When it comes to eating healthy, it starts with what you are cooking WITH.
With the endless choices of cooking fats on the store shelves it’s hard to know which to choose. There is the butter vs. margarine debate. Should you choose extra virgin olive oil or a refined oil like vegetable or canola oil?
There is ample evidence suggesting that animal fats aren’t the primary cause for our epidemic levels of heart disease, but vegetable oils. Research is showing that butter consumption at the turn of the century was about 18 lbs. per person per year and the use of vegetable oils was non existent. Cancer and heart disease were rare.
Today butter consumption is just above 4 lbs. per person per year while the use of vegetable oils and refined oils has SOARED.
What are refined oils and which ones should you avoid?
Let’s begin by clarifying that healthy fats are an essential part of healthy living. But not all fats are created equal.
Olive oil, for example, that is UNrefined, uses olives that have been pressed to extract the oil. There ARE health benefits to using pure, unrefined olive oil.
With that being said, let’s dive a little deeper in the refining process.
Definition: Oil that has been refined has been altered by using chemicals that are harmful to us. In short it means to ‘purify’.
But the meaning of purify has many definitions. It may mean the oil was treated with acid, or purified with an alkali, or bleached. It can also be neutralized, filtered or deodorized. All of which require chemicals like Hexane.
In the process of making and refining these types of oils, it leads to PUFas (rancid polyunsaturated fatty acids) which DO NOT hold up well to high heats. In the process of being extracted from the seed these oils oxidize and turn into trans fats. The smell is so rancid that a cleaning process has to take place using bleach to deodorize it.
Refined Oils You Should Avoid:
- Canola oil
- Vegetable oil
- Corn oils
- Margarine (or any other ‘buttery’ spread)
As dangerous as refined oils can be to our health, even more dangerous is the repeated use of Hydrogenated oils (Crisco and margarine). These are some of the most dangerous products on the market today! They have been BANNED in 2 European countries, but are still deemed safe in the United States.
Hydrogenated oil is made by forcing hydrogen gas into oil at high pressure. The more solid the oil is the more hydrogenated the end product, such as margarine and Crisco or lard.
When hydrogenated oils are made the healthy fats are converted into a new type of fat, known as trans fat. This is one subject that has overwhelming support from Doctors, scholars, and scientists alike.
Trans fats should be avoided while healthy fats (found in olive oil, nuts and avocados) should be eaten.
Trans fats are so bad for you, the FDA estimated approximately 95% of prepared cookies, 100% of crackers and 80% of frozen breakfast products contained trans fats [source: Govt Publishing Office]
Now that trans fats have to be labeled on products, most companies have removed them from their products. Sneaky, huh?
We can control what we buy and prepare in our own homes, but what if we dine out? How can we know what types of oils restaurants are using?
California’s governor recently signed legislation to phase out trans fats from restaurants and baked goods in bakeries [Natl Conference of State Legislatures] and New York city became the largest city in the nation to demand restaurants, cafeterias and schools go trans free.
The best advice I can give is to ASK. Don’t be shy to ask the waiter if the salad dressing is made in house or store bought. Ask what types of oils they use when they cook. Don’t turn a blind eye.
Most restaurants will put the bottom line (their profits) over your health. I hate to say that, but it’s true.
So which oils are safe then?
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Although Extra virgin olive oil contains a high amount of saturated fat (about 12%) it is one of the few unrefined oils. This means the antioxidants in the original fruit are retained because the oil is extracted by machine only.
Olive oil is usually good 3-12 months after it has been bottled. After 2 years you can expect the fruity flavors to begin disappearing. It is best to buy your oil from a local store that specializes in oils. Purchase them in smaller quantities so they are not sitting in your pantry for months. And NEVER store them over the stove. Keep the bottle sealed and avoid light if possible.
2. Olive oil
This can be tricky because plain olive oil is usually a blend of refined, virgin and extra virgin olive oils. Read the label to know what you are getting.
3. Organic Butter
Butter, like eggs and coconut oil, have been given a bad rap. These are the same marketers who said aspartame and margarine were healthy choices! Butter is a good, safe, WHOLE FOOD choice.
The best choice would be butter from raw milk grass fed cows and the second choice, which is more accessible to most of us, is organic, which is from milk of grass fed cows with NO rBGH injected into them.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is the least fattening of all oils. It got a bad rap back in the 1970s, but the misinformation out there is outdated and coconut oil is one of the better oils for you.
The Bottom Line:
Try to avoid any refined oils – period. They are cheap. They are processed and they are downright dangerous to your health.
Make a choice today to choose healthy olive oils. Learn about them. Find a store that specializes just in oils. There are so many varieties and flavors. Cooking with them vs store bought EVOO has opened up a whole new world for me.
They can be more expensive than what we are used to paying, but the flavor is like filet mignon vs. chuck beef. Start slowly with a companies most popular oil and gradually experiment with other flavors.
“Trans fats are so bad for you, the FDA estimated approximately 95% of prepared cookies, 100% of crackers and 80% of frozen breakfast products contained trans fats”
Kind of a non sequitur…
sunflower-seed oil may be created in 2 ways in which, includes pressing technique and solvent extraction technique. Totally different|completely different} ways owns different benefits. sunflower-seed oil producers will select one per the process capability of material and process desires truly.
Too complicated. I just avoid oils. No frying for me. Not necessary. Air fryer is a godsend. I might have an avocado oil spray I use.
M Brian Palmer
This is not a rational choice, you will limit your ability to get your fat metabolims running right of you avoid good fats. I suggest using VETTED BRANDS of cold pressed olive oil, but watch your temperature when cooking, avoid any smoke, medium and a bit up at most. We have demonized traditional eating and sources of fat to our collective metabolic illness and and ruined our normal gut bacteria profile, because of this we are ruining our livers, driving mental illness, AVOIDABLE diabetes and UNSTOPPABLE obesity; all by assuming we can improve on the food nature first provides, so madeninng how self-destructive our food system is now.
Thankyou! For the information.
I would actually support the statement “vocal for local”, any oil cold pressed in your area or common to your region is good for your health irrespective of medical reports and explanations….our parents and grandparents were not fools to continue their elders ideas…the fault is ours….we have become lazy and started easy way out to cook our food the easiest way out using refined oils and butter sold to us in beautiful andattractive packaging without any research.
It is simply that there Is too many of us to all eat the way we are meant to. It’s all well and good for me to eat grass fed beef and raw milk, butter, yogurt and honey but not everyone could do that even if they were all well informed and wanted to.
Many cold pressed oils still use hexane to strip the oil from the seed or fruit. Olive oil and coconut oil can also use hexane and not have it listed in the ingredients. They fool you by saying “virgin” or “cold pressed”. In other words they didn’t use heat. That does not mean it is chemical free. Look for centrifuge or “without chemicals”. l
Hi have you got a link to this? I would love to read some more on the process?
Wait, what about suet??? You can turn it into fat and use it for cooking. Yes, it’s a bit different as it can solidify after cooling down, but you can still use it for cooking. Also some recipes require to use it where that ability solidify is needed. We can use pemmican as a reference.
Would you recommend peanut oil? I understand corn and soybeans need tons of refining to get the trace amounts of oil out of them, but peanuts are nearly 50% oil aren’t they? Are they less processed? Thank you.
Most people in my area are not aware that shampoos that grow your hair fast (obviously with no sulfates, no parabens and no DEA) are even a thing. Persons now may attain longer hair and experience more options. Surely worth looking into it.
When you’re studying hair loss, hair damage, avoiding scalp disorders, fast hair growth, hair and scalp care at large, the same rules become relevant.
For the most part, you will want to steer clear of hair products and treatments that include chemicals like parabens, DEA and sulfates.
What is healthy for your hair is good for your skin as well.
It goes without saying the content on this page is so accurate for many reasons. It stays away from the accustomed traps and pitfalls too many fall into- using horrible alternatives. Keep up the great content!
HI, Whats your opinion on cold pressed oils (mustard, groundnut, coconut, flax ). In cold pressed no chemicals,additive preservative used & its extracted by using Ghani (wooden press) machine. For countries like India, Olive oil is not an option since its not produced locally & its very expensive.
unrefined mustard oil is excellent
you go with rice bran oil
Cold pressed does not mean “no chemical”. It means no heat. They most certainly use hexane and do not have to list it in the ingredient list.
An interesting article….few comments…
1) As a source of energy we need to have around 30% calories from fat. What is more important is one has to have a balance diet and one should have intake of all kind of food in a balance proportion. So saying completely no to any particular food may not be a good idea. Human is only animal who has severely restricted his food sources.
2) About choice of oil…..it all depends on you method of cooking and how one is going to eat food.
For salad dressing—– best choice is extra virgin olive oil.
But if one is planning to use oil for cooking… then one need a thought!
See smoke point of the oil used… at smoke point any oil will loose whatever benefits it may offer can be harmful to one who eats it.
Smoke point for safflower oil, rice bran oil is around 260-270 C…WELL suited for cooking.
Olive oil—-smoke point. 170 C…above 170 degrees olive oil will also release harmful products in food which can be dangerous.
Why does one need a refining of oil?
For good crop production, chemical fertilisers and pesticides are used. Pesticides like organophosphorus compounds, organo- chlorides are oil soluble and when we consume it, it is stored in our body fat. So refining process (which does use chemicals) apart from deodorising and stabilising oil, also removes harmful pesticides. It also removes aflatoxins which are produced by any fungi growing on oil seeds. Pesticide removal cannot be done by filtration process because they are oil soluble. This process has some bad effects like loss of some vitamin A and vitamin E precursors. However it doesn’t significantly change fat composition of oil. So benefits of refining process overweighs its bad effects.
As a source of essential fatty acids, one can eat a variety of dry fruits and can balance them.
I am not clear about author’s emphasis of rancid PUFA….if author can provide some scientific inputs in it, it will be with reading. Trans fat conversion is less than 1% in standard industries which is very negligible.
A sincere request for not to paint refined oil as a complete villain!
I am not going to dictate anyone which oil one should use.
One may choose depending on what he wants to use oil for!
Any also can choose to go for pesticides in unrefined oil.
That is complete *. Yes we should have fat as a third of about diet but that is completely irrelevant to this conversation. You shouldn’t be eating things grown with pesticides, no. But you also shouldn’t be eating highly processed oils soaked in chemicals either. Most people eat stuff with pesticides on all the time, why does that mean they should go for disgustingly made oils to ‘avoid pesticides’ (like that is even a reason that crossed their minds lol, they are made like that to extract the maximum amount of oil for the cheapest amount). Either go for all organic foods including your oils (not refined, especially not seed) or carry on eating an unorganic dieta and don’t worry about pesticides in oil because you’re eating loads of them anyway. Either way you should avoid most vegetable and seed oil and all refined ones. The articles you have listed are either irrelevant or are the main narrative of what’s ok to eat which you will find as the first few results of a Google search (probably the same people telling you aspartame is ok and telling you to get the vaccine), they were not even vaguely interesting.
I was paying attention until you equated aspartame with a life saving vaccine. You have no credibility. Please do not give your ‘opinion’ again.
I agree with the article stating that we should eat WHOLE real fats such as butter and virgin olive oil, as dietary fats play an integral role in many of our bodies functions, such as obtaining fat soluble nutrients, regulating hormones, and absorbing nutrients. Eating fat from refined sources such as vegetable oils and margarine have been shown to contribute to various inflammatory conditions, as-well as other refined foods such as white flour and white sugar. Refined sources of macro and micro nutrients are not natural as the human body has been on earth for aeons, whilst refined foods have only existed in recent times due to technological advancement, we have evolved to eat things we can derive from our environment, for example in the context of dietary fats, Mongolian herdsmen derived butter via churning milk, and medditereans created olive oil by crushing olives into pulp and straining it to gather there oils. Unlike refined oils such as vegetable, canola, safflower oils and margarines all require high tech machinery, and various chemical processes our ancestors would have never been able to emulate, hence our bodies shouldn’t be consuming these alien foods, instead opt for WHOLE unrefined sources of fat, examples of healthy whole fats and oils include: virgin olive oil, ghee, butter, lard and other various traditional oils.
how about Grapeseed oil which is widely used by the cosmetic industry for skin and hair treatment- but depending on whether the oil is refined or not one can use it as salad dressing or cooking. The question is: if the oil which is intended for skin care because of its valuable nutrients can also be used in the kitchen? If the skin care oil has also been refined is it not lacking those nutrients and is therefore a hoax.
Here is my research so what is truly besy?Cold pressed grapeseed oil from the wine industry is a healthy, affordable in 5L sizes for all uses including high heat. Not sure why we dont hear more of it, when source is local, everywhere! It doesnt involve cutting down rainforest for coconuts, palm or avocados, soy GMO or harming birds in olive groves. The rice industry uses huge quantities of water so not eco friendly overall. Comments??
Unfortunately, grapeseed oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids. Plus, unless organic, grapes are notoriously high in pesticides. Grapeseed oil is a modern invention of the wine industry to make money on what is typically a waste product. It is not a traditional oil. High-oleic sunflower oil is high in monosaturated fat like olive oil, and is eco-friendly if grown organically without pesticides.
The mega 3 issue doesn’t bother me as i manage amounts. If pesticides were present in finished products, they would be detected.
Very good article. Unfortunately most people are unware of the harmful vegetable oils. The best oil is Olive oil. I come from a mediterranean country where we use olive oil a lot and the benefits of it have been proven through many generations. Apart from its antioxidants it contains anti-inflammatory ingredients and prevents from heart diseases, diabetes and other diseases. We also use olive oil as a natural medicine in some cases. So olive oil it’s not like any other oil. Refined vegetable oils as margarine, and the other oils are the worst because vegetable seeds are being processed in really high temperatures in order to become oils, which produce all the harmful ingredients. On the other hand cow or sheep butter is much healthier and tastier cause it comes out of milk. The solution is simple (though not easy always). Try to cook and eat foods with olive oil or real butter.
Sesame oil is a traditionally used oil in India for generations. It has similar properties as Olive oil with a different taste and is another option.
You did not actually explain why refined oils are bad… Actually, refining of oils is done to remove certain properties of the oil and extend its shelf life. Of course it removes some nutrients, but it’s not rancid, it actually prevents it from becoming rancid to a higher extent than a non-refined oil.
Actually she did explain…
“There is evidence pointing in the direction that it isn’t animal fats causing our epidemic levels of heart disease, but vegetable oils. Research is showing that butter consumption at the turn of the century was about 18 lbs per person per year and the use of vegetable oils was non existent. Cancer and heart disease were rare.
In the process of making and refining these types of oils, it leads to PUFas (rancid polyunsaturated fatty acids) which DO NOT hold up well to high heats. In the process of being extracted from the seed these oils oxidize and turn into trans fats. The smell is so rancid that a cleaning process has to take place using bleach to deodorize it.”
That is no proof at all. I said she DID NOT explain WHY REFINING is unhealthy. You are talking about how PUFAs do not mean rancid by definition. They can get rancid if you expose the bottle to light, or leave it open for some time in contact with oxygen. But if stored properly it shouldn’t get rancid. Also, you can definitely detect if oil has gotten rancid by the smell… Furthermore, refining does not create trans fats. Hydrogenation does. That is a different chemical process. Thanks for refining we can use oil for frying. If you use non-refined oil for frying, it will get oxydized soon because of its low smoking point.
If coconut oil is now a great alternative, no one has told the Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/dont-get-tricked-by-these-3-heart-health-myths/art-20390070
Firstly thank you for your information.
Me Sourav from India. I found your article when I am doing research on what kind of oil is good for health on Google
I think you should add about Mustard Oil prepared from Mustard seeds. It has many nutritional benefits. In our country it uses in large amount along with Coconut oil.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks and regards,
It is good to know that people are getting aware of and discussing what they should use in day-to-day life. I agree that mustard oil has many health benefits but it is banned in many countries such as the USA as it contains a high amount of erucic acid which is not good for heart health. One can also use unrefined or cold pressed ground nut oil and sesame oil as they are healthy and budget-free options.
I have learned not to trust people who say gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free and every other good thing free food is “amazingly” tasty and wonderful. Surely they lie. I think they mean they got used to it and it’s not bad. Not bad isn’t the same thing as amazingly great. Methinks they lack discernment and a meticulous commitment to total honesty.
You speak against “hydrogenated” oils. But I’ve read that it’s PARTIALLY hydrogenated oil that is bad, not fully hydrogenated oil. Please clarify.
It’s better to use ghee or physically refined oil.This oil has a little bit of natural smell. But during cooking it vanishes due to cooking.
WHAT DO U MEAN BY PHYSICALLY REFINED?
Ghee is called clarified butter. It is prepared by just heating butter at medium heat, until the ghee( fat component of buter) separates
out, and, then the ghee is filtered using a strainer. Therefore, this can be termed physical refining. The residual solids left after straining can also be fed to animals.
Desi cow ghee is the best option
Try it one time
the best solution is to consume the ‘ traditional Indian wooden churned pure oil’. It is the best among all.
I just read this in the link above, it details the bleaching process, I think maybe this is what Jane Doe is talking about? I cant really tell from the description what it means since im very ignorant in this subject. But i think that Jane is just trying to say that when you say bleaching it sounds like its being soaked in peroxide bleach and that makes it sound a lot worse.
Bleaching: The major purpose of bleaching is the removal of off-colored materials in the oil. The heated oil is treated with various bleaching agents such as fuller’s earth, activated carbon, or activated clays. Many impurities, including chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments, are absorbed by this process and removed by filtration. Bleaching promotes oxidation since these natural antioxidants and nutrients are removed along with the impurities.
It would be helpful if you could show the date of this article so it is clear which studies came before others.
Remove all oil. Olive oil is just costliest, not better or worse than other oils. The supposed benefits of antioxidants are marginal. One month of using olive oil gives as much antioxidants as one orange or strawberries in a sitting.
minus the stomach irritating fructose, yeah I’ll pass on that suggestion
Did you know that the body needs healthy fatty acids in order to absorb vitamin A, D, K and E?
Without fat, you can eat all you want, but not really get much. You will be constantly hungry, even if your belly is full.
Heating any kind of oil can be harmful because the molecular structure of the atoms will change and usually bind in a way that requires more energy to break apart when it is being burned in our bodies. To be saturated is to be filled with something, the question is “filled with what?”. Because our body needs fat to absorb vitamins and nutrients which are things that we need. The fat should be saturated with those things. “chemicals” and “toxins” are names that we put on the things our body doesn’t need or doesn’t need in the huge amounts they are in. Naturally they will cause imbalance in alkalinity and acidity as well as atomic imbalance inside us. That is why the body will try to get rid of them. Sadly they don’t exit alone, but require something to bind to in order to get out, and before that, they will have to be broken apart to a point where they will bind to something that can flush it out. Lucky for us, Vitamin D3-sulfur that we get from the sun, is able to move through both water and fats and does a great job cleaning out this stuff. However it tends to drag with it a lot of alkaline parts like potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and so on. So we need to refill on this. That is how strong acids work, they bind to what ever is alkaline. so naturally we should seek acids that our body needs and can use in order to stay healthy and not loose ourself in the cleaning process.
very well said
Potassium loss in urine – Hypokalemia , is this different from what you have said above. Just curios as I was affected.
This article is half right. Don’t ever eat any oils. Only eat whole plants. Oil is the most calorie-dense food on the planet, and has no nutritional benefits. There are no “good” oils. Consuming any oil causes digestive problems, obesity, cataracts, and many other health problems. I repeat, don’t ever eat any oils. Check out this website:
David I wrote this article quite a while ago, and like you, I am starting to understand the dangers of oil. I too follow Rip and Dr. Esselstyn and have had the seed planted to start (if not completely omitting) reducing our oil intake. Thanks for your comment!
Yes, it’s a difficult transition to eating absolutely no oil. In fact it took us 6 months to phase out oils from our diet. The best approach is to slowly come up with substitutes for different foods and meals. Just yesterday, I baked my first loaf of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and oil-free bread, and it was amazing. This was the last step in completing our journey to an oil-free diet. With a few exceptions, we are eating only food made from whole plants – fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, and it all tastes amazing. Thanks for sharing your information.
disagree with the idea that oils cause digestive issues, I did a diet change last year and removed oil from my cooking and went through chronic constipation for about a year so I started cooking with oils again and now I’m going again. We are like machines and guess what machines need to run smoothly “OIL”
This article is misleading….I work in the oil industry, and yes chemicals are used to refine oil. They are removed in later processes. All oils are not hydrogenized, so therefore all oils do not have Trans fat. Also you are lead to believe bleach is used. It is not. Bleaching is a process to remove color pigments. It is a chemical
Process, but let’s not make it worse than it is to make your story better. Because I know the process, it makes me question the accuracy of the rest of thisbstory.
How is using chemicals to refine and bleach oils not dangerous !! Do you even realize what you are writing.
These so called “refined” oils should be sold as “processed” oils. “Refined” is a very misleading term, people are conned into thinking the oil is good since this term has a positive meaning.
There is well defined refining process and refined oil clinically tested on establishing the process that it is safe for human consumption. There is food safety law currently comes under FSSAI which defines the permissible limits of all constituents present in refined oil . It is also true that all oils are not hydrogenated and only vanaspati, margerine , shortening etc which are in semi solid form are hydrogenated. There is also a permissible limit of trans fatty acid defined in food safety law beyond which it is not allowed. Each one of us should have a common sense that nothing can be allowed under law which is harmful for human consumption. Yes , it’s true that some of the nutritional components from oil removed during refining process but some of other vitamins are added also. So refined oil is not bad for human consumption.
You say we should have the common sense to realize that nothing can be allowed under the law which is harmful for human consumption? How do you explain the genetically engineered seed crops developed and allowed? There are numerous documented studies that show adverse effects on mice who were fed genetically modified food products. The FDA has turned a blind eye and looked the other way to allow these corporate farmers to mass produce their crops with harmful chemicals.
Not at all, in Africa we used to eat natural oil e.g. Shear butter, palm oil etc locally refined no preservatives or chemicals added, nothing was like cancer, heart failure, every thing was natural people lived long and healthy. The industrialists, business and money minded would not agree. Any foreign body in our body would definitely make us sick, the scientist know this, what do you use for removing the chemicals at the end process, how about its preservation. Lol all caught up in it, no cure for cancer, diabetes name them for over century of research.