The use of refined vegetable oils increased drastically in the past century due to technology as we can now extract them and health because they were thought to be “heart-healthy” which isn’t necessarily true. There are a few things that make some oils a better choice than others:
- Extraction method - Commercial processing of veg. oils is usually done by chemical extraction, using solvent extracts (hexane – from petroleum) to produce higher yields quickly & cheaply. After extraction, the solvent is evaporated out by heating the mixture which oxidises the unsaturated fatty acids. Then they are often purified, refined, & sometimes chemically altered.
- Omega 6: omega 3 ratio - The original ratio that we used to get naturally in our diet was about 1:1, but now most who eat a common western diet have ratios more like 20:1. High amounts of omega 6s are thought to cause chronic inflammation, increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease, arthritis & inflammatory bowel disease.
- Poly-unsaturated fatty acid content – These oils are susceptible to oxidation due to their chemical structure as they start deteriorating when exposed to oxygen. Because of this, antioxidants are added to decrease oxidation & rancidity. These antioxidants actually act as carcinogens & effect the endocrine & immune system.
- Trans fat content – Trans fats are created as byproducts when oils are hydrogenated, turning them into solids at room temperature (eg margarine). This involves "sparging" the oil at high temps & pressure with hydrogen & a catalyst, like a powdered nickel compound. Non-hydrogenated veg. oils can also contain trans fats through the process of deodorization using chemicals. Trans fats can damage DNA, proteins & membranes, raising the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease & cancer.
What oils are not recommended to use?
Oils that are not recommended to use due to the reasons above are: sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, soybean oil (also high GMO), rice bran oil and margarine.
What oils ARE recommended to use?
So what oils are left?? Not many! EVOO and coconut oil are good for cooking & avocado, macadamia, flaxseed & extra virgin olive oil are good for dressings. We choose to use organic EVOO & coconut oil at Sip Kitchen.
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