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The Truth About Vegetable Oils
For years the food and medical industry has touted vegetable oils to be ‘good for you’ and ‘heart healthy’. They have claimed that consuming saturated fat will cause heart disease but, the evidence is missing. What they have found is that saturated fats raise cholesterol and that vegetable oils lower cholesterol. Although, there is a lack evidence for the connection between the raising and lowering of cholesterol and heart disease.
Why are Vegetable Oils Bad?
Vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, soy, and canola are not as healthy as you have been led to believe. The term vegetable is misleading, these oils are actually processed from seeds, most of which are genetically engineered.
The United States is the largest consumer of canola oil worldwide but, you will never see a canola plant, it does not exist. Canola stands for Canadian oil low acid. It was given this name by the Canadian government to try and avoid the negative reputation of what it actually is, which is rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil was once only used for industrial purposes and was not fit for human consumption. In 1956 rapeseed oil was banned by the FDA because of the high amount of toxic erucic acid. It was not until the 1970’s that Canadian growers had bred a new variety with a lower content of erucic acid and this is when they decided to change the name from rapeseed to canola oil. Canada’s annual exports total 3 to 4 million tonnes of rapeseed, 800,000 tonnes of canola oil and 1 million tonnes of canola meal.
You should take a quick look at this short video to see exactly how canola oil is processed.
The reason people think vegetable oils are healthy is because they contain monounsaturated fat and omegas 3’s. Oils that are healthy for you such as olive oils also contain these fats but, are derived by cold-pressing. Vegetable oils are not cold pressed. Instead, they are processed and deodorized by using 300 degree heat and solvents like hexane (Hexane is a flammable chemical vapor component of gasoline, made from crude oil), this also includes canola oils labeled organic. The omega 3’s derived from vegetable oils have been transformed during the heating processes into trans-fatty acids. Vegetable oils are toxic when heated.
Vegetable oil is high in Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega 6’s should always be consumed in balance with omega-3’s and vegetable oil is proportionally higher in omega-6’s. Consuming higher quantities of omega-6 fatty acids has been know to cause inflammation and linked to other serious health concerns like cardiovascular disease. Most people are consuming an excess amount of omega-6’s compared to omega-3’s. The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6’s you should be consuming is 1:1, but the standard American diet is between 1:20 and 1:50
Unstable processed oils undergo oxidation at a fast rate, most are already oxidized before they even hit your grocery cart. Because vegetable oils are highly processed and deodorized you may not smell or taste their rancidity . When vegetable oils begin to oxidize, they react with oxygen to form free radicals and harmful compounds. Cooking with vegetable oils only accelerates their rate of free radical formation. When you consume rancid oil, your body’s cells become fragile and prone to oxidation, which can lead to all sorts of health problems. It’s no surprise that cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other diseases associated with free radical damage have become so prevalent today.
Saturated fats are not the big bad boogie man. There is no reason to be scared of consuming naturally derived saturated fat in moderation. Americans have been convinced for the last 50 years that saturated fast are unhealthy and cause disease. Nothing could be further from the truth! Here is just one of many studies that have concluded there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease or stroke.
When it comes to healthy oils, coconut is one of the most nutritious oils you can consume it is packed with vitamins and minerals. It was once thought to be unhealthy because of it’s high saturated fat content, but coconut oil is now prized for this reason. Coconut is rich in a Lauric Acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has proven health benefits such as eradicating fungi and bacteria. The oil has also been said to increase metabolism and improve the condition of hair and skin. Coconut oil has a long shelf life and is solid at room temperature. When choosing a coconut oil always make sure it is cold-pressed, organic and extra-virgin.
Real butter is actually nutritious and very good for you. More and more people have come to the realization that margarine is NOT a better substitute for butter, it is trans-fat and is harmful to your health. Butter contains butyrate, a four-carbon fatty acid and is also high in conjugated linoleic acid. Butyrate has been found to prevent our immune system from attacking friendly bacteria as well as reduces inflammation. Conjugated linoleic acid has been studied and shown to improve glucose tolerance and to reduce body fat mass in people who are overweight and obese. These health benefits of butter are only observed when consuming organic butter from grass-fed cows.
Lard and Tallow
Animal fats from animals that are naturally pasture-raised and grass-fed are excellent sources for cooking oil. Lard and tallow remains stable with a high smoke point, making it a great alternative to conventional cooking oils that generate free radicals when heated. Lard has been shown to be a good source of Vitamin D and conjugated linoleic acid, the main fat in lard. A study of oleic acid was shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
The mediterranean diet is rich in heart healthy fats like olive oil. But, olive oil is only healthy as long as it has not been oxidized and become rancid. Olive oil should be stored in a dark cool area, away from sunlight. Buyer beware, 70% of olive oils on the market today are not pure. They have been cut with less expensive toxic oils like soybean and have had chlorophyll added for color. To tell if a bottle of extra virgin olive oil is real, it should solidify or become thick and cloudy when put in the refrigerator.
I hope after reading and conducting your own research, that you will no longer be afraid to consume naturally derived saturated fats. But, I do hope you have seen how damaging vegetable oils can be toward your health. We live in a day where corporate greed abounds. Is there an agenda to keep you ill for profit? Why is the food and medical system still pushing a low-fat diet high in free radical damaging oils? When will people wake-up to the low-fat myth? I was once convinced of a low-fat diet, but the truth has set me free and my health has improved because of this.
photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net “Oil” by Idea go