The Dangers of Vegetable Oil
By Sarah Axtell, ND • September 12, 2017
You’ve likely heard vegetable oils are “heart-healthy” and that butter is bad. Here is why this is all wrong:
Vegetable oils (canola, corn, soy, peanut, sunflower and safflower) used to be considered healthy, but they are in fact the most toxic cooking oils. Vegetable oils contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). This means they have multiple double bonds between atoms in its molecular structure. These double bonds are unstable and should not be exposed to heat. When exposed to heat, the unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils can oxidize. When these fats are oxidized they’re dangerous to the body and can create inflammation, a known risk factor for heart disease.
Vegetable oil used to be recommended for heart disease as an alternative to saturated fats, such as butter. However, this study overturns this antiquated piece of nutrition advice and revealed that it’s possible that too much vegetable oil could actually increase the risk of heart disease — rather than decrease it.
In addition to promoting heart disease, cooking with vegetable oils can increase the risk of cancer due to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes. These chemicals have been linked to diseases including cancer, heart disease and dementia.
Unlike butter or coconut oil, these oils are highly processed! Canola oil, for example, must be processed with a petroleum solvent to extract the oil, heated (making it quite unstable) and then chemically deodorized to be palatable.
And to make it even worse, the processing of these oils is often taken another step forward to create the highly toxic shortening or margarine. This process is called hydrogenation, in which the unsaturated vegetable oils can be ‘hardened’ (or made solid at room temperature) by reacting them with hydrogen. This creates those trans fats we’ve all heard of and need to avoid at all costs!
3.GMO and Glyphosate
Not to mention these oils are extracted from some of the top genetically modified crops (corn, soy, canola) and have been contaminated with glyphosate- the active ingredient in the toxic herbicide Roundup.
What about Olive Oil?
While olive oil contains some polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), it is higher in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) than its vegetable oil counterparts. MUFAs can help lower cholesterol and control insulin levels in the body. In addition to olive oil, these monounsaturated fatty acids can be found in avocados, nuts and salmon.
So the consensus is that olive oil is healthy BUT buyer beware! Recent studies show low quality oils, such as soy or canola oil, and artificial coloring are labeled as extra-virgin olive oils to the American public. In the United States, the FDA does not routinely test imported olive oil for adulteration.
The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) tests samples and offers a Certified Quality Seal Program as a way to recognize and promote olive oils that measure up to the industry’s standards of excellence. Here is a list of seal brands that make the mark.
Note: Olive oil is best used for cold salads (not for heating).
My Favorite Oils
While butter is now considered healthy, I do not think it should be the only fat in your diet. I think the best diet is a varied diet. Here are my favorites:
For high heat cooking: Avocado oil, coconut oil, butter
For raw foods: Olive oil
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.