Rice Bran Oil- Is It really all that good?

Written by Cyndi

Cyndi is about educating. Her greatest love is to teach, both in the public arena and within the large corporate food companies, to enable everyone to make better choices so they too can enjoy greater health throughout their lives. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in Nutrition, Cyndi brings over 40 years experience, research and knowledge.

February 4, 2014

Many people ask me about rice bran oil. I am somewhat very puzzled by the terminology. In all grains there are similar parts. The germ of the grain is what holds all the oil to feed the plant that grows and to give us (that eat it) the nutrition, most germ is taken out of the grain when refining to stop the flour going rancid. The bran part of the grain is just that, bran or fibre and has nothing to do with oil or fat or nutrients for the plant.      

So my question is how do they extract rice bran oil when most bran is void of oil????

Rice bran oil is the oil extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. It is notable for its very high smoke point of 490 °F (254 °C) and its mild flavor, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods such as stir frying and deep frying. It is popular as a cooking oil in several Asian countries, including Japan and China.  

Rice bran oil contains a range of fats, with 47% of its fats monounsaturated, 33% polyunsaturated, and 20% saturated.

If the rice bran oil has been extracted by cold pressed method then I cannot see why it would not be a good oil to eat.  But in all my shopping I have never found an a rice bran oil cold pressed.  The oil was first released in New Zealand and then in Australia, it is extracted by a Thailand company and is extracted using solvents.

Following is a description of how they do it: 

The oil extracted from rice bran goes rancid quickly once pressed. Unlike some other oils, it is not cold-pressed. To refine it, a solvent is used to extract the oil from the germ which is later evaporated off (and tested post-production for residual solvents to double check for traces). That’s followed by neutralisation, bleaching, winterisation and de-odourisation steps, as with most other oils. the rice bran oil is subjected to high temperatures during the extraction phase prior to the filtration. This creates refined and stabilized oil, bringing about a long shelf life and high smoke point. However, what you lose is the “naturalness” of the oil.

Rice bran oil’s ingredient list appears straightforward with no additives  but it’s not as ‘natural’ as you would think. The term ‘extra-cold filtered’ is a little confusing, and not to be confused with ‘extra-cold pressed’, a well-known method of producing extra-virgin olive oil.       So what is extra cold filtered?  “Cold filtering removes hard fats, which are the saturated fats. Cold filtration is common across many products in the food industry, particularly beverages. It is designed to make filtration easier as all hard solid matter solidifies and can be separated quickly.” 

With this knowledge I believe that using rice bran oil is not conducive to excellent health.  It is not on my shopping list.

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