DD – Cooking Oils

Dinner Diva

The Good and the Bad of Cooking Oils

By Leanne Ely CNC

Ever since the first caveman cooked an animal over the fire, there has been cooking oil. Today there are various cooking oils used in cooking for frying, stir frying, sauteing, and in salad dressings. And as you can imagine, there are good cooking oils, those that aren’t so healthy, and some that are downright dangerous.

Cooking oils mostly come from vegetables. You’ve seen them in the stores– olive, corn, canola, soy, safflower, avocado, sesame, sunflower, grape-seed, cottonseed, peanut, walnut, almond, coconut, hazelnut and more.

Olive oil is among the healthiest of all the cooking oils. This oil offers a good balance of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. I recommend regular olive oil for cooking; extra virgin olive oil for salads and other uncooked foods. Other healthy oils fall among the nut groups including coconut. Peanut and walnut oils both have high smoking points and are best used for high heat cooking.

On the flip side are the oils that are considerably unhealthy. Canola oil shouldn’t be used for human consumption because it’s a genetically developed plant from Canada that uses the rapeseed plant as its base; a known industrial oil used for machinery and such. The word “canola” comes from the words “Canada” and “oil.” The rapeseed plant that’s used to create canola oil has been found to be toxic to humans and animals.

The worst bad oil of course is any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil; these are cheap fats high in trans fats that wreak havoc in the body. These types of fats should be avoided at all costs.

The best oils are a variety of oils, the ones that are expeller or cold pressed are the healthiest. (With the exception of any olive oil, all oils should be kept in the fridge to keep their delicate fatty acids intact.) Keep in mind smoke point when cooking and remember, extra virgin olive oil should only be used in its raw state, never cooked.

0 Responses

    1. I just joined this site, and am very disappointed in the erroneous information being given with regards to Canola Oil. Trust is a huge factor on a site like this, and I have to say, my trust factor just plummeted!

      1. There are a great number of articles about canola oil on the internet. Many of them explain, scientifically, why canola oil is not good for you. One such article states, “Canola Oil Dangers:
        Until recently, canola oil nee ‘rapeseed oil’ was not allowed for internal consumption. In fact, canola oil is found to be poisonous for all living things, including human beings. It was used for other purposes such as a repellent, lubricant, fuel and a solution to illuminate the colored pages of the magazines, rather than as a cooking oil. This was before the rapeseed oil, was genetically modified. However, consequent research has revealed certain health dangers related to canola oil consumption like respiratory diseases, emphysema, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, constipation, irritability and blindness. Another fact, is the smoking point of canola oil, which makes it useless for deep-fry cooking. One can use it for baking purposes, wherein minimum amount of canola oil is required.” I encourage you to go to the following website: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/is-canola-oil-bad-for-you.html and Google, “Is canola oil bad for you?” You will find many different views and then you can decide for yourself. So, to say that the information here is “erroneous” is erroneous in itself. I, personally, would not use anything but high-quality virgin olive oil, used since biblical times.

      2. Quoted from the Mayo Clinic website

        “I read an article on the Internet that said canola oil contains toxins that are harmful to humans. Is this true?

        from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
        Health concerns about canola oil that are being circulated on the Internet are unfounded.

        Misinformation about the safety of canola oil may stem from the fact that, years ago, oil was produced from the rapeseed plant. Rapeseed oil contains very high levels of erucic acid, a compound that in large amounts can be toxic to humans. The canola plant was developed by natural crossbreeding from the rapeseed plant. Canola oil is produced from canola plants, not rapeseed plants. Canola plants have very low levels of erucic acid.

        Canola oil is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, canola oil is very low in saturated fat and has a very high proportion of monounsaturated fat, so it’s a healthy and safe choice when it comes to oils.”

        Leanne I have been a reader and user of your products and I was incredibly upset when I read this article. When I double checked my research I found that your statement regarding Canola Oil was false. I am disappointed and now concerned. Please correct this misinformation

  1. Leanne — What would you suggest using for baking if not Canola oil? What is “Vegetable” oil?


    1. Coconut oil is great for baking! It can be used to replace butter, shortening and all oils… I have been using it for 10 months now and really do love it. It’s much cheaper to buy on line, Tropical Traditions is where I get mine from, but it is found in grocery stores if you want to give it a try. I get the expeller pressed organic coconut oil… a bit pricier but…

      1. Dr. Mercola suggests using only coconut oil for any cooking. Something about heating oil changes it’s structure, making it bad for you. Check out what he has to say on his web site.

        There are different coconut oils, expeller pressed organic is my personal favorite. =)

        My Greek friend told me that Greeks don’t cook with oil. They cook with wine or water, and then drizzle olive oil on their food before eating it, so it’s never heated.

  2. Explain why extra virgin olive oil should never be used in cooking, please. Why is that bad? What does it do? How is that different from “light” olive oil? I use the “light” olive oil in baking, because it doesn’t impart a taste.

  3. Please check reliable sources for more uptodate information. These references are from the Mayo Clinic Embody Health site. Information about Canola oil being produced from the rapeseed plant is out of date.

    1.Fact sheet: Canola oil. American Dietetic Association. http://www.canolainfo.org/media/pdfs/canola-fact-sheet.pdf Accessed Dec. 4, 2009.
    2.Dupont J, et al. Food safety and health effects of canola oil. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1989;8:360.
    3.Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000033. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/GenerallyRecognizedasSafeGRAS/GRASListings/ucm154145.htm. Accessed Dec. 4, 2009.
    Love your recipes but now I must question your nutrition advice.

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