Have you ever wondered how cooking and dressing oils are made? Well there’s a lot of ways it can be done and this has changed a lot throughout history, but usually, it’s a process of extracting fat using a mixture of heat and compression. Some types of oil can be cold pressed, which entails minimal processing. Most oil sources, however, are not suitable for cold pressing, because it would leave many undesirable trace elements in the oil, causing it to be odiferous, bitter tasting, or dark.
Cooking something in oil has several advantages over other forms of cooking. Oil can be heated to much higher temperatures than water. Water tops out at 212°F/100°C. Oil can reach temperatures above 300°F/148°C. Higher heat means that things cook more quickly. But therein lies some potential problems. Some oils, if not toxic already, can become toxic at higher heats.
Frying in oil usually means a better transfer of heat than ‘dry frying’. The surface of the product to be cooked as well as the surface of the cooking utensil are not always uniform. A layer of oil conducts heat much more effectively through convection than does a layer of air, which is actually an insulator.
Oils can also be used for dressing stuff like pasta and salads, which make it easier to eat and cut up and add some nice extra flavor and healthy fats.
There’s a lot of oils out there to choose from; some good and some not so good. First, let’s go over some of the ones to avoid, then we’ll go over the good ones.
Oils to avoid
Grapeseed oil is the oil that is extracted from grape seeds. It usually comes from the seeds leftover from grapes used in the winemaking process. It’s been growing in popularity over the years as it’s cheap to produce, has high amounts of omega-6 and also contains vitamin E.
A lot of the problems is in how it’s produced. Hexane, which is a toxic chemical, is often used to extract the oil from the seed. What you get from that is a toxic, mutated oil that loses many of its natural health benefits.
It’s around 70% omega-6 fats. Scientists have speculated that a high intake of omega-6 fats, relative to omega-3s, may increase inflammation in the body, which is connected to a lot of other problems. Furthermore the vitamin E content is quite low.
Grapeseed oil has a moderately high smoking point, so is sometimes advertised as a good choice for high-heat cooking like frying. However, this may be bad advice, as grapeseed oil is also high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fats tend to react with oxygen at high heat, forming harmful compounds and free radicals.
Soybean oil is the edible vegetable oil extracted from soybean seeds. According to the US agricultural services data information, it is the most popular and largely used cooking oil in the world.
Soybean oil has a better fatty acid profile than grapeseed, with just 50% omega-6, but there’s some other concerns. Again it’s largely extracted via hexane and at very high heats, leading to high toxicity.
Furthermore, there’s virtually no micronutrients in soybean oil. So even if you find some which is produced in better ways, there are many far more healthier options out there.
Corn oil is a refined vegetable oil widely used in cooking and especially deep frying. It’s about 60% omega-6 fats which again, is better than the fatty acid profile of grapeseed oil, but there are many concerns in the way it’s produced.
It goes through an extensive refining process to be extracted from corn. This involves heating at over 500°F/260°C, which massively adulterates its fatty acids, leaving something more toxic. Most is GMO, which there are many concerns over.
And again, there’s virtually no micronutrients in corn oil. So even if you find some which is produced in better ways, there are many far more healthier options out there.
Sunflowers are one of the few crops native to the United States. According to some sources, indigenous people likely began to cultivate them around 1000 BC.
With about 70% omega-6, it’s as bad as grapeseed oil on the fatty acid profile, which you may remember, puts you at greater risk of inflammation.
Sunflower oil has been shown to release toxic compounds when heated to higher temperatures, especially over a longer period of time. So if you’re going to use it, best not to heat it too much. But there’s still a lot of oils out there with a much healthier nutrient profile.
Canola is an oilseed crop created through plant crossbreeding. It’s only about 28% omega-6, giving it the best fatty acid profile out of all the oils covered so far. The problem is mainly in the processing.
Canola is produced from an inedible rapeseed using toxic chemicals, then the seed processing involves synthetic chemicals that help extract the oil. Again, most is GMO and it has a very low nutrient profile.
Coconut oil is an edible oil derived from the wick, meat, and milk of the coconut palm fruit.
One amazing health benefit of coconut oil it’s made up of 70% MCT (medium-chain-triglycerides). MCT fats are easily converted into ketones for energy as they require minimal processing by the liver.
Coconut oil is abundant in good fatty acids, primarily lauric acid which makes up 50% of its fat composition. Lauric acid is really good for your immune system and provides an antifungal effect and is known to remedy many ailments.
It has many phytonutrients.
Tallow is fat rendered from beef or less often mutton, which is why it’s sometimes called beef lard. The healthiest tallow comes from grass-fed cattle, as opposed to those conventionally fed on grains, as this gives it a higher omega-3 profile.
Tallow rendered from grass-fed cattle provides vitamins A, D, K, E and B12, choline, CLA and healthy fatty acids, including oleic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid and others.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter. It’s more concentrated in fat than butter, as its water and milk solids have been removed.
As well as being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A, there are many other health benefits. It’s been shown to improve eyesight, reduce inflammation and boost your immune system.
Olive oil is actually very high in omega-6, which often leads to inflammation. But olive oil is a rare exception in that it will not cause inflammation because it works as an anti-inflammatory.
It has very little vitamins and minerals, but it’s loaded with even more oleic acid and phytonutrients than coconut oil. It comes with many healthy fatty acids, especially oleic acid, but also linoleic and palmitic.
Olive oil has been shown to have amazing benefits to those suffering from heart problems.
Avocado oil is one of the few oils that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, a vital electrolyte most people are deficient in. Each avocado contains approximately a whopping 708mg of potassium, making it one of the absolute best sources out there.
Like olive oil, it’s rich in oleic acid, a very healthy fat. It’s been shown to reduce significantly lower levels of triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, inflammatory cytokines and blood sugar. It enhances the absorption of important nutrients.
It’s also rich in antioxidants which helps fight free radicals, which are unstable compounds that can damage cells over time. You can easily add it to your diet in a salad, as part of a dip or marinade, or as a replacement for most other plant oils.
MCT oil is a supplement made from a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides. MCT molecules are smaller than most fat molecules, making them easier for the liver to process and easier to digest. It’s usually made from coconut or palm kernel oil. Both have MCT in them. You can buy 100% MCT oil or a mixture of MCT and LCT. Our favourite is MCT-1-4-3 which was created by Dr Mary Newport in honour of her husband, Steve, who suffered from Alzheimers.
MCT can help your body make ketones, an energy source for your brain that doesn’t have carbs. Some say drinking it will make your mind sharper.
However, you should be careful about consuming too much of this if you’re on a high carb diet, as the fat won’t burn as well and you won’t get many of the benefits.
There are many different oils out there to choose from and it’s a good idea to have a balance of the good ones. Where possible, choose unrefined, extra virgin, organic. Stay away from trans fats and check smoke temperatures. And if you’d like a BOOST in fat burning, to mitigate the damage in the bad stuff and SUPERCHARGE the effect of the good stuff, then check out our #1 Biohacking tool, the drinkable fermented ketones for improving fat loss, energy, mood, sleep, skin, digestion, and energy.
Grapeseed oil – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grape-seed-oil
Soybean oil – https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/soybean-oil.html
Corn oil – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/corn-oil
Sunflower oil – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-sunflower-oil-healthy
Canola oil – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-canola-oil-healthy
Coconut oil – https://konsciousketo.com/blogs/keto/coconut-oil-ketosis
Tallow – https://draxe.com/nutrition/tallow/
Ghee – https://ghc.health/blogs/all-about-men/10-health-benefits-of-ghee
Olive oil – https://www.verywellfit.com/olive-oil-nutrition-facts-calories-and-health-benefits-4120274
Avocado oil – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-avocado-oil-benefits
MCT oil – https://www.webmd.com/diet/mct-oil-health-benefits-common-uses