Fast2eat all-inclusive guide with the best and worst cooking oils for your health.
Confused about which cooking oil is the healthiest? Join the club.
You’ve probably heard a lot of back and forth about heart health, trans fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, PUFAs (Polyunsaturated fatty acids), MUFAs (Monounsaturated fatty acids) and smoke points when it comes to cooking oils. It can all be a bit confusing, so this article is here to clear it up.
This versatile cooking oil is an example of recycling as it is extracted from grape seeds left over from winemaking.
Grapeseed oil has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fat, with a similar fatty acid profile to soybean oil. I know this one is going to be a big shocker for a lot of people, especially since grapeseed oil is constantly marketed as such a healthy cooking oil. Although the polyunsaturated fat in grapeseed oil may help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and vitamin E has been shown to fight inflammation, grapeseed oil is about 70% omega-6 fatty acid. Too much omega-6s PUFAs causes inflammation which is the true cause of heart disease and can lead to other health problems like cancer and autoimmune disorders. Oils that are high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats like grapeseed oil are very fragile and therefore prone to oxidation. When an oil oxidizes it creates free radicals which can also lead to cancer, inflammation, hormonal imbalance and thyroid damage. Even cold pressed grapeseed oil may not be harmed during processing, but it is still high in omega-6s. Some makers of grapeseed oil will go on about how “pure” and wholesome their product is compared to other oils or even other brands of grapeseed oil. That’s probably because most grapeseed oil is industrially processed with hexane and other toxic, carcinogenic solvents used to extract and clean the oil, with traces of these chemicals remaining in the final product. However, expeller-pressed processed grapeseed oil is still rife with polyunsaturated fat, in concentrations which are highly toxic to humans. Doesn’t matter how “pure” those PUFAs are.
It is also an industrially processed oil, so it becomes oxidized while it is made.
Grapeseed oil is low in saturated fat and has a high smoke point, which makes it a choice for all kinds of cooking and grilling. It is also popular with chefs since it has an extremely high smoke point, and you can use it in frying, sautéing or other high-heat cooking methods.
A favourite of chefs and foodies, grapeseed oil is light in colour and flavour, with a mild, slightly nutty taste that works well with a variety of other, stronger flavours. Neutral in flavour, sub it for olive oil in salad dressings, sauces, or condiments like homemade mayonnaise, where you don’t want any flavour because it emulsifies well and won’t separate as easily as other oils might. Its nutty but mild flavour also works well drizzled over roasted veggies. This oil is also used to make margarine.
Made from: the seeds of grapes used to make wine.
Best for: mayonnaise, dressings, dips and sauces.
Not recommended for: It’s not going to kill you if you use a bit of grapeseed oil here and there, but it’s not an oil you should be using all the time as your primary cooking oil.
Pros: It has a relatively high smoke point.
Cons: It’s another oil high in omega-6 fatty acids with basically no omega-3s. Plus, there’s a small toxicity concern: Grapeseed oil can occasionally have dangerous levels of harmful compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs*) due to the drying process, which involves direct contact with combustion gases. Whenever possible, buy organic grapeseed oil, as this means it is produced without any chemical substances.
* PAHs are not unique to grapeseed oil—you can be exposed to them by eating charred foods, too. Don’t fear grapeseed as a lone source of these compounds.
Note1: If using in a salad dressing, stick to about one teaspoon per serving of the dressing—you’ll get the great flavour without going overboard. For frying, pour the oil into a spritzer bottle and spray onto a nonstick skillet to keep calories down.
Note2: Most people consume too many omega-6s in the diet (from corn, soy and processed foods) so should work towards lowering them and raising omega-3s (from fish, seafood, flax and chia).
Other uses: Mix with other oils to make a massage oil or use as a moisturizer. Use grapeseed oil as a treatment for skin injuries, or use as a lubricant while shaving.
How to store: Store grapeseed oil in the refrigerator to prevent it from becoming rancid.
Smoke point: 198-216°C (390 -421°F)
Fast2eat all-inclusive guide with the best and worst cooking oils for your health:
Cooking Oils Recommended by Canada’s food guide
But it says “These foods contain healthy fats: nuts; seeds and avocado”.
“Make a healthy choice – What you eat on a regular basis matters for your health.”
Canada’s food guide .