Check your pantry. What cooking oils are in there?
Are you one of the millions of people who continue to cook with corn or canola oils?
If you have any kind of vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, or cottonseed oil in your pantry - you need to throw them out IMMEDIATELY.
"But it's healthy," you say? After all, the TV commercials say that it helps lower cholesterol better than olive oil. If it's advertised like that it has to be true, right? Just check out this commercial for Mazola Corn Oil.
Did that commercial make you believe that you should be cooking with corn oil instead of olive oil?
The cooking oil industry is really making it sound like their oils are superior. Their marketing teams are very good. The sad thing is, so many people believe this to be true about corn or canola oil. The advertising works on them and they keep buying this poison to cook their food.
Why is canola oil so bad for you? Well, to answer this, we need to look at what canola oil is and where it comes from.
WHAT IS CANOLA OIL?
Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed plants (pictured left), that have been bred to have lower levels of toxic erucic acid. Before it was bred this way, it was called Rapeseed Oil and used for industrial purposes because the erucic acid in it caused heart damage in animal studies.
The name of canola oil was originally LEAR (low erucic acid rapeseed), but for marketing purposes was changed to canola oil. This word was derived from the combination of “Canada” and “ola,” meaning oil. It got the fancy new name “canola”, but it still contains trace amounts of erucic acid (up to 2%, which they consider “safe”).
In 1995, they also began genetically engineering (GMO) rapeseed to be resistant to herbicides, and now almost all canola crops in North America are GMO.
Canola oil consumption has been linked to vitamin E deficiency and a shortened life span in animal studies. Research has also found some trans fats in canola oil, which were created during the heavy processing that it goes through. These trans fats are not labeled. This is ironic because trans fats are the opposite of heart healthy! According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:
“Like all modern vegetable oils, canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming–all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And because canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids…research at the University of Florida at Gainesville, found trans levels as high as 4.6 percent in commercial liquid oil… they are not listed on the label”.
Check out the disgusting process that canola oil goes through to reach the consistency you know and use in your home.
What they don’t tell you in this video is that the “solvent” that is most often used to extract the oil is the neurotoxin hexane – and as you can see it’s literally bathed in it.
Hexane is a cheap byproduct from gasoline production, that’s a serious occupational hazard and toxic air pollutant. It’s been shown that some hexane residue can remain in the oil and the FDA doesn’t require food manufacturers to test for residues. YIKES!
Residue tests done by the Cornucopia Institute in 2009 found hexane residues in soybean oil. So, we very well could be eating this chemical everytime we cook with hexane-extracted oils. Almost all toxicology research focuses on the industrial use and inhalation of hexane, so no one knows exactly how dangerous eating it is – but it surely isn’t healthy!
DANGERS OF CANOLA OIL
1. KIDNEY AND LIVER PROBLEMS
The majority of canola oil produced today is genetically modified. The side effects of GMOs in general cannot be overstated.
In a 2011 review published in Environmental Sciences Europe, 19 studies of mammals fed GMO soybeans and corn were evaluated. The 90-day trials indicated liver and kidney problems as a result of GMO foods. The kidney and liver findings actually were differentiated by sex with the kidneys being disrupted by 43.5 percent in men and the liver being disrupted in women by 30.8 percent. (source)
The kidneys and the liver are absolutely vital to our existence so ingesting a genetically modified food like canola oil is really not something to take lightly.
2. HEART PROBLEMS
As a monounsaturated oil, rapeseed oil has high levels of erucic acid. Erucic acid is a fatty acid that’s associated with heart damage, specifically Keshan disease, a disease that manifests itself with fibrotic lesions of the heart. Studies have shown that in areas where people are prone to Keshan, not only are selenium levels lower, but eurucic acid levels are higher. (source)
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils like canola are also known for causing inflammation and calcification of arteries, which are well-established risk factors for coronary heart disease. (source)
3. HYPERTENSION AND STROKES
Previous studies have shown that the consumption of rapeseed oil and some other types of vegetable oils shortens the life span of stroke-prone and hypertensive animal subjects.
Specifically, research carried out at the Nutrition and Toxicology Research Divisions of Ottawa discovered that rats bred to have high blood pressure and proneness to stroke died sooner when fed canola oil as the sole source of fat. Additionally, the rats fed the non-canola oil-based diets lived longer than the rats fed canola oil. (source)
Another study published in 2000 in Toxicology Letters specifically looked at the effects of canola oil on blood coagulation time or how long it takes blood to clot in stroke-prone animal subjects. The study found that there was a “canola oil-induced shortening of blood coagulation time and increased fragility in [red blood cell membranes],” which may promote the occurrence of strokes in animal subjects that are stroke-prone. (source)
These are not health problems to take lightly. These serious concerns should be enough to change your ways of preparing food at home or what you buy at the grocery.
But, canola oil is not the only oil to worry about. Here are some other really awful cooking oils to avoid and throw out from your pantry...
COTTONSEED OIL - This is the worst oil of all. It’s a byproduct of the cotton crop that’s inundated with pesticides and chemicals because it’s regulated as a textile crop – not food!
Cottonseed oil does not belong in our food supply and should be strictly avoided. Thankfully, most cooking oils in the grocery store no longer contain cottonseed oil and this ingredient is mostly relegated to the processed food aisle. Cottonseed is widely being replaced in cooking oils with another oil that I avoid: soybean oil.
SOYBEAN OIL – Most products that just say “Vegetable Oil” are made from soybeans. It’s so common in processed foods that up to 20% of calories in the typical American diet is thought to come from soybean oil.
Soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and our bodies need this type of fatty acid, but people today are getting too much of it through processed foods – up to 20 times more than required, according to some estimates.
The overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids increases the risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Soybean oil is also typically made from GMOs, as 94% of U.S. soybean crops are genetically modified.
A recent survey showed that most Americans use “Wesson Vegetable Oil”, which is now made from soybeans (previously cottonseed). Wesson has confirmed they use GMOs in their oils (soybean, corn, canola).
Wesson brand is owned by Conagra Foods, which has donated over $2.6 million dollars to fight GMO labeling laws in the U.S., so everytime you buy their products you help fund these anti-labeling campaigns.
Other cooking oils that are often extracted with hexane and are high in omega-6 fatty acids include sunflower and safflower oils.
CORN OIL – Did you see Mazola's corn oil commercial posted above? The one where they are touting that corn oil lowers cholesterol better than olive oil?
Would it affect your opinion if I told you that Mazola’s parent company (ACH Food Companies) partially funded a study that they base this claim on? It definitely affects my opinion.
The truth that they don’t mention in their commercials is that corn oil is highly refined, hexane-extracted from GMO corn, and loaded with omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are unstable when exposed to heat.
This instability causes oxidation, a process that generates free radicals. Free radicals are renegade molecules in the body that damage cells, triggering a host of diseases from liver damage to cancer.
When contacted, Mazola confirmed that their cooking oils are made from GMOs (corn, soybean, canola) and that they use hexane extraction for all oils, except for their olive oils.
As you can see, what we once thought was healthy, is no longer even safe to ingest. To keep your family and yourself heart healthy, be sure to get these nasty oils out of your cabinet or pantry immediately and replace them with healthier oils.
HEALTHIER OIL ALTERNATIVES
I cook with a variety of oils, depending on what I’m cooking. Only some oils are stable when exposed to heat, so I choose those oils for sautéing and stir frying, and the others work great for cold items like salad dressing.
It's best to look for unrefined, expeller pressed organic oils and verify cold-pressed claims by contacting the company directly, only buying from those you trust. GMOs and hexane extraction are prohibited in organic oil production, so you can avoid those simply by choosing organic oils.
COCONUT OIL – Coconut oil is almost completely saturated fat, but don’t let that scare you. The tropical saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which have been shown to actually reduce cholesterol and obesity (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4).
A good choice for organic, expeller cold-pressed, unrefined and never deodorized or bleached coconut oil is Nutiva's Virgin Coconut oil. It tolerates temperatures up to about 350 degrees, so it’s great for most baking and medium-high heat sauteing. Nutiva also has a steam refined version (no chemicals) that you can use for cooking up to 400 degrees, so this is my go-to oil for high heat stir fry’s. Other oils that are good for high heat cooking include avocado oil and almond oil.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL – Beware that there’s olive oil fraud going on, and some brands are mixed with unlabeled GMO oils (like soybean oil), so it’s important to find a brand you trust. Check out Papa Vince’s oil which is simply cold pressed from fresh green olives, and has amazing health benefits. I like to use olive oil to make my own salad dressings.
EXTRA VIRGIN SESAME OIL – It naturally contains vitamin E (an antioxidant), vitamin B-6, zinc, magnesium, calcium, copper and iron. Unrefined sesame oil is best used for low-heat sauteing and works great when used sparingly as a condiment because it has a strong flavor. A naturally refined version is better for high-heat stir frys.
Grass-fed butter and organic ghee are also great for cooking.
If you know someone who is still using canola oil, corn or soy oils in their cooking, please share this blog post with them! Keep yourself and your family healthy by switching your cooking oil to something safer and heart healthy!
Are you still cooking with unhealthy oils in your house? Let me know in the comments below!
Yours in Health & Happiness,
P.S. Did you know that those free radicals that form in your body from poor diet and outside influences can be fought with Oolong tea? Just 2 cups every day is all it takes to reverse the damage done by these nasty free radicals which can lead to disease and cancer in your body. Who wouldn't want to prevent disease and cancer to live a longer, happier life?
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