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The Toxic Truth About Vegetable Oils

Unveiling the Hidden Hazards of Industrial Seed Oils

In the modern world, cooking oils are an essential part of our culinary adventures. From sautéing to baking, oils play a pivotal role in our daily lives. Among the most commonly used are industrial seed oils, often marketed as vegetable oils. Despite their popularity, these oils come with hidden dangers that can impact our health in significant ways. 

Dietary experts have pointed out various factors contributing to the escalating rates of chronic illnesses in industrialized nations. While sugar and saturated fat have often been highlighted, one commonly consumed item has remained surprisingly overlooked—industrial seed oils.

Despite conventional beliefs, industrial seed oils like soybean, canola, and corn oils aren't as "heart healthy" or beneficial for our well-being as they've been portrayed. In reality, substantial research suggests that these oils might be a source of our many health issues.

Interestingly, these highly processed oils derived from soybeans, corn, rapeseed (which produces canola oil), cottonseed, and safflower seeds were introduced to the American diet only in the early 1900s. How did these oils, then, manage to secure a significant place not just in the Standard American Diet but also in "Westernized" diets globally? The tale behind this phenomenon is quite peculiar.

Industrial seed oils were originally used in the soap making process. So how did these industrial byproducts end up on our plates?

From Soap to Table: The Evolution of Industrial Seed Oils

In the 1870s, Cincinnati witnessed an innovative partnership between soap makers William Procter and James Gamble. While soap had traditionally relied on animal fat, their ingenuity led them to create a novel soap from vegetable oils. 

Simultaneously, oil discoveries in Pennsylvania displaced cottonseed oil as a lighting source. Considered waste, cottonseed oil found a new purpose when Procter & Gamble saw its potential for soap production. 

Furthermore, the duo realized it could be chemically transformed via "hydrogenation" into a solid cooking fat resembling lard. Thus, an oil once deemed "toxic waste" found its way into the American diet with the introduction of Crisco in the early 1900s.

Following Crisco's lead, other vegetable oils emerged. Soybeans debuted in the 1930s, swiftly becoming America's favorite vegetable oil by the 1950s. Canola, corn, and safflower oils joined the lineup shortly after. Driven by cost-effectiveness and strategic marketing, these cooking oils gained immense popularity in American households, despite being unprecedented in human dietary history.

The Making of Industrial Seed Oils 

The production process behind industrial seed oils diverges significantly from natural methods. The process from soybeans, corn, cottonseed, safflower seeds, and rapeseeds to consumable oils is far from straightforward.  These oils must be refined, bleached, and chemically deodorized before they are suitable for human consumption. (YIKES)!

Here's a breakdown of the process:

  • Seeds Collection: The initial step involves harvesting seeds from soy, corn, cotton, safflower, and rapeseed plants.
  • High-Temperature Heating: Seeds undergo intense heating at elevated temperatures. This process triggers oxidation of the unsaturated fatty acids within the seeds, generating harmful byproducts detrimental to both human and animal health.
  • Solvent Extraction: To maximize oil yield, a petroleum-based solvent like hexane is utilized for extracting oil from the seeds.
  • Chemical Deodorization: The unpleasant odor inherent to extracted oils prompts a deodorization phase. Regrettably, this step yields trans fats, recognized for their detrimental impact on human well-being.
  • Color Enhancement: Industrial seed oils often undergo further chemical treatment to enhance their color. These additives, however, may compromise the healthfulness of the oils.

The Evolution of Seed Oils

How did industrial seed oils transition from being labeled as "toxic waste" to being hailed as "heart-healthy" fats? As recounted by Nina Teicholz in her book, "The Big Fat Surprise," this tale involves a blend of eyebrow-raising factors: donations to medical groups, questionable scientific studies, and unsupported marketing assertions.

In the late 1940s, a cohort of cardiologists, belonging to the then-fledgling American Heart Association, received a substantial $1.5 million contribution from Procter & Gamble, the creators of Crisco. This financial boost elevated the AHA's stature as a heart health-focused medical organization. In this newfound position, they promptly endorsed industrial seed oils, now charmingly known as "vegetable oils," as a healthier alternative to traditional animal fats.

Coinciding with this, Ancel Keys, an ambitious physiologist and researcher, introduced his diet-lipid hypothesis. He presented data suggesting a potential link between saturated fat, cholesterol intake, and heart disease. Given that animal fats are rich sources of saturated fat and cholesterol, they became his target. Keys advocated for the consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which preliminary studies hinted could reduce cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. 

These findings harmonized with the industrial seed oil industry's agenda—to promote seed oil consumption. This paved the way for the rise of "heart-healthy" margarine (a solid form of vegetable oil) and other seed oils, overshadowing traditional healthy fats.

These oils have quietly found their way into our diets, but their impact on health is far from benign. 

Here are six key reasons why seed oils should raise a red flag:

  1. The consumption of industrial seed oils raises the amount of linoleic acid in our bodies. The problem is that our bodies just aren’t designed to handle such a massive consumption of linoleic acid.
  2. Eating industrial seed oils raises our omega-6-to-omega-3 fatty acid ratios, with significant consequences for our health.
  3. Industrial seed oils are unstable and oxidize easily.
  4. They contain harmful additives.
  5. They’re derived from genetically modified crops.
  6. When industrial seed oils are repeatedly heated, even more toxic  byproducts are created.

Simply put: The processing of industrial seed oils creates an oil high in calories, BUT zero nutrients and is loaded with chemical traces, trans fats, and oxidized components.

In the pursuit of well-being, it's crucial to closely examine the oils we include in our diets. While industrial seed oils might be widely used, their impact on our health is far from insignificant.

Contrary to the prolonged guidance of various health organizations, industrial seed oils cannot be deemed as nutritious options. Instead, their consumption has been associated with a range of health problems such as:

  • Asthma 
  • Autoimmune Disease 
  • Cognition and Mental 
  • Diabetes and Obesity 
  • Heart Disease
  • IBS and IBD
  • Inflammation
  • Infertility
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Osteoarthritis

Six Healthy Fat Options That You Should Be Cooking With!

As we strive for improved health, we need to  move away from industrial seed oils and their possible risks. But what choices should we make in the kitchen? 

Let's consider the wisdom of our ancestors, who valued fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, and animal fats for their nourishing properties and essential fatty acids. 

Here, we'll explore fats that have earned their place in your culinary arsenal, bridging the gap between modern choices and time-honored cooking traditions. 

Here are six oils that will provide your body with recognizable, beneficial healthy fats instead of risks:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: For millennia, olive oil has graced human tables as both sustenance and elixir. Packed with antioxidant vitamin E and versatile polyphenols, olive oil offers a medley of health benefits, from safeguarding the heart to taming diabetes. 

Coconut Oil: Hailed as a superfood, beckons with its multifaceted health virtues. Abundant in medium-chain triglycerides, particularly lauric acid, it fuels the body's energy needs while unleashing its antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral prowess. With 90 percent saturated fat, this oil boasts impressive stability under heat, empowering you to cook confidently.

Butter and Ghee: If you're comfortable with dairy, butter and ghee can be valuable additions to your cooking options. They come from grass-fed animals and contain conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid known for its potential anti-cancer and metabolic benefits. While butter might have small amounts of milk proteins, ghee is often well-tolerated by those sensitive to dairy since it's free of milk constituents.

Avocado Oil: With its mild flavor and high smoke point, avocado oil is perfect for various cooking methods. It contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and is also a good source of vitamin E.

Pastured Lard: Surprising though it may be, lard steps forward as a monounsaturated fat powerhouse—a kindred spirit to the heart-healthy olive oil. Derived from pigs, this versatile fat brims with saturated goodness, an ideal alternative for those steering clear of dairy. 

Pastured Tallow: Born from beef and bison, presents a historic contender with a high smoke point tailored for high-heat culinary exploits. Echoing an era when tallow graced restaurant fryers, it stands as a resilient alternative to the seed oil empire.

Clean Healthy Oils are important. That is what we are all about, Clean Collagen and Clean Coffee at Yonder. 

Incorporating Nutrient-Rich Oils into Our Diets for a Balanced and Healthy Lifestyle

In a world filled with culinary options, these six fats stand out as pathways to a healthier kitchen. By drawing inspiration from traditional practices, we're able to create dishes that not only taste great but also provide nourishment, aligning with the natural rhythms of our ancestors.

While industrial seed oils may have dominated the cooking oil market for decades, their negative impact on health cannot be ignored. Opting for healthier alternatives like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butter, and tallow can revolutionize your cooking experience while safeguarding your well-being. 

By making informed choices about the oils we use, we can take a proactive step towards nurturing our bodies and embracing a healthier lifestyle.

Remember, every ingredient we choose has the power to shape our health journey, one delicious meal at a time.

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