Cooking oils are a huge part of daily life. If you cook (or your partner does) then cooking oils are hanging around your kitchen. While your parents or grandparents were growing up, they probably used leftover fats and lard, butter, and flavorful olive oil to cook meals– until the government told them it was bad.
Unfortunately, the government and advisory groups we trusted like the National Education Cholesterol Program, the National Institutes of Health and The American Heart Association told us to move away from saturated fats and toward polyunsaturated fats. We were told to use “vegetable” oils like canola, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and corn because they would apparently lower the risk of heart disease. They were more than wrong.
Vegetable oils like the ones listed above are significantly high in omega-6 fatty acids– polyunsaturated fats. The problem with this is that through nearly all of human history, we have consumed more omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6 fatty acids. Wild foods like grass-fed beef and game have 7 times the omega 3 fats than industrially raised livestock. Animal products that your great grandparents and grandparents ate we’re not pumped with hormones or antibiotics–they were pasture-raised, organic, and grass-fed.
When we moved towards industrially raised animals and introduced highly refined and processed oils in our diets, our ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids went completely out of balance. So nowadays we are eating significantly higher amounts of omega-6 fats than we ever have before. Here’s the problem: omega-6 fats are inflammatory.
A diet high in omega-6 fats and low in omega-3 fats increases your risk for:
- Type-2 Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Macular degeneration
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Autoimmune disease
- Psychiatric disorders
Not only do omega-6 fats stimulate inflammatory pathways, they also decrease the availability of essential anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. When you think omega-6 fats think french fries, cake frosting, fast-food cheeseburgers, and fried chicken. Gross, right? Ok well now think about the vegetable oil you grew up thinking was the healthiest oil you could line your cookware with- it’s the same thing.
Vegetable oils are processed to death. They go through a ridiculous amount of processing with bleach, chemical solvents, de-waxers, and neutralizers before they go into the bottle, onto the shelf, into your home and into your body. This “solvent” used to extract the oil is most of the time a neurotoxin called hexane- and the oil is BATHED in this.
In addition, to being hexane-extracted, oils like corn, soybean, and canola are extracted from GMO products.
So what do we turn to? This is an easy and necessary step we can make towards a happier, healthier, and non-toxic life. Healthy oils like organic olive, organic coconut oil, grass-fed lard and butter, and others I’ll list below are not only brain and heart healthy, but they are important for overall optimal health and reducing inflammation. Instead of processed oils, pick up these at your local health store:
- Extra-virgin, cold-pressed organic olive oil
- Extra-virgin, cold-pressed, organic coconut oil
- Grass-fed meats
- Grass-fed butter
- Nuts like macadamia, almonds, walnuts, and pecans
- Fish like wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring
- “Why Oil Is Bad for You.” Dr. Mark Hyman, 7 Mar. 2016, drhyman.com/blog/2016/01/29/why-oil-is-bad-for-you/.
- FatHeadMovie, director. YouTube. YouTube, YouTube, 17 Feb. 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=omjWmLG0EAs&feature=youtu.be&t=47s.
- Food Babe. “Processed To Death – Get These Cooking Oils Out of Your Pantry STAT!” Food Babe, 18 Sept. 2018, foodbabe.com/cooking-oils/.