Why I Never Consume Vegetable Oils


Written by Jordan

March 22, 2016

If you begin to peruse the isles of your local supermarket and begin reading the ingredient list of everyday food products, you will likely notice that ‘vegetable oil’ is listed as an ingredient in many of these packaged foods.

Vegetable oils are found in practically every processed food, from salad dressings, nuts and seeds, chocolate, ice-cream, cakes, chewing gum to skin products and much more. A lot of people have been misled by the clever marketing of these vegetable oils and believe that they are healthy. But the truth is, they are far from it. The reason these companies use these oils in so many food products is because it’s cheap.

Vegetable oils include canola, safflower, soy, sunflower, corn and cottonseed.

How are vegetable oils made?

  1. Oil is squeezed from the seeds at a high pressure leaving behind the seeds oil and the protein portion which is called ‘seed cakes’. Some of them can also be processed at unnaturally high heats which oxidises the oil so they go rancid before you even buy them.
  2. The ‘seed cakes’ are then washed in a vat of chemical solvent (usually petroleum) to extract the remaining oil from the protein portion of the seed.
  3. The oil is sent through a refining process where it’s washed in sodium hydroxide (or lye which is an extremely harsh, corrosive and destructive chemical used in soap making).
  4. While bathing in sodium hydroxide it’s spun in a vat so the centrifugal force separates the impurities, and the by-products of it are sold to soap manufacturers
  5. As the oil contains natural waxes from the seeds giving it a cloudy appearance, it receives further treatment. The wax is used to make vegetable shortening or margarine by chilling the oil so the wax solidifies. To do this they use a process called hydrogenation, during which trans fats are created.
  6. The newly created oil is treated with more chemicals to improve the colour.
  7. Finally the oil is washed and filtered before it’s bleached.
  8. After all of these refining processes it has such a harsh, rancid smell and it has to be chemically deodorised by using a steam injected heating process for it to be palatable.
  9. The oil is funnelled into plastic containers, many of which contain chemical additives that give the plastic products a more desirable performance. These plastic bottles also have negative environmental and human health effects such as endocrine disruption and immune system suppression just to name a few.

So basically, these colourless, flavourless and odourless vegetable oils hit the grocery stores after a very lengthy refining process that includes extraction, chemical solvents, sodium hydroxide (lye), high pressure and heat, filtration, bleaching, chemical treatment and deodorising.

If that’s not enough to scare you away from these oils then let’s begin by debunking some of those health marketing claims.

Debunking vegetable oil health claims

Vegetable oils are one of the most harmful substances you can put into your body, and here’s why:

  1. Vegetables oils are primarily Omega-6 fats and when too much is consumed, it can lead to inflammation and increased cancer risks. You can read more about that here and here.
  2. The high heat processing denatures the delicate Omega-3 fats which causes them to go rancid and turn into transfat! As a result they no longer fight inflammation in the body, but cause it instead.
  3. Many people believe that because vegetables oils are low in saturated fats that they are heart healthy.  However, there are numerous studies showing that vegetable oils actually contribute to disease while saturated fats do not.
  4. Mary Enig explains in her books why the cholesterol-lowering effect of canola oil may actually be incredibly damaging to our health.
  5. Vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturated fats – they will oxidise easily and are also not heat stable.
  6. Since vegetable oils are chemically produced, it’s no surprise they contain harmful chemicals. Many have artificial antioxidants such as BHA and BHT which help to prevent the oils from spoiling too quickly and extend the shelf life.
  7. They also contain pesticide residues.
  8. Excess consumption can lead to hormonal imbalances.
  9. Vegetable oils oxidise easily so they deplete the body of antioxidants due to the body’s attempt to neutralise this oxidation.
  10. Many of these vegetables oils are made from genetically modified sources.

Oils and fats to avoid

Vegetables oils and their fats should be avoided completely. The main culprits to look out for are:

  • Corn oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Rice bran oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Vegetable spreads or any fake butter alternative.

Where to from here – alternative oils

  • Look in your pantry and fridge and remove all vegetable oils.
  • Avoid any cheap refined, processed oils as they are dangerous to your health and bad for the environment.
  • There are so many traditional fats that are found in nature that are actually beneficial and healthy for our bodies. These are:
    • coconut oil
    • avocado oil
    • macadamia oil
    • olive oil
    • walnut oil
    • inca inchi oil and other cold-pressed organic oils
  • Alternative good fats:  butter, ghee, quality cream and animal fats such as lard, tallow, and duck fat.

With this choice of alternative oils, there is no need to consume the unhealthy and harmful vegetable oils.

If you want to learn more about fats and how to choose the best ones for your health, have a read of our related blogs here and here.

Also check out our recipes section on our website for some more ideas of using healthy oils in your food. 

Happy changing habits.

Jordan Pie

March 2016

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  1. Rebecca Gill

    Hi Jordan, thanks for this post! I thought I understood vegetable oils,but now I understand them even better. I haven’t used any of those oils for over 10 years now, and am enjoying making my own butter from pasture fed cows cream – it’s awesome. BUT there is an exception – sunflower oil. Please can you explain sunflower oil to me?? I had no idea sunflower oil was a vegetable oil (how I didn’t know I’m not sure) – I was told years ago that sunflower oil has a high smoke point, and so is a good oil for deep frying, as it won’t oxidize at high temps . I use butter for all my other cooking, but for deep frying I have used this oil because I believed what I was told that it was healthy. And I also see some chefs (organic, raising-your-own-pigs kind of chefs) using it in their recipes and thought that it must be okay! So now I’m confused. Are there some sunflower oils that could be good, or not ever. They’re all made the same way like you’ve described? Thanks for your help!

      • Lisa O'Dwyer

        Hi Jordan,
        My question is about sunflower oil as well. I stir fry frequently and have always used organic, cold pressed sunflower oil and therefore concerns about the chemical production that you write about do not apply. The label mentions that it is low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated omega-9 oleic acid and does not mention omega-6 nor omega-3. Your article does not mention omega-9. My daughter is vegan and therefore I cannot use animal fats, and I thought the production of palm oil was causing widespread deforestation and was therefore to be avoided for reasons of environmental sustainability. I’m still confused after reading the guidelines print-out.

        • Kerry White

          Hi Lisa. Thanks for getting in touch. Cyndi says: “Cold pressed organic sunflower oil will be fine. Avocado, macadamia, walnut and olive are also excellent oils, high in monounsaturated fat. Omega 9’s are usually in most plant based oils and plant based foods with fat in smaller amounts. It’s not an essential fat, the body will make it. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are the essential fats.” I hope this helps. If we can help further in any way, please let us know 🙂

  2. Debi

    Thankyou .This should be available to everyone ,people don’t believe me when I explain what poisons these trans and omega six oils are ??the real truth causing systemic inflammation and actually a very slow and painful death ,very shocking but true Debi RN

  3. Michele

    Hi Jordan
    What about hemp seed oil, especially if it’s organically produced?

    • Jordan Pie

      Hi Michele,
      I don’t see a problem with it, especially if you’re consuming a quality source 🙂

  4. Janet

    What about extra light olive oil for frying is that ok?

    • Jordan Pie

      Hi Janet, I recommend to keep olive oil for salads, salad dressings, mayonnaise, pesto and dips etc as they shouldn’t be heated to high temperatures.

  5. David

    Hi Jordan, Cindy, and all,
    Pleasure to say hi. I randomly came across this old post reading about fats, etc…
    I would just like to ask if the problem might be in the treatment to the oil rather than the type of oil itself? For example, canola oil can be very good if, I guess, cold pressed/virgin/etc, same as (extra virgin) olive oil, which would be bad if it’s refined…
    Could you please correct me if I’m wrong? Also, based on your experience, I’d like to ask if you think there’s some products in Oz supermarket shelves that might contain this kind of “healthy” canola oil, if such exists? There is a quite famous goat cheese jar that I’d like to think is healthy oil, but who knows, I think it only states Non-GMO
    Thank you in advance and congratulations for your wonderful work !!

    • Rosie-Changing Habits

      Hi David. Thanks for your query. The process that the oil goes through is part of the issue due to the solvents used. In addition, many vegetable oils are grown using chemicals and can be GMO.
      As well, the smoke point for vegetable oils can often be lower so if this is used in a baked good again that can cause an issue. Also, you would want to know the ratio of omega 3 and 6 as some contain more omega 6. Canola oil is generally around 1:2 and you ideally want 1:1, or more omega 3. The hard part is whether you are able to tell this from the label when the oils are using in a food. This is often where we need to ask question of the manufacturers.
      If you are able to source an organic cold pressed canola oil then it would be OK to use this on occasion.


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