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The Term Vegetable Oil Is False Advertising (Updated)
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December 7, 2010
11:50 pm
First-Eater
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The term "vegetable oil" sounds healthy, because vegetables are healthy, right? Lettuce, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers...

...but that's not what "vegetable oil" is made from. It's made from grains, seeds, and beans.

  • Corn oil: grain
  • "Canola" (rapeseed) oil: seed
  • Soybean oil: bean
  • Sunflower oil: seed
  • Safflower oil: seed
  • Peanut oil: bean. Yes, peanuts are beans, not nuts.
  • Sesame oil: seed
  • Cottonseed oil: seed

(The exceptions are olive oil, coconut oil, and red palm oil...all of which are fruits.)

"Grain oil" and "seed oil" just don't have the same healthy implications, do they?

Not to mention that, with the exception of fruits like olive and coconut (and a few oddballs…

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January 18, 2011
4:18 am
Craig Curtin
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You should also investigate Coconut oil - extracted the natural way, cold pressed.

It is by far the healthiest oil of the lot for cooking etc.

We should all go back to using natural oils and fats for cooking - just like our great grandparents before industrialisation came on the scene - grass raised beef fat (tallow) and free range pig fat (lard)

Butter on your bread (preferably from grass fed beef) instead of margarine that is laced with industrialised oils.

Craig

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January 18, 2011
5:03 am
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Craig:

That's an excellent point, and I've revised the article to add coconut oil. I completely forgot about coconuts!

I'm not a big fan of lard because it's nearly impossible to find non-hydrogenated lard in the store. I use trimmings from the local grass-fed butcher to make tallow, although I sometimes break down and buy a big lump of suet because it's cleaner.

You're absolutely correct about natural oils and fats. If possible, we should buy fatty cuts of meat in the first place...it's silly to trim all the fat off, and then add it back in a different form because the meat is too dry to cook properly! 

Thanks for the reminder.  Lacking a staff of paid fact-checkers, I depend on my readers to point out anything I've missed.

JS

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April 25, 2011
10:54 pm
042611 – Tuesd
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[...] tallow. These are healthy fats: they don’t oxidize or polymerize during cooking the way that seed oilsdo, they don’t contain hidden trans fats, and they have low to zero omega-6 fat content. I [...]

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April 25, 2011
10:54 pm
042611 – Tuesd
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[...] tallow. These are healthy fats: they don’t oxidize or polymerize during cooking the way that seed oilsdo, they don’t contain hidden trans fats, and they have low to zero omega-6 fat content. I [...]

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June 7, 2011
11:35 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
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June 5, 2011
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I hear you LOUD AND CLEAR about this. I do have a question though about rapeseed oil - is it okay if it is cold pressed?

Olive oil seems tolerated so long as it is cold pressed and not heat extracted which can oxidise the oil and so long as it is fresh and not left too long (again, possibly able to oxidise).

It might be a cross-Atlantic misinterpretation since we do get Canola and Mazola and other horrible Monsantesque filth, but the rapeseed oil I buy is cold pressed. It is "extra virgin" cold pressed and pressed only once - it is a gourmet oil and intended to be a rival to the rather ubiquitous olive oil. It is from my home country and the fields are within 50 miles of my house. This is the stuff: http://www.yorkshiresoriginal.co.uk/.

I can kind of see Grok feeling happy with himself after sitting on an olive or an avocado and noticing the oil having squeezed out ... how shiny it looked on his fingers as he rubbed it between finger and thumb. Not sure about rapeseed, though ... I'll have to go squeeze some and see if it as easy as the guys at Yorkshire Original make out.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
June 8, 2011
5:36 pm
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Paul:

My theory is: if I wouldn't eat it otherwise, I don't eat the oil extracted from it.

Rapeseeds (known as "canolas", in North America) are seeds...so on the theory that seeds don't like to be eaten, I avoid them for the same reason I avoid other grains.  Cold pressing is less damaging to the lipids than heat and solvent processing -- but like "whole grains", it also leaves in far more of the anti-nutrients.

Olives and avocados are fruit, and plants intend their fruits to be eaten: the seeds (the toxic part) are separate from the fruit.

That being said, both olives and avocados have significant n-6 content, which I do my best to minimize, and essentially zero n-3.  Consequently, I treat olive oil as a condiment: basically I use a splash for salad dressing, and that's it.  For cooking I exclusively use clarified butter, coconut oil (usually refined, because I don't like all my cooking to taste like coconuts), and beef tallow.

JS

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June 9, 2011
1:35 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
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Thanks JS - that is sound advice: "if I wouldn't eat it, I wouldn't want the oil extracted from it".

I can appreciate that but you know I'll go my own way ... looking at the side of the bottle, I see some interesting facts; that within 100ml of the Yorkshire Original Rapeseed oil I am getting 99.8g of fat or which 62.3g is monounsaturate, 26.1g polyunsaturated and 7.0g saturated. The majority is the lesser of the evil fats :) I also get almost no protein, no carbohydrate, no sodium, a mere 8.1g of Omega-3 (it does not state how much Omega-6, or what the balance is ... I'll probe them some more) and a good pack of Vitamin E.

I contacted the company to ask them a little more about the product and the process ... and, I've been invited to visit the farm so I will try a bud/seed of the stuff and see if I want to eat it!

By e-mail, they said: "Our oil is so simple, it will not take long to tell you about it!

Firstly, it is illegal in this country to grow genetically modified crops, so the seed that we use is GM free, any alterations to the makeup of the seed have been made by natural progression, for example disease resistance.

We are farmers based near Wetherby, and all the seed we use has been grown by ourselves or our next door neighbours. It is all grown to our specification, so variety and any treatments have been agreed by ourselves.

The seed is generally planted in August, and then we apply a weedkiller in September, October when the seeds are in danger of being overrun by weeds. After that we do not do anything to the crop. Unless there is a major problem which we have not had for the past 4 years. The crop is then harvested the following July.

There are two methods of harvesting the seed. We use the traditional method of swathing, this means that we go through the crop with a sharp knife and cut off the seed bearing stalk so that it lies on the stalk in the ground, this keeps it off the ground so that it can die naturally using the wind and the sun as a natural dryer. The more normal way is to dessicate the crop with a weedkiller such as Roundup a Glyphosate, this means that the crop dies on its feet. Less risky but we are happier knowing that no chemicals have been used so close to harvest.

After that the crop is picked up by the combine and the seeds shaken out, taken into store and kept until required for oil.

To press the oil we pass it through a simple screw press which gently squeezes out the oil, no heat or chemicals are applied. The oil is then filtered and bottled and that really is that.

So if you are wanting a naturally grown oil Rapeseed oil is the best bet. Unlike Olive oil we do not blend oils to achieve the required levels to be able to call it Extra Virgin it just is Extra Virgin!"

This is a simple farm of three people! I will visit them ... and I will eat their oil. I love the colour and, I'm happy to treat it as a condiment. I do not cook with it, I do not use it much ... I use it in vinaigrettes with fruit vinegars (lingon and apple, elderberry, etc) to make a colourful splash over some salads. It's not a major part of my diet and used for colour, maybe once or twice a week in one or two meals.

I like it - it's local to me and satisfies my "local, pure and natural" mantra. I'll keep it as a "treat/cheat" ... it's not like I gulp down litres of soda a day.

As with all I am learning - I will consider what is put before me and consider it well. Thanks for the reply. Again, sound advice.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
June 9, 2011
11:43 pm
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Paul:

You don't need to apologize to me, or to anyone else, for your dietary choices.  Buy a bottle and try it out!  Then you'll be able to make a reasonable decision around how much and how often to use it.

I confess I had no idea there was even such a thing as artisanal canola!

JS

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July 3, 2011
7:37 am
Just What is the Pal
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[...] foods, such as grains, grain oils, and refined sweeteners, that actively disrupt the biochemistry of these human [...]

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July 6, 2011
7:34 pm
Trans-fats in common
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[...] seem to be serious risks in some food oils that are commonly considered healthy. This report says: hexane processing strips the remaining nutrients from the oil, and turns a significant [...]

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July 26, 2011
6:45 pm
Funny CW moments | M
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[...] have something to do with vegetables! Almost – Vegetable oil isn't made from vegetables. The Term “Vegetable Oil” Is False Advertising (Updated) - GNOLLS.ORG Reply With Quote   + Reply to [...]

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October 3, 2011
4:11 pm
» “Eat T
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[...] here and elsewhere, you want PUFA intake low (like 1% of cals) for optimal health. That means no “vegetable” oils. It can also be a convincing argument for controlling your bacon intake a bit. For the PUFAs you do [...]

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December 4, 2011
6:15 pm
MadScientist
Guest

For those thinking that they can get away with cold-pressed Rapeseed Oil and not face problems here's this to ponder:

Rapeseed Oil comprises 60% of the EU's Biodiesel production at this time. (As pointed out...if it'll run in a diesel engine straight or with transesterifcation, you probably don't want to eat it...)

Rapeseed Oil contains up to 45% Eurcic Acid. Canola is a cultivar of the Rape plant that originated from Canada (hence the name...) that only typically produces 1-2% in the oil that's produced from the seeds and doesn't contain other objectionable fatty acids that affect taste (Another hint...if it tastes nasty...).

Eurcic Acid's a known and problematic toxin. 1-2% is all the US allows in Rapeseed Oil. 5's the limit in the EU. In the early 70's, approximately 500-1000 people in Spain died from Toxic Oil Syndrome, an unusual disease brought on from exposure to this stuff. How did they get exposed? Someone sold industrial Rapeseed Oil, which isn't checked to Eurcic Acid content, as cooking Rapeseed Oil. Eurcic Acid's the reason why Mustard Oil's largely banned for food uses in Europe and elsewhere.

Honestly...I'm finding out enough in the Seed and Bean oil space to give me the heebie-jeebies. Why would ANYONE want to ingest Canola, in light of these details? I sure as hell don't.

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December 5, 2011
12:41 am
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
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June 5, 2011
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That's some really useful points, Mad Scientist – something to follow up on.

The emotives are amusing, though, like "if you can run an engine on it, you don't want to ingest it". Well, I can run an engine on vodka, which I definitely like drinking … and coconut oil is a principle ingredient in car wax, but I'll still eat the stuff – coconut oil, not car wax.

The facts are always good enough without the diversions.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
May 2, 2012
8:35 am
Andy
Guest

Just wondering - what is your thoughts on the refined coconut oil you use?

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May 2, 2012
12:07 pm
First-Eater
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February 22, 2010
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Andy:

I've tried many different brands of refined coconut oil, organic and non-organic, cold-pressed and cheap industrial.  They all taste basically the same -- with the exception of the stuff from Wilderness Family Naturals, which actually lives up to their hype of being perceptibly cleaner and purer.  I use it for most cooking, and buy the cheap stuff for deep-frying.  (It's not "cold-processed" anymore once you put it in a fryer!)

If I want the nutrition of a whole coconut product, I'll just use coconut milk (aka "coconut cream"), not coconut oil, and make a Thai curry or something.  I'm not sure the tiny amount of coconut-smelling compounds in "virgin" oil make much of a health difference.

JS

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May 2, 2012
2:24 pm
pam
Guest

there is cold-pressed sesame oil tho. (although traditionally it is rarely used in Chinese cooking cause it is more $$$$; it is used mostly for seasoning)

regards,

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October 1, 2012
8:26 am
pam
Guest

JS,

sorry me again.

do you know the amount of residual hexane in seed oils?
my guess is it's few tenths of ppm?

i have yet to find any toxicity dosage. the research is very scanty.

OSHA only lists some for inhaling.

(not that seed oil is good. but i would also like not to sound paranoid when i was discussing w/ others)

thanks.

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October 1, 2012
10:29 pm
First-Eater
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February 22, 2010
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pam:

If I recall correctly, there's not much hexane left in the oil itself: the main issue is pollution as it's emitted from the processing plant into the atmosphere.

JS

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