We have always heard that vegetable oil is SO healthy for us. Canola, Corn, Soy Bean; Sunflower; Safflower; Peanut (etc.) – they will all decrease your cholesterol levels as they are low in saturated fats. They are the ultimate in ‘heart healthy’ cooking and inexpensive. They can also take high heat – and rarely turn rancid.
Yes, they are low in saturated fats. But, let’s look at how these oils are made. For example – ‘Canola Oil’. By the way – there is n such thing as a ‘canola’ – CanOLA actually stands for Canadian Oil, Low Acid and is made from rapeseed.
So, here is the basic process (and, it is similar for many of these oils)…
- Crush the seeds and heat them
- Continue pressing the seeds to make a ‘presscake’ that can be used in the next step.
- Extract the oil with hexane (a chemical solvent).
- Remove the solvent (not a 100% process).
- The crude canola oil goes through a process of water or organic acids (these are chemical organic acids – ‘organic’) to remove other compounds and initial color.
- Then, it goes through another step to remove unpleasant odors and taste.
YUM – does that sound good to you?
What is worse – these oils are not heart healthy because their Omega 6 fatty acid composition (more inflammatory) is higher than their Omega 3 fatty acid composition (often 2:1). This is NOT heart healthy if you want to limit inflammation.
So, what do I suggest? Here are the cooking oils that I use.
Other oils that I suggest – but, not for cooking…
– Walnut oil – GREAT for an addition of taste in salad dressing – or, as a finishing oil.
–Truffle oil – I love it in aioli and as a finishing oil. A little goes a long way.
–Sesame oil – ah yes. It tastes great in Asian cooking – but, discretion is the better part of valor – this stuff packs a punch!
To quote one of my favorite TV chefs (Jaques Pepin)…” Happy Cooking!”