Are Your Cooking Oils Healthy or Unhealthy?

by Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist

Author of best-seller:  The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging

Do you know which of the following oils are healthy and which are unhealthy oils?

  • Soybean oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Corn oil

This subject – and truth – is confusing to many people.

Why are some oils and fats safe for baking or cooking, while other oils are actually harmful for your body?

Let me explain…

There is a common misconception that anything labeled “vegetable oil” is good for you. NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!

If you buy processed food or deep fried food, you can usually be certain that these unhealthy oils are used to prepare your foods (or worse, it may use hydrogenated versions of these oils… aka – trans fats).

You may have even bought some of these oils for your own cooking or baking at home.

The “vegetable oil” on the shelf of my grocery stores is in actually a combination of heavily refined oils:

  • Soy bean oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Grapeseed oil
All of these oils have been processed under high heat, pressure, and industrial solvents, such as hexane.

In most instances, these processed oils are NOT HEALTHY for you.  Here’s the deal…

Fats Fuel Fire of Inflammation

Soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, and other similar oils are comprised of polyunsaturated fats (the most highly reactive type of fat), which leaves them prone to oxidation and free radical production when exposed to heat and light.

These processed polyunsaturated oils cause inflammation inside your body and lead to internal problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases.

Note: The oil in whole foods such as nuts and seeds is not dangerous polyunsaturated fat. The nut and seed oil does not cause inflammation, as long as it not exposed to heat and light. In fact, nut and seed oil in natural form is a great source of healthy polyunsaturated fats for you.

By the way, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are both polyunsaturates. The best ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 1:1 to 3:1. By creating a healthy balance of polyunsaturated fats – especially from nuts and seeds – you prevent oxidation and inflammation in your body.

Keep in mind though that some nuts are mostly monounsaturated (macadamias, for example), the safety

of roasted vs raw nuts is less of an issue for highly monounsaturated nuts.

The vegetables oils listed above – the unhealthy oils – are all heavily refined, which makes them burn with the flame of inflammation before you even start cooking with them. But, here’s the actual order of stability of a type of fat under heat and light (from least stable to most stable):

  1. Polyunsaturated
  2. Monounsaturated
  3. Saturated

Unfortunately, the mainstream health professionals will never tell you…

Saturated fats are actually the healthiest oils to cook with!

Why?  Because they are much more stable and less inflammatory than polyunsaturated oils.

Tropical oils such as palm and coconut oils (and even animal fats such as butter) are best for cooking. These natural oils have very little polyunsaturated danger since they are mostly composed of saturated fats. Saturated fats are the least reactive to heat and light, which keeps inflammation from developing in your body.

Thank goodness natural butter is one of the best fats for cooking!  Tastes great, too!

This all goes directly against what you hear in mainstream health talk… because most health professionals don’t truly understand the biochemistry of fats, and falsely believe that saturated fats are bad for you… when in fact, 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) which are lacking in most people’s diets.

In fact, lauric acid is one of the abundant MCTs in tropical oils and is known to strengthen the immune system.  Lauric acid is even being studied currently in medical studies for controlling contagious diseases.

To summarize… your best cooking or baking fats are generally butter or tropical oils such as palm or coconut oil.

If you are cooking at low temperatures, then olive oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil) is moderately stable and okay to use.  The mostly polyunsaturated oils such as soybean, grapeseed, cottonseed, safflower, etc, should be your late choice for healthy cooking or baking.

My choices for top healthy cooking oils are:

  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (only for low temp cooking)
  • Real Butter (grass fed if possible)

Let me state the obvious.  Eliminating oils from your diet can help reduce overall calories.  One benefit of cooking with healthy and safe oils is that they can help satisfy your appetite naturally – just don’t pour the oil on because calories add up fast!

Be forewarned so you can be forearmed: canola oil is not healthy for you!

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Want more ideas to eat healthier… check this out:

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