Millions of people cook with polyunsaturated oils, perhaps thinking it’s from a natural seed, so no problem, perhaps following conventional advice that it’s a healthy option, but definitely oblivious to how processing turns a natural seed into an axe wielding maniac of havoc and destruction, well…in a cellular level type of way.
What’s bad about oils?
Oil is contained in a seed, the seed casing protects the oil from light, heat and air. Light, heat and air damage the oil.
The mechanised, industrial, automated process of commercial oil production exposes the oil to light, heat and air.
Oxygen in the air will break down essential fatty acids in the oil leading to rancidity. When exposed to light an oil will generate free radicals, accelerating the rancidity process. Heat breaks down essential fatty acids by changing the molecular structure to produce trans fats.
Vegetable oils are unstable and prone to oxidation and rancidity – rancid oils introduce free radicals into the body which can cause widespread cellular damage.
Exposure to light, heat and air occurs throughout these damaging stages of oil production:
1. Seeds are cleaned and cooked.
- Mechanical extraction. Pressing machines generate pressure and heat.
- Solvent extraction. Toxic chemincal solvents such as hexane and heptane(lung irritants and nerve depressants) can remain in the extracted oil.
3. Oil Processing
But I’ve always cooked with sunflower or vegetable oil – what’s it doing to me?
Through all these processes, the natural, healthy nutrients(essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre) in polyunsaturated oils are removed, destroyed or converted into unnatural, toxic compounds hazardous to health that cause havoc with our biochemistry. Trans fats are formed. Aldehydes that are formed are linked to increased cancer risk. The natural antioxidants in the oil, for instance vitamin E, are destroyed by the high temperature. Artificial antioxidants introduced into the oil, BHT and BHA, are suspected of causing cancer and brain damage.
So avoid using polyunsaturated sunflower or vegetable oil, next we’ll follow up with some information on some healthier cooking fats to use.