Think, Read, Cook

Because no single way of eating works for everybody.

Grease is the Word… but What About Oil?


It seems the Oil Wars are on again… and I’m not referring to petroleum. Today’s CBC article about heart-healthy oils has reminded me of another confusing aspect of food and health: cooking oil.

The debate (okay, furious conflict) about which oils are healthy for us and which oils will make us die of heart failure has been waging for decades. First we were told that animal fats of all kinds were bad for us. We were supposed to eat refined vegetable oils instead. Then corn oil was declared not good for us… sometimes. Canola oil was supposed to be a healthy-oil miracle. Then some studies showed it wasn’t good for us, but other studies said it was. Then we were supposed to use safflower oil instead of everything else… maybe. We got all tangled up with our Omega-6es and our Omega-3s, until the oil-buying public hardly knew which puddle of grease to step in.

According to the CBC article, Health Canada has now decided to allow producers of high-omega-6 oils – such as safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, soybean, and corn oil – to put labels on their products with health claims about how good they are for your heart, based on previous studies.

But a study in Australia concluded that high-Omega-6 oils are probably bad for your heart.

But that study is from 40 years ago, when they were eating margarine that was also high in trans-fat.

But in the UK and France, the government urges people to consume less Omega-6… based on studies.

You know, I have this urge to stand up and yell, “Poo on all of you!” It’s not a mature impulse, but it does express my feelings about the situation. It’s like every time there’s some study or other, everyone goes berserk and begins taking sides and sharpening weapons and making Absolute Statements. And a person should never make absolute statements! 😉

So I ask myself, what oil should I use?

Looking at history, rather than at today’s squirrel-cage of nervously-hopping data-points, I’ve come to a conclusion. And that is, the less processing required to produce the oil, the healthier it will be for me as a mammalian native of Planet Earth. After all, we humans were living here long before factories began processing corn kernels (and other seeds) with solvents and de-gummers and bleaches and deodorants. I’m thinking it’s better to eat something more natural. Like olive oil, which doesn’t get treated with chemicals when it’s pressed. Or butter, which just gets churned.

Or maybe even… duck fat?


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This entry was posted on February 12, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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