Vegetable oil – corn oil, Crisco, sunflower oil, soya bean oil, all low cost ‘vegetable oils’ are in everything from packaged foods to restaurants and kitchens across the planet. Are they really a healthy alternative to butter, lard and other saturated fats?
In 1829 it became possible to make use of the leftover waste from cotton production, the cotton seeds. The oil extracted from cottonseed was used as fuel for lamps or lubricant for machinery.
In the early 1880’s, a mechanical way to extract oil (a by-product of corn refining) from corn germ was invented. By 1902 36 million gallons of corn oil per year were being sold for cooking.
In 1911 soap makers Procter & Gamble released a new product – crystallized cottonseed oil, commonly known as Crisco.
Before the 1900’s virtually all cooking fats were of animal origin, lard, tallow and butter.
Increase in vegetable oil consumption is said to be the single greatest change to nutrition
in all of history with a third of our diet now coming out of factories that make these oils.
Is the increase in polyunsaturated fat rich vegetable oil actually bad or just benign?
Researchers found that that the key polyunsaturated fat in vegetable oils, an omega-6 fat called linoleic acid, accumulates in our bodies. The percentage of this linoleic acid
in fat cells of those that consume it has nearly doubled from just under 10% in 1960 to approximately 20% in 2005.
So, what happens when people cut out saturated fats and replaces them with polyunsaturated vegetable fats? A study called “The Minnesota Coronary Survey” took more than 9000 research subjects living in institutions and given a controlled diet. Some were given foods cooked with vegetable oils, the others saturated fats. It ran for five years from 1968 to 1973 and has been described as one of the most rigorous diet trials ever conducted. But the data was withheld for 15 years until the results were finally published in 1989 when the old tapes containing the raw data were discovered.
The disturbing result (probably the reason for the ‘loss’ of the study) from this unearthed data was that those on the vegetable oil diet actually died at a higher rate than those on the saturated fat diet and these were deaths from all causes.
Nina Teicholz – ‘Vegetable Oils: The Unknown Story’
Published online 26th September 2018 BMJ Open Heart https://openheart.bmj.com/content/5/2/e000898