Vegetable oil sounds okay. Canola rhymes with granola. But are the oils you’re cooking with actually far more dangerous than their names suggest?
The short answer is yes. If you’re not careful about selecting the right cooking oils, you can easily be consuming GMO products that contain harmful chemical residues.
What’s in the cooking oil nutrition facts?
Many cooking oils that have been promoted as “healthy” are in fact incredibly processed. And while some processing is necessary to extract the oil, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to go about doing it.
Unfortunately, the cheapest and easiest way is to use a neurotoxin called hexane, a cheap byproduct from the production of gas. Many oils are actually bathed in hexane, which has been shown to leave a residue and which the FDA does not require manufacturers to test for. So there is no way to know for sure if you are eating hexane, and no way to know its effects.
The other big concern is GMO ingredients. Big name brands like Mazola Corn Oil, Wesson Vegetable Oil, Crisco Vegetable Oil, and Smart Balance Oil have all admitted that their oils are made from GMO ingredients.
Kinds of Cooking Oil to Avoid
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Soybean or “Vegetable” Oil – the vegetables in “vegetable” oil are almost always soybeans, and are almost always genetically modified. Name brands like Smart Balance use chemicals in their extracting process, while Wesson Vegetable Oil helps fund the fight against proper GMO labeling laws.
Canola Oil – is made of GM rapeseed and has been shown to have trans fat and been linked to a shorter life span in studies. Crisco and Mazola have openly admitted that they use hexane in their production. Plus, it may contain trace amounts of erucic acid, which can damage your heart.
Corn Oil – is extracted with hexane from GMO corn. Even worse, its polyunsaturated fatty acids can oxidize if heated leading to the creation of free radicals, which can cause cell damage, cancer, and liver disease.
What Expeller Pressed Means
The more old-fashioned and chemical-free way to extract oil is by using a screw press. It is more costly and less efficient, which is why most large corporations prefer the chemical method.
Another downside to using a screw press is that a lot of heat is produced, which can cause the oil to go bad. As a result, the best method is called cold pressing, which is the most labor-intensive, but produces the best quality oils.
You should look for cold pressed oil when possible, though in the US the label is not closely regulated.
What Are The Safest Oils to Use?
Coconut Oil – if organic and expeller cold pressed, coconut oil is full of healthy fats and is great for baking and cooking on the stove.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – though you must be careful with which brand you buy, organic olive oil has a variety of health benefits and is excellent for salad dressings.
Extra Virgin Sesame Oil – is full of healthy nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and iron, and is best used as a condiment or only under low heat.
To learn more about which cooking oils are good and which are bad check out Food Babe.
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