When it comes to eating healthy, it starts with what you are cooking WITH.  


With the endless choices on the store shelves it’s hard to know which to choose.  Butter vs. margarine, extra virgin olive oils, refined oils like vegetable and canola.

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.  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?

Definition:  An oil has been refined 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!

Click here for a look into HOW oil gets refined.

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.


  • Canola oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Soybean
  • Safflower
  • Corn oils
  • Margarine (or any other ‘buttery’ spread)

But most of all AVOID Hydrogenated oils (Crisco and margarine) ~  This is one of the most dangerous products on the market today!  It has actually been BANNED in 2 European countries, but not ours.

Hydrogenated oil is made by forcing hydrogen gas into oil as high pressure.  The more solid the oil is the more hydrogenated, 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 the one subject that you will find an overwhelming agreement 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 [Govt Publishing Office]  Now that trans fats have to be labeled on products, most companies have removed them from their products.  Sneaky, huh?

The problem now isn’t our own kitchens, but what if we dine out?  How do we know what restaurants are using?  Well California’s governor recently signed legislation to phase out trans fats from restaurants and baked goods in bakeries [Natl Conference of State Legislatures].  (Too bad I don’t live in CA) 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.  I ask everytime we go out now if the dressing coming with the salad is homemade or store bought.  I ask what types of oils they use when they cook.  I ask where they get their vegetables.   Don’t turn a deaf ear.  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.  EVOO ~ 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 it sealed and out of light.

2.  Olive oil ~ this can be tricky because it is also blended using refined, virgin and extra virgin olive oils.   Be careful and read labels

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!  But 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 has gotten 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.  For more detailed information see my post Coconut Oil ~ What you didn’t know.  I am still experimenting with this myself.

The Bottom Line:

Try to avoid any refined oils – period.  They are cheap.  They are procesed and they are downright dangerous to your health.

Make a choice 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 the most common of oils and gradually experiment with other flavors.

The flavors that will come from your food using these quality oils will blow you away!

Dis You Know?

That 50 years ago paint and varnishes were made of soy, safflower and linseed oils?

Then chemists learned how to make paint from petroleum, which was cheaper.  As a result, the seed oil industry had loads of crop that were hard to sell.  They eventually were given to farmers to make their pigs fatter with less food!

The crops that had gone from the paint industry ended up as food on a farm for animals which in turn ends up on your plate as well.


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  1. Sourav Hazra says:

    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,

  2. 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.

  3. Jonathan Dough says:

    You speak against “hydrogenated” oils. But I’ve read that it’s PARTIALLY hydrogenated oil that is bad, not fully hydrogenated oil. Please clarify.

  4. Prem Sachdeva says:

    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.

  5. Harshal Naik says:

    the best solution is to consume the ‘ traditional Indian wooden churned pure oil’. It is the best among all.

  6. opalstardust says:

    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.

  7. It would be helpful if you could show the date of this article so it is clear which studies came before others.

  8. Amit Kumar says:

    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.

  9. 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”

  10. 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.

        • Anonymous says:

          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.

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