By Alanna Ketler, Collective Evolution
The drive to being a health conscious person is becoming more and more common as we uncover the truth about how many of the everyday foods we eat are produced. In turn, people will stop eating these products, which inevitably forces manufacturers to use better products, or just less artificial ingredients to keep up with consumers’ demands.
I believe that knowledge about refined cooking oils is the next “big thing” in the health movement for people to start watching out for and eventually stop purchasing. These oils wreak havoc on our digestive systems and certainly cause a lot more harm than good. If you have switched to coconut oil for cooking that is a huge step in the right direction, but unfortunately, these unhealthy oils are found in almost all processed and packaged foods, including those that are often marketed as “health” foods.
What Are Refined Vegetable Oils & Why Are They Bad?
The most common refined oils found in our foods are vegetable oils, which may sound healthy, but usually these are just soybean oil, which comes from a genetically modified crop the majority of the time. Then there’s canola oil, which also comes from a genetically modified crop of the rapeseed plant. Canola actually stands for Canadian Oil Low Acid; it’s not the name of the plant that is used.
We also see a lot of Corn oil that is being used quite often, and – you guessed it – this crop is also almost always grown with genetically modified seeds. This means, for all of the above, that these plants are used to make these oils come with a large concentration of pesticides, but that is not even the main reason that they are harmful for your body in the first place.
The process of making these oils involves pressing and heating using various industrial chemicals and toxic solvents. Take a look at the video below that shows how the very common canola oil is made. In the video it is said that this is one of the most healthy oils to cook with -it would appear that their information is outdated…
These oils cause inflammation within the body, and if you have any digestive issues, you absolutely need to avoid these oils in order to heal. There are many other health concerns regarding these oils, which you can read more about here: 5 Vegetable Oils That Are Harming Your Health & What To Use Instead
What Can We Do About This?
We have seen an increase in many health foods in recent years as more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy balanced diet, with as few artificial ingredients as possible. I think sometimes these refined low quality oils are still being used in foods that are otherwise generally healthy because the consumers are unaware of their potential health concerns. These oils are much cheaper to use than the healthier alternatives, which are organic and cold-pressed. It’s cheaper for the manufacturer to get away with using these oils, and chances are they are even unaware of their dangers.
The more people become aware of what it means to live a whole foods lifestyle and use real ingredients, then the less processed, packaged foods with unhealthy ingredients will be available. If you take trans fats for example, that are made from a process called hydrogenation – sending hydrogen through oil to change the thickness and saturation – these have been known to be harmful to human health for a couple of decades now.
Despite this, manufacturers are still using them because consumers are still purchasing products that contain them – cookies, cakes, coffee creamer, packaged frostings, and microwave popcorn to name a few. If there is one thing in common about all of these foods, it is that they all have a very long shelf life. If it can last that long on a shelf, you probably don’t want it in your body. Luckily, in the U.S. the FDA has now banned these fats and manufacturers now have about 3 years to remove all added trans fats from their products! The local government of New York City banned all use of artificial trans fat a long time ago. Perhaps in a few years, this will be the case with regular refined vegetable oils as well.
How Can We Avoid Refined Vegetable Oils?
Personally, for the most part I stick to a whole foods diet and I am someone who believes that real food doesn’t have complicated ingredients. Even though I strive to do my best and cook with quality ingredients, for some reason I seem to disregard a lot of that when I go to eat at a restaurant. Eating out means making exceptions for putting things into my body that I wouldn’t normally – such as refined vegetable oils. Although I pick the healthiest, often vegan and gluten-free items on the menu, I’m still allowing more sugar or refined oils into my body than I would ever dream of if I were cooking for myself or friends.
This can be frustrating if you are trying to heal your digestive system or just generally trying to avoid these oils for your health. I’m hoping that this information blows up so much that restaurants have no choice but to switch to healthier alternatives in order to keep their customers coming back. Disappointingly, even many health conscious restaurants still cook with these unhealthy oils because it is more cost effective. The only real way to get them to stop is by boycotting the restaurant and informing others to do the same, or just asking them why they would bother to make such a healthy menu and then basically ruin it by dumping refined vegetable oils all over it.
You can say, everything in moderation is okay, and I do agree with that to an extent, but if we have healthier alternatives available to us, why wouldn’t we use those as much as possible? Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a restaurant and have a delicious and equally nutritious meal? And not have to sacrifice your health just to eat out with friends? As the consumer we have all the power to make these changes! Consider leaving a review of your favourite restaurants, (it doesn’t have to be rude).
You could just say how you do enjoy the food, but you have become aware of the dangers of refined cooking oil and ask if they have considered switching to cold-pressed organic oils, or simply not using them at all. This will at least get these companies thinking, and if other people see the review, it will help to raise awareness. Eventually, the restaurants will evolve their ways.
What do you think? Is it worth it, for our health? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!