Your Health- Why Vegetable Oils are Bad for Your Health*

For years, wellness colleagues have designated sugar as the #1 dietary evil, a true destroyer of health. And although most people still eat way too much of it, U.S sugar consumption is finally on a slow decline. But the battle for your health is far from over. There is another killer: “vegetable oil”, and it’s on the loose. We have looked into how this oil could be as big a problem to your health as sugar, and have broken down the most important facts for you:

The truth is there’s no vegetable benefit or nutrients to be had in that gleaming bottle of golden vegetable oil. What’s in there is an industrial oil product better suited for cleaning and lubricating machinery.

You can refer to vegetable oils like canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, rice bran and say “industrial oils” because they were never part of the human diet until we developed factories to produce them. Although these products are considered to be “plant-based”, these oils are made with barely edible seeds, grains and legumes that our bodies can’t properly break down and digest.

As if the whole solvent issue wasn’t unappealing enough, another big reason to avoid vegetable oils is because they’re a very unstable form of fat. Unstable fats oxidize and turn rancid easily, forming free radicals. These free radicals damage healthy cells, and trigger inflammation, which we should be avoiding at all costs!

Take, for example, the sound-healthy-but-its-not-canola oil, a made-up food derived from rapeseed. “Canola” is said to stand for “Canadian oil, low acid,” because it was originally developed in Canada and the word “canola” has a nice marketing ring to it. So, no vegetables, no benefits. The trouble is these readily available, extended shelf-life industrial oils are so prevalent in the foods many of us eat every day, like restaurant foods, baked goods, prepared foods, and packaged foods. Trade processed foods for fresh, whole foods. Eat few, if any, fried foods. Ditch baked goods, prepared foods, and Frankenfoods like nondairy creamers. Don’t eat or cook with faux-butter products or vegetable shortening!

Here are 9 simple ways to be SMART about your oils!
1. Look for cold-pressed oils, to ensure they haven’t been treated with heat or solvents. If the oil is refined, leave it behind.
2. Look for oils in dark glass or metal packaging to prevent light exposure. Clear plastic is a major no-no.
3. Buy the highest quality oil possible – either from small batch producers, or organic or artisanal producers at the farmers market- to minimize concerns about chemical pesticides or genetically modified ingredients.
4. Make oils-with-benefits your top choices, opting for fruit and nut oils, like extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, macadamia oil, almond oil and avocado oil.
5. For those who prefer to cook with animal fats – like butter, ghee, duck fat and lard- look for it to come from organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.
6. For everyday use, extra virgin olive oil works well for sauces, light sauteing and salad dressing.
7. For higher-heat cooking and for those who follow the vegan path, coconut oil is an excellent reasonably priced go-to.
8. Always store your oils far away from sources of heat and light to prevent rancidity. You can also wrap them in tinfoil for an additional layer of protection.
9. Clear the kitchen of “vegetable” oils like canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, rice bran and soy.


*Portions of article reprinted from: The Purist, Ask the Dr. by Dr. Frank Lipman; Aug & Sept 2020, pgs. 42-43.