This is a very confusing subject to many people.
Why would some cooking oils and fats used in cooking and baking be harmful to you? And yet others are considered to be healthy?
Here’s the deal…
It’s just an ingeniously good marketing tactic. Because it’s labeled ‘vegetable oil’, people automatically think it’s good for you. After all, vegetables are good for you, right? In this case, NO WAY!
Most of what is labeled as ‘vegetable oil’ is simply heavily refined soybean oil. It’s been processed under high heat, pressure and with industrial solvents, such as hexane. Sometimes it can be made from heavily refined cottonseed, safflower or corn… even grape seeds.
But in each instance, almost all of these processed oils are NOT HEALTHY for you and have no business being included in a healthy diet
So… when you eat processed or deep fried foods, you can be fairly certain these bad oils are used to prepare your food. And it can get even worse. It may be prepared with hideous hydrogenated versions of these oils… aka ‘trans fats’.
Why it’s bad for you
The problem with soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grape seed oil, safflower oil, and other similar oils is that they are mostly composed of polyunsaturated fats.
This is bad because they’re prone to oxidation and free radical production when exposed to heat and light. Processed polyunsaturated oils are extremely inflammatory inside our bodies because of their high reactivity to heat and light. And it’s this inflammation that causes many of our health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and other degenerative diseases.
However, polyunsaturated fat sources that are NOT processed (whole foods like nuts and seeds) are OK. They’re usually not inflammatory: plus, they are a great source of healthy polyunsaturated fats. Your healthy die needs these foods.
But the vegetable oils listed above are generally heavily refined during processing. This makes them already inflammatory even before you even cook with them.
Here’s the actual order of stability of a type of fat under heat and light (from least stable to most stable):
What mainstream health professionals will never tell you
Saturated fats are actually the healthiest oils to cook with!
Why? Because they are much more stable; they are less inflammatory than polyunsaturated oils.
That’s why tropical oils such as palm and coconut oils (and even animal fats such as butter) are best for cooking. They have very little polyunsaturates and are mostly composed of natural saturated fats. These are the least reactive to heat and light and therefore the least inflammatory in your body from cooking use.
That’s also why natural butter (NOT margarine) is one of the best fats for healthy diet cooking .
Al of this goes directly against what mainstream health pros tell you. Most health professionals don’t truly understand the biochemistry of fats; they falsely believe that saturated fats are bad for you. But the reality is that they are actually neutral in most instances… and saturated fats from tropical oils are actually good for you as they contain mostly medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) – something lacking in most people’s diets.
The bottom line
Your best cooking or baking fats are generally butter or tropical oils such as palm or coconut oil.
Olive oil (extra virgin preferably) is OK for lower cooking temperatures since it’s mostly monounsaturated. This makes it moderately stable.
The mostly polyunsaturated oils such as soybean, grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, etc, are the LEAST healthy for cooking or baking.
My top choices for healthy cooking oils that I use:
1. Virgin Coconut Oil
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (only for low temp cooking)
3. Real Butter (grass fed if possible)
All of this being said…
Keep in mind that even the good cooking oils have a lot of calories. Cooking with oils in moderation is OK. And it can actually help satisfy your appetite more. Just be careful not to overdo it; calories can add up very fast… even with real healthy diet cooking.