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Oils: The good, the bad and the ugly

This article was written for Yoga213's blog With so much information out there about the foods that you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be eating, it’s easy to get confused. As a starting point, just eat real food and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Being aware of what you’re eating is half the battle. However, there is one group of ‘foods’ that I recommend you stay away from because it is one of the most toxic, dangerous and degenerative things to put in your body. Introducing….VEGETABLE OIL. What are vegetable oils? They are oils that have been extracted from various seeds. Vegetable oils go by the names of canola oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, rapeseed oil, safflower oil and peanut oil. Also, it doesn’t matter if the company has plastered ‘organic’ over the bottle. Organic or not organic, don’t eat it. All the studies and reports that you’ve heard of telling you about the dangers of saturated fat and cholesterol are often funded by vegetable oil companies or have the healthy user effect . Take the American Heart Association (AHA) who recently published that vegetable oils are healthier than natural oils like coconut oil and grass-fed butter. Some of the sponsors included the Canola Oil Council! After decades of us being told that lots of carbs are healthy and low fat is the way to go, people are fatter and sicker than ever. Prior to Key’s campaign (he popularized the idea that fat clogs our arteries), people ate far more saturated fat and cholesterol but heart attacks were so rare that they were basically unheard of! Over the past 100 years, butter consumption has dropped to less than a quarter of what it was and vegetable oil has gone up five-fold. So, what are some hard scientific facts about why you should avoid these toxic fats at all costs?
  1. Industrial fat products are toxic to our arteries because they contain delicate polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are prone to oxidative damage, especially when exposed to heat and when removed from the antioxidants that protect them from that oxidative damage.
  2. Vegetable oil depletes your brain of its antioxidants
  3. Vegetable oils impair brain development through direct mutagenic effects on DNA
  4. It turns our immune system against us, causing food and diseases to trigger nerve degenerating reactions
  5. It impacts the gut thus impacting the brain.
  6. Vegetable oils make your brain more susceptible to damage by sugar
  7. Your blood vessels cannot work correctly after you have eaten vegetable oil
  8. Vegetable oil destroys complex nutrients and will deposit loads of bad fats into your tissues where they can find a spot and blast your tissues with free radicals
  9. Free radicals make your arteries extremely crispy and they generate inflammation – think about fried chicken skin … it tears more easily than raw chicken skin, right? Well, free radicals make the arterial wall into a kind of crunchy, crispy chicken skin. Now the artery can easily rupture and bleed. If your blood ever comes in contact with collagen directly, it will clot, causing a heart attack or stroke, it’s not fat that shuts off the blood flow.
  10. After you eat these distorted fatty acids, they can reproduce inside you – creating more free radicals
  11. Vegetable oils can disrupt normal metabolism so badly that a child’s dynamic symmetry is lost and the skeletal proportions become imbalanced
  12. If you eat enough trans fats, cellular dysfunction will impair so many cells in so many tissues that the cumulative effects will disrupt basic function like blood circulation and eventually kill you
  13. Heart disease is now the number one cause of death in both men and women and vegetable oil has gone up five-fold in the past century – they are both linked
  14. One of the initial steps in making vegetable oil involves the use of hexane,a component of gasoline. It then takes 20 or so stages to bleach and deodorize the dark, gunky crap
So, what oils are safe? Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are all safe oils to use. Plus, grass-fed butter, lard, and ghee are all healthy fats to use. A meal that is complete with animal fat or healthy fats actually help us to absorb and taste other nutrients. This is why oil or butter on foods make everything taste so damn delicious! You see, saturated fats (present in butter, lard, coconut oil and traditional fats) can resist a kind of heat damage called oxidation. Monounsaturated fats have room for a little oxidation to squeeze in but it’s not easy. So, monounsaturated fats like olive oil resist oxidation, however, it’s still recommended to not cook at high heat with it. Cooking under 190c is ideal to prevent the oil from going rancid. Benefits of good fats:
  • Omega 3 fats found in olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, and ghee help your body to reduce inflammation and fight off environmental toxins.
  • Coconut oil contains many different strains of healthy fats that help your gut, brain, inflammation and even help you lose weight.
  • Saturated fats are stable in the body and assist with a healthy immune system, heart, and metabolism
  • Normal hormonal production and balance are reliant on cholesterol. Your hormones are built from cholesterol and we cannot function without it
  • It was found that ‘elevated’ cholesterol in women of all ages and the elderly was demonstrated through data from studies to actually be a positive marker of longevity!
Vegetable oils are commonly found in all packaged foods and many restaurants and cafes cook with it too which is such a shame and it is because of a lack of education and cost saving. To create more awareness and action, when going out, please ask the chef to cook in olive oil or butter for you. Just the simple act of asking for a healthy oil gets people thinking about the impact that vegetable oil is having. And hey, maybe show them this blog post! You can find loads more information about fats, inflammation, gut, and hormonal health in my 8-week program or you can purchase my eBooks that contain loads of easy, fuss-free recipes that your body will love. Know Your fats: the complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol, Mary G Enig, Bethesda Press, 2000, p94 The cholesterol Myths, Uffe Ravnskov, New Trends Publishing, 2000, p30. Deep Nutrition , Shanaham, Catherine, Flatiron Books NY, (2008) Absorption, Metabolism and transport of carotenoids, Parker RS, FASEB J, April 1996, 10(5):542-51 Hulley, S.B., et al, 1992. “Health Policy on Blood Cholesterol. Time to Change Directions.” Circulation 86:1026-29 The healthy user effect in this case, is pointing out the fact that many of these studies are comparing the typical animal eater with the typical vegetarian. Meat eaters are typically more likely to be consuming bad quality meats, grain, sugars and fewer vegetables whereas vegetarians are generally more health-conscious people. This results in the studies showing the meat eaters have a higher risk of diseases compared to vegetarians. However, this is biased and skewed. They haven’t compared a very healthy meat eater, with a vegetarian but rather based these statistics off a generalisation.