Fats to Avoid When Cooking

There are many fats to avoid when cooking because either the process of refining the oil or the cooking process itself leads to the creation of unhealthy trans fats. Following are some of the most common of these fats to avoid.

Canola oil

canola field

Made from genetically modified rapeseed, canola oil has a high sulphur content and goes rancid easily. The refining procedure involves a combination of high-temperature mechanical pressing and extraction using the solvent hexane. Even after considerable refining, traces of the solvent remain.

Like most other vegetable oils, canola oil also goes through the bleaching, degumming, deodorizing, and caustic refining process, all at very high temperatures, a process that can alter the omega 3 content in the oil. This high-temperature refining process creates trans fats, which in certain cases can raise the trans fat level to as high as 40 percent!

A recent study indicates that supposedly “heart healthy" canola oil actually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a vitamin required for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Rape seed also contains erucic acid, a very-long-chain fatty acid, which in some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions. Studies indicate that even low-erucic-acid canola oil causes heart lesions, particularly when the diet is low in saturated fats.

Vegetable shortening

Crisco was the first vegetable shortening on the market, coming out in 1911 when Procter & Gamble developed the process to hydrogenate cottonseed oil, which ensures the shortening remains solid at normal storage temperatures.

Its initial purpose was to create a cheaper substance to make candles with than the expensive animal fats in use at the time. As electricity began to reduce the need for candles, and as the product looked like lard, they began selling it as a food.

Crisco now consists of a blend of soybean oil, fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil, and partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils. Crisco and similar products are formed by the interesterification of a mixture of fully hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils, all of which should be avoided.

If you must use a refined oil...

refined cooking oil

Other oils such as grapeseed, peanut and sesame oils, which are good for deep frying at high temperatures should be used infrequently, as they are high in omega 6 and we already get too much omega 6 in our diet. Look for cold-pressed versions of these oils if they are necessary to your cooking.

Avoid entirely safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed oils as they go rancid quickly and have the highest amounts of omega 6. In addition, anything labeled only as “vegetable oil is likely to consist of cheap, highly processed oils like cottonseed oil. Be sure to avoid any oil that says it is “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”.

Any oil should be stored in a cool, dark place to keep it from becoming rancid too quickly.

This overview of fats to avoid should allow you to now make better choices when choosing which fats and oils to use in your everyday cooking. Replace these with healthy cooking oils and fats and see what a difference it makes to your health!

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