Some oils are great for our bodies, and some are just terrible!
So, which are which?
The easiest way to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy oils (in my opinion) is to think fruit oils = good, vegetable oils = bad.
Which oils are fruit (good), and which are vegetable (bad)?
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Canola oil
- Organic canola oil (don’t be fooled by the “organic” label!)
- Soybean oil
- Peanut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Safflower oil
- Vegetable oil
- Organic vegetable oil
- Grapeseed oil
*Even though some of the above are not made from vegetables, they’re still lumped into the “vegetable oil” category. Why? I have no idea!
- Hydrogenated oils (found in Crisco and margarine)
- Any oil that is labeled as refined or partially-hydrogenated
What’s so bad about vegetable oils?
This Healthline article pretty much says it all. Here are the key takeaways:
- They contain large amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful in excess.
- In the evolutionary scheme of things, humans have only been exposed to these oils very recently because we didn’t have the technology to process them. Thus, the majority of our ancestors were not exposed to these highly-processed oils, and they were healthier because of this!
- Excessive consumption of vegetable oils leads to actual structural changes within our fat stores and our cell membranes.
- Vegetable oils contribute to systemic and chronic inflammation. Systemic and chronic inflammation lead to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, depression, and cancer.
- They contain massive amounts of trans fat: the harmful, toxic fat.
- “Processed omega-6 polyunsaturated fats and trans-fats (soy, corn and canola oils), found in every processed food on the shelf, impair intercellular communication and suppress immune functions, which is associated with skin aging and hyperpigmentation.”
A 4-Step Approach to Eliminating Vegetable Oils from your Diet:
Step 1: Throw out the canola oil! This is probably the most common vegetable oil, and it is likely in your cupboard right now. Just throw it–and any other vegetable oil–out!
Step 2: Stock up on high-quality olive, avocado, and coconut oils. Olive oil does not have a high smoke point, so it is best utilized for drizzling (on just about anything!) and making your own dressings. Avocado has a higher smoke point (520°F), so you can use it for sautéeing. Coconut oil is great to use when baking. (Also, watch out for diluted or fake olive oils! Steer clear of the cheapest oils so that you’re sure to buy those that are 100% pure and high-quality. Consider buying a reputable oil from a site like this: bestoliveoils.com. Or, visit a specialty store near you and chat with a sales clerk. I recently visited Despaña in New York and picked up two incredible, pure olive oils. It’s worth it to spend a bit more for the real thing!)
Step 3: Expand your horizons; cook with ghee (clarified butter) and regular ol’ butter instead of just fruit oils. Veggies, eggs, meat, etc., cooked in ghee/butter are delectable and life-changing!
Step 4: Read labels! Since “vegetable” oils (see list above) are so cheap and common these days, you will find them in most processed foods. Read labels and don’t buy/eat foods that contain these toxins! Even snacks that are marketed as “healthful” alternatives because they’re “gluten-free,” “organic,” “baked,” “smart,” and/or “free of artificial flavors, colors, and ingredients” contain vegetable oils, such as:
Food conglomerates will forever pretend as if they have our best interests in mind, but, in reality, they’re profit-driven and motivated to sell, sell, sell!
The best possible way to avoid refined, toxic vegetable oils is to eat whole foods that you prepare yourself using olive, avocado, and coconut oils. Shop the periphery of the supermarket and avoid the processed junk in the middle!
Once you’ve eliminated vegetable oils from your diet, which positive changes have you noticed? Please share in the comments!
In each blog post, I aim to bring you food for thought (pun intended. See: my day job), but don’t take my word for it! Click on and read all of the links above to become your own expert on this topic; knowledge is power. The more you know and understand the “why” behind each biohack, the easier it will be to stick to it and realize you can’t live without it!