and is not intended for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your physician.