Cooking oil to think twice (not heart-healthy)

Cooking oil that is not heart-healthy - think twice

Cooking oil is a common ingredient in most kitchens today. It is used for frying, baking, grilling, and sautéing. While cooking oil is essential for preparing delicious meals, not all cooking oils are good for our health. In recent years, there has been a rise in heart-related diseases, and research has shown that some cooking oils are to blame. The high amount of saturated fats in certain oils makes them a threat to our overall health. Therefore, it is important to think twice before using some oils and to choose healthier alternatives. In this article, we will discuss some of the cooking oils that are not heart-healthy, why they are a risk, and what we can use instead.

This cooking oil is not heart-healthy (think twice); however, Canada’s food guide doesn’t mention it.

Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is a light and neutral oil extracted from the grapes’ seeds. This versatile cooking oil is an example of recycling as it is extracted from grape seeds left over from winemaking.
It has become a popular cooking oil due to its high smoke point, so it can be heated to high temperatures without breaking down or producing harmful compounds, which makes it suitable for high-heat cooking such as sautéing, frying, and baking.
Additionally, it has a mild, light, neutral flavour, making it a good choice for salad dressings and other dishes requiring a more neutral flavour profile. This oil is also used to make margarine.
In addition to its culinary uses, grapeseed oil is also used in skin care products due to its antioxidant properties. It is rich in vitamin E and contains omega-6 fatty acids, which makes it beneficial for skin and hair health when used topically.
It is important to note that grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, which may make it less stable than other cooking oils, and it should be appropriately stored to prevent oxidation.

grapeseed oil

High in polyunsaturated fat
16-20% MUFA
70-90% PUFA
9-11% saturated
Smoke point: 215-230°C/420-450°F

Although Grapeseed oil is low in saturated fat, it has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fat with a similar fatty acid profile to soybean oil. This one will be a big shocker for many people, especially since grapeseed oil is constantly marketed as 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 with basically no omega-3s causes inflammation which is the actual cause of heart disease and can lead to other health problems like cancer and autoimmune disorders. Oils high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, like grapeseed oil, are very fragile and prone to oxidation. When oil oxidizes, it creates free radicals, leading 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.
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 involving direct contact with combustion gases. If possible, buy organic grapeseed oil, which means it is produced without any chemical substances.
* PAHs are not unique to grapeseed oil—you can also be exposed to them by eating charred foods. Don’t fear grapeseed as a lone source of these compounds.
Some makers of grapeseed oil will go on about how “pure” and wholesome their product is compared to other oils or 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. It doesn’t matter how “pure” those PUFAs are.

Most people consume too many omega-6s in their diet (from cornsoy and processed foods), so they should work towards lowering them and raising omega-3s (from fish, seafood, flax and chia).

If using in a salad dressing, stick to about one teaspoon per serving — you’ll get great flavour without going overboard.
For frying, pour the oil into a spritzer bottle and spray onto a nonstick skillet to keep calories down.

What type of fatty acids are in Grapeseed oil?

Grapeseed oil is primarily composed of various fatty acids and has specific characteristics. Here is a breakdown of the fatty acid profile and general information about grapeseed oil:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)

Grapeseed oil is primarily made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid). It is a rich source of PUFAs, essential fats that cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet. The percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in grapeseed oil can vary, but it is around 70-90% on average.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

Grapeseed oil also contains a decent amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, particularly oleic acid. MUFAs are considered heart-healthy fats and can have potential health benefits. The approximate percentage of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) in Grapeseed oil is around 16-20%.

Saturated fatty acids

Grapeseed oil is lower in saturated fatty acids than other cooking oils. It contains a low percentage of saturated fats. The percentage of saturated fatty acids in grapeseed oil is approximately 9-11%.

Trans fatty acids

Grapeseed oil is typically low in trans fatty acids, especially if it is unprocessed or minimally processed. The exact percentage may vary depending on factors such as the manufacturing process and brand, but grapeseed oil is generally considered low in trans fats.

Smoke point

Grapeseed oil has a relatively high smoke point, typically ranging from 215-230°C/420-450°F. This high smoke point makes it suitable for various cooking methods, including sautéing, frying, stir-frying, and baking.

It is important to note that the exact fatty acid composition and smoke point can vary between different brands and variations of grapeseed oil.
It is always advisable to check the label or consult the manufacturer’s specifications for the specific grapeseed oil you use to obtain accurate and detailed information.

What is Grapeseed oil made from?

Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes used to make wine.

What is Grapeseed oil best for?

Grapeseed oil has several beneficial properties and can be used for various purposes. Here are some common uses of grapeseed oil:

Culinary use

Grapeseed oil is popular in cooking due to its light flavour and high smoke point. It is a versatile oil for sautéing, frying, stir-frying, grilling, and baking. Grapeseed oil can be used as a substitute for other cooking oils, providing a neutral taste that doesn’t overpower the flavours of the ingredients.

Salad dressings and marinades

Grapeseed oil can be used as a base for salad dressings, mayonnaise, dips, sauces and marinades. Its mild flavour allows other ingredients to shine while providing a smooth and light texture.

Baking and frying

With its high smoke point, grapeseed oil is well-suited for high-heat cooking methods like baking and frying. It helps achieve crispy and golden results in fried foods and can be used in baking recipes requiring neutral-tasting oil.

Skincare

Grapeseed oil is commonly used in skincare products due to its lightweight and non-greasy texture. It contains antioxidants and vitamin E, which can help moisturize the skin, promote elasticity, and protect against free radicals. It is often used in facial oils, moisturizers, and body lotions.

Haircare

Grapeseed oil can be used in haircare as a lightweight and non-greasy oil. It helps moisturize the hair without weighing it down, adding shine, and providing a natural conditioning effect. It can be used directly on the hair or added to hair masks, conditioners, or styling products.

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 it as a lubricant while shaving.

It is important to choose high-quality, cold-pressed grapeseed oil for optimal results.
As with any new product, it is advisable to perform a patch test on a small skin area before using grapeseed oil topically and consult a healthcare professional if you have specific concerns or conditions.

What is Grapeseed oil not recommended for?

While grapeseed oil has numerous benefits and is generally safe for consumption and topical use, there are a few considerations and situations where it may not be recommended. Here are some instances where caution or avoiding grapeseed oil is advisable:

Consumption in large amounts

Grapeseed oil is still an oil and is calorie-dense. Excessive oil consumption can contribute to weight gain and other health concerns. Consuming grapeseed oil in moderation is best as part of a balanced diet. 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.

Low Omega-3 content

Grapeseed oil is not a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. If you specifically require a high intake of omega-3s, other oils like flaxseed or fish oil may be more suitable options.

Nut allergies

Grapeseed oil is derived from the seeds of grapes and is generally not associated with nut allergies. However, individuals with grape allergies or allergies to other fruits in the same botanical family (such as berries) should exercise caution and consult a healthcare professional before using grapeseed oil.

Sensitivity or allergic reactions

Though uncommon, some individuals may have sensitivities or allergic reactions to grapeseed oil. It is always recommended to perform a patch test on a small skin area before using grapeseed oil topically, especially if you have a history of skin allergies or sensitivities.

Reusing for cooking

Reusing or repeatedly heating grapeseed oil for cooking is not recommended. Like any oil, it can undergo chemical changes and the formation of harmful compounds when heated to high temperatures repeatedly.

It is important to note that individual responses to grapeseed oil may vary.
Suppose you have any specific health conditions, allergies, or dietary restrictions. In that case, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian before incorporating grapeseed oil into your routine.

How to store Grapeseed oil?

Proper storage of grapeseed oil is crucial to maintain its freshness and quality. Here are some guidelines for storing grapeseed oil effectively:

Cool and dark location

Grapeseed oil should be stored in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Exposure to light, heat, and fluctuations in temperature can cause the oil to degrade and lose its quality. A pantry or cupboard away from the stove or any other heat-emitting appliances is an ideal location.

Tightly sealed container

Ensure that the container or bottle of grapeseed oil is tightly sealed to prevent air exposure. Oxygen can contribute to oxidation and the breakdown of the oil. It is best to use bottles or containers that have good sealing capabilities to preserve the oil’s freshness.

Protect from oxygen

Choosing bottles or containers that minimize the airspace inside is recommended to minimize oxidation. This helps reduce the amount of oxygen in the container and slows the oxidation process.

Avoid refrigeration

Grapeseed oil does not need to be refrigerated. Refrigeration can cause the oil to solidify and develop condensation when taken out, potentially compromising its quality and flavour. Storing it at room temperature is sufficient.

Check expiration date

Like any other oil, grapeseed oil has a limited shelf life. It is important to check the expiration date on the bottle or packaging and use the oil before it expires. Using grapeseed oil past the expiration date can compromise flavour and quality.

By following these storage guidelines, you can help maintain the freshness and quality of grapeseed oil. Always refer to the specific storage instructions provided by the manufacturer for the particular brand of grapeseed oil you have for more accurate guidance.

What are Grapeseed oil pros and cons?

Grapeseed oil offers several benefits and considerations. Here are some pros and cons of grapeseed oil:

Pros of Grapeseed oil

High Smoke Point

Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point, typically ranging from 215°C to 230°C/420°F to 450°F. This makes it suitable for various cooking methods, including sautéing, frying, stir-frying, and baking. It provides a neutral taste and can withstand high heat without breaking down or producing smoke.

Heart-healthy fats

Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid). These fats are considered essential fats and can support heart health when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Vitamin E and antioxidants

Grapeseed oil contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also contains other antioxidants that may contribute to overall health and well-being.

Light flavour

Grapeseed oil has a light flavour that is not overpowering. This makes it suitable for various culinary applications where a subtle taste is desired, allowing the ingredients’ natural flavours to shine through.

Skincare benefits

Grapeseed oil is often used in skincare products due to its lightweight and easily absorbed texture. It contains antioxidants and vitamin E, which can help moisturize and nourish the skin, promote elasticity, and protect against free radicals.

Cons of Grapeseed oil

Omega-6 to Omega-3 Balance

Grapeseed oil is relatively high in omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids. An imbalance in these fatty acids, with excessive omega-6 intake and inadequate omega-3 intake, may have potential health consequences. Maintaining a balanced ratio of these essential fatty acids in the diet is important.

Limited nutritional profile

Grapeseed oil does not offer a wide range of nutrients beyond the fats and antioxidants it contains. It does not provide significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other beneficial compounds in whole foods.

Allergies and sensitivities

While grapeseed oil is generally considered safe, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to grapes or grape products. It is important to be aware of any allergies or sensitivities and consult a healthcare professional if needed.

Potential processing methods

The quality and processing methods of grapeseed oil can vary between brands. Some lower-quality versions may undergo refining processes that strip away some natural compounds and nutrients.

Potential small toxicity concern

Grapeseed oil can occasionally have dangerous levels of harmful compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs*) due to the drying process involving 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.

It is important to use grapeseed oil in moderation as part of a balanced diet; individual responses to the oil may vary.
Suppose you have specific health concerns or dietary restrictions.
In that case, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional or nutritionist before incorporating grapeseed oil into your routine.

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Cottonseed oil

vegetable oil

High in polyunsaturated and saturated fats
27-33% saturated
54-58% PUFA
18-35% MUFA
Smoke point: 215-232⁰C/420-450⁰F

Cottonseed oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of cotton plants, which is widely used for cooking and as a key ingredient in many packaged food products. It is a popular cooking oil in many parts of the world, particularly in countries like India, China, and the United States. Cottonseed oil has a high smoke point and mild neutral flavour, which makes it ideal for frying, baking, and sautéing. However, it’s important to note that cottonseed oil may not be the healthiest option due to its high levels of saturated fats. It is also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which, when consumed in excess, can contribute to an imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Consuming it in moderation is recommended as part of a balanced diet. In addition to its culinary uses, cottonseed oil is also utilized in various industrial applications, including the production of cosmetics, soaps, and lubricants. Cottonseed oil may contain traces of toxic pesticides if not properly extracted and refined. It is important to choose oil that has been carefully processed to minimize any potential health risks.

What type of fatty acids are in Cottonseed oil?

Cottonseed oil is primarily composed of the following fatty acids:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)

Cottonseed oil is known for its relatively high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It contains about 54-58% polyunsaturated fatty acids. These PUFAs mainly consist of linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid. It is worth noting that cottonseed oil has one of the highest percentages of polyunsaturated fatty acids among commonly consumed edible oils. However, please note that the exact percentage of PUFAs can vary depending on factors such as the variety of cottonseed used and the processing methods employed during oil extraction.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

Cottonseed oil typically contains a moderate amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. It typically contains about 18-35% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). The exact percentage of MUFAs in cottonseed oil can vary depending on the variety of cottonseed used and the processing methods employed during oil extraction.

Saturated fatty acids

Saturated fatty acids make up a significant portion of cottonseed oil. The exact percentage may vary depending on the processing method and variety of cottonseed used. Still, it generally contains more saturated fats than other plant-based oils. Cottonseed oil typically contains around 27-33% saturated fatty acids. However, it’s important to note that these values may vary slightly depending on the specific brand or source of cottonseed oil.

Trans fatty acids

Cottonseed oil may contain a small amount (less than 1%) of trans fatty acids. However, it’s important to distinguish between naturally occurring trans fats and artificial trans fats, which are produced through the process of hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil may contain higher levels of artificial trans fats, which are considered unhealthy and should be avoided. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the trans fat content can vary depending on the specific manufacturing processes employed.

Smoke point

Regarding the smoke point, cottonseed oil typically has a high smoke point, which means it can withstand higher cooking temperatures without breaking down and producing smoke and undesirable flavours in the food being cooked. The exact smoke point may vary depending on the oil’s quality and refining process, but it generally ranges from 215-232⁰C/420-450⁰F. This high smoke point makes cottonseed oil suitable for frying, sautéing, and other high-heat cooking methods.

Please remember that the provided information is based on general knowledge about cottonseed oil. For more precise and accurate data on the composition of a specific cottonseed oil product, I recommend referring to the product’s packaging or contacting the manufacturer directly.

What is Cottonseed oil made from?

Cottonseed oil is extracted from the seeds of cotton plants.

What is Cottonseed oil best for?

Cottonseed oil is a versatile cooking oil suitable for various culinary applications. Its mild flavour and high smoke point make it well-suited for several cooking methods, including frying, baking, and sautéing. Here are some specific uses for cottonseed oil:

Frying

Cottonseed oil’s high smoke point makes it ideal for deep frying. It can withstand high temperatures without breaking down or producing smoke, producing crispy and golden fried foods.

Baking

Cottonseed oil can be used in baking recipes as a substitute for other oils or fats. It can help add moisture and tenderness to baked goods like cakes, cookies, and muffins.

Sautéing

Cottonseed oil’s mild flavour and ability to withstand high heat make it suitable for sautéing vegetables, meats, and other ingredients. It can help enhance the flavours of the ingredients without overpowering them.

Salad dressings and marinades

Cottonseed oil can be used as a base for homemade salad dressings and marinades. Its neutral flavour allows other ingredients to shine, while its smooth texture helps emulsify the dressings.

Other uses

Besides culinary uses, cottonseed oil is also used in various industrial applications. It is used to produce cosmetics, soaps, candles, detergents, lubricants, and even biodiesel.

It’s important to note that while cottonseed oil is versatile and widely available, it is higher in saturated fats compared to some other cooking oils. Therefore, consuming it in moderation is recommended as part of a balanced diet.

What is Cottonseed oil not recommended for?

Cottonseed oil is not recommended for certain purposes due to its composition and characteristics. Here are some instances where cottonseed oil may not be the best choice:

High-temperature cooking with prolonged heating

While cottonseed oil has a high smoke point, it is still composed of a significant amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). PUFAs can be susceptible to oxidation when exposed to high heat for a long time. Therefore, for extended high-temperature cooking methods like deep or continuous frying, oils with a higher smoke point and more stable fatty acid profile, such as refined peanut or canola oil, might be a better choice.

Individuals with allergies

Some people may have allergies to cottonseed oil. Suppose you or anyone you are cooking for has known allergies to cottonseed or related ingredients. In that case, avoiding using cottonseed oil and opting for alternative cooking oils is advisable.

Health concerns

Cottonseed oil contains a relatively high amount of saturated fats compared to other oils. Excessive consumption of saturated fats may increase the risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease. Consuming cottonseed oil in moderation is recommended as part of a balanced diet.

Artificial trans fats

It’s important to note that partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil or any other partially hydrogenated oil may contain artificial trans fats. These trans fats are known to be harmful to health and have been linked to various health problems. It is best to avoid products that contain artificial trans fats and opt for healthier alternatives.

Suppose you have any specific dietary or health concerns.
In that case, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice regarding the suitability of cottonseed oil.

How to store Cottonseed oil?

To ensure the freshness and quality of cottonseed oil, it is important to store it properly. Here are some guidelines for storing cottonseed oil:

Keep it in a cool and dark place

Store cottonseed oil in a cool, dry, dark pantry or cupboard away from direct light and heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can accelerate oxidation, leading to rancidity and a decline in quality.

Seal it tightly

Ensure that the bottle or container of cottonseed oil is tightly sealed to prevent air from entering, as exposure to air can also cause oxidation. This helps to maintain the freshness and flavour of the oil.

Avoid moisture

Moisture can promote the growth of bacteria and moulds, which can affect the quality of the oil. Therefore, keeping cottonseed oil away from areas with high humidity, such as near the stove or sink, is important.

Use clean utensils

When using cottonseed oil, always use clean and dry utensils to avoid introducing any contaminants that can spoil the oil.

Check for signs of rancidity

Regularly inspect the oil for any signs of rancidity, such as an off-putting odour or a change in colour or taste. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the oil, as rancid oil can be harmful and unpleasant to consume.

By following these storage guidelines, you can help maintain cottonseed oil’s quality and shelf life for an extended period.

What are Cottonseed oil pros and cons?

Cottonseed oil has both pros and cons. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using cottonseed oil:

Pros of Cottonseed oil

High smoke point

Cottonseed oil has a high smoke point, which means it can be heated to high temperatures without breaking down or producing harmful smoke. This makes it ideal for frying and sautéing foods.

Neutral taste

Cottonseed oil has a relatively mild and neutral flavour, which makes it versatile and suitable for a wide range of cooking applications without overpowering the taste of the food.

Vitamin E

Cottonseed oil is a good source of vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.

Economic value

Cottonseed oil is often less expensive compared to other vegetable oils, making it a cost-effective choice for cooking and food preparation.

Cons of Cottonseed oil

Allergenic potential

Some individuals may be allergic to cottonseed oil. It is important to be cautious and avoid using it if you have a known allergy to cotton or related products.

Omega-6 fatty acids

While cottonseed oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats, it is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which may contribute to an imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in the diet. An imbalance in these fatty acids can have negative health effects, so it’s important to consume cottonseed oil in moderation and maintain a balanced diet.

Pesticide residue

Cotton is often heavily treated with pesticides, and traces of these pesticides can sometimes be found in cottonseed oil. Choosing organic or non-GMO options is advisable if you are concerned about pesticide exposure.

Processing methods

The extraction process used to produce cottonseed oil involves refining and sometimes hydrogenation, which can affect its nutritional profile. Refined cottonseed oil may have lower beneficial nutrients than unrefined oils.

It’s important to note that individual dietary needs and considerations can vary.
Suppose you have specific health concerns or dietary restrictions.
In that case, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine the most suitable type of oil for your needs.

Cooking oils to be avoided or limit the amount

According to Canada's food guide:

Not mentioned by Canada’s food guide:

Cooking fats to be avoided or limit the amount according to Canada's food guide
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This article is part of “Discover how to choose cooking oils wisely

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