The Dangers of Processed Vegetable Oils
The majority of our food today is either cooked or made with some type of oil. Knowing the difference between oils can have a major influence on your body’s overall health. It is vitally important to read not only the nutritional value of your your food purchased at the grocery, but also the ingredients that comprise them. For instance, most food items that you buy are made with seed oils such as sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, etc. Not only are most of the food we consume made with these types of oil, they are also fried with the same oil or mixture of oils as well. This means that the average American is getting a double dose of these oils that are made and manufactured in a most unpleasant way.
Until the 20th century, humans simply did not have way of extracting oil from these seeds like we do now. The extraction process is not as simple as merely “cold-pressing” the seeds, which involves pressing and grinding the seeds with enough pressure to extract the oil, which in turn keeps the aroma, flavor, and nutritional value of the oil intact. Instead, our “modern” way of extracting the oil involves a 70-minute wash with a highly toxic chemical solvent called hexane after the oil is extracted from the seed. Hexane has been identified by the FDA as a potent neurotoxin and a carcinogen. Exposure to hexane by ingesting it can lead to occurrences of various symptoms such as skin irritation, dry skin, pain in skin, irritation, pain and redness in eyes, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, dullness, weakness, headache, upper airway irritation, breathing difficulty, muscle cramps, tinnitus, muscle wasting and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in cases of chronic exposure.
The oil then enters into a refining stage in which they wash the oil for 20 minutes with sodium hydroxide, which is another chemical solvent and cleaner used in flooring stripping products, brick cleaners, cements, and household products like drain cleaners and metal polishers.
After the oil is exposed to these dangerous chemicals, the oil is then bleached to lighten the color. A steam injected heated process is then implemented to reduce the odor of the canola oil. The oil is now considered “fully refined” and is ready to be bottled and sold.
Our industrialized way of life is poisoning our food… period. There is not a single argument that can be presented to this oil extraction process that can even remotely be considered healthy. And yet, we are spreading these oils all over foods that are healthy, such as salads and fruits. It is important, when choosing an oil, to make sure that the oil has either been cold-pressed or organic, which eliminates the toxic chemical processes in the extraction process. But not all types of oil are bad. When considering the healthiest oils, try either olive or coconut oil. These oils maintain a healthy balance between your omega-3 and omega-6 intake, whereas oils like grapeseed, soybean, canola, safflower, and sunflower oil give you way more omega-6 than your body needs. Above all else, READ READ READ the labels on your food.