The story behind vegetable oils

The story behind vegetable oils

Many of us grew up in homes where vegetable was used almost every day for cooking,  We were told, even by government and medical associations, to use more vegetable, seed and bean oils (like soybean, corn, safflower, canola). Many of us were convinced by the government and food industries that vegetable oils are safe to use as a heart-healthy alternative over traditional saturated fats.

The term “vegetable oil” is used to refer to any oil that comes from plant sources. Many vegetable oils are a blend of canola, corn, soybean, safflower, palm and sunflower oils. Many experience or healthier cooks prefer to use olive oil. But even olive oil can have issues, making it important to research products to select the brand to fit your budget and needs.

What is in Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils are refined and processed, which means they not only lack flavor, but also nutrients, Vegetable oil is guaranteed to be highly processed. It’s called “vegetable” so that the manufacturers can substitute whatever commodity oil they want—soy, corn, cottonseed, canola—without having to print a new label. Processed oils may have been pushed past their heat tolerance and have become rancid in the processing.

The shocker about vegetable oils is that many of them come from seeds, not plants. In other words: most vegetable oil has little to do with vegetables. It just deceptively uses the positive association people have with the word “vegetables” to its own advantage.

Canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, and palm oil are all examples of popular “vegetable” oils that aren’t derived from vegetables. As said, most of these oils come from the seeds, not the plants. Canola oil, for instance, is the world’s third-largest source of vegetable oil, and it comes from a plant called rapeseed.

The seeds of these plants are harvested, slightly heated, and crushed, after which the oil is extracted using a hexane solvent. While this is generally considered safe, hexane poisoning is a real thing, which is most common in shoe factories as hexanes are also often used in glue. Regardless, the main point is that canola oil has nothing to do with vegetables.

Of course, there are exceptions. Olive, coconut, and avocado oil, for example, come from the fruit, not the seed. It’s still not true vegetable oil, but it’s closer to the real deal. The main benefit of this nuance is that most fruits that contain oils can be cold-pressed to extract the oil. In this process, the oil is literally squeezed out of the fruit without heating it, let alone using chemicals. This prevents the oil from being altered. In other words: it’s pure, natural oil.

You may find that some oils have distinctive flavors, so try different types to discover which ones you like. Also, some oils are better for certain types of cooking than others, so you may want to have more than one type in your pantry.

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