What Cooking Oil Is Best For You?
Author: Chef George Krumov
The reason that I wanted to write this post is that I realize how much propaganda is out there regarding fats and cooking oils. I heard of a doctor advising his patient not to eat salmon and avocado, because of supposedly "high cholesterol" in those products.
I believe the truth is to be found if you turn everything upside down. For example take the statement, "Cholesterol is bad for you!". No, cholesterol is good for you, but only cholesterol that comes from natural foods - organic meat, organic eggs, etc. Cholesterol is the building block for testosterone, and no, testosterone is not bad for your heart, but that applies only to the natural testosterone of course.
Therefore, when you make your decisions what oil to buy, I advise you to ignore the health claim "No cholesterol" slapped on the front of the package. "No cholesterol" is as much of a ridiculous health claim as it is "No Trans Fats" on a package of doritos, that otherwise contain 5 different kinds of Msg.
Take for example this institutional size package of canola oil. I am not a subscriber to the theory that canola oil is good for your health, not even the organic canola. However, what we have here is most likely GMO canola oil plus three chemicals. The first two, the BHO and BHT are preservatives. Oxygen reacts preferentially with BHA or BHT rather than oxidizing fats or oils, thereby protecting them from spoilage. Therefore, what you end up eating is oxidized chemicals. I can't help but think of free radicals. Not surprisingly, free radicals are not part of any food labeling. The last ingredient is an anti-foaming agent, a silicone. Read an article about dimethylpolysiloxane here.
This is the kind of oil that you will find in all fast food, frozen food and unfortunately most restaurant food. When I had my own restaurant, I used only sunflower oil or a mix of sunflower oil and extra virgin olive oil for deep frying. For salad dressings I used the same, plus cold-pressed macadamia oil and avocado oil.
Corn oil and soy oil are not much better in my book. Aside from being produced from plants that are most likely GMO, corn oil and soy oil have a very unfavorable proportion of Omega-6 and Omega-3, which according to some studies is not good for your heart health.
Another cheap oil that is in many products is palm oil. It is most commonly found in sweets, fake cheese and processed foods. It is popular with food processing companies because it is cheap and very stable. I believe that this is an unhealthy oil and also bad for the tropical forests. To be fair, though, where I live in South-Western Ontario there isn't much forest either. Everything has been cut many years ago to make way for agriculture. Therefore, let's not judge other countries for what they do to their environment, but first look into ourselves so as not to be hypocrites.
Now, let's start with the good oils. What cooking oil is best for you?
After many years of careful observation and experience I have come to the conclusion that the best cooking oils are virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, followed by some distance by organic animal fat. I think that the human body knows very well what to do with animal fat and still recognizes this type of fat as a necessary nutrient for our health. Before the advent of the vegetable oils animal fat was the only fat that our ancestors consumed. Our ancestors knew things by means of intuition and careful observation, things that in most cases can be proven by science using expensive procedures and sophisticated tools.
Next in my list is sunflower oil. It is the oil of choice in Eastern Europe, where it is not that expensive. In North America sunflower oil rivals extra virgin olive oil in prices. I also like to add sometimes mustard oil in combination with other oils to my cooking. You might see it in a North American grocery store labeled "For massage only", but I disregard this label. Mustard oil is used a lot in South-Eastern Asia due to its health benefits and great taste. Dark sesame oil is a nice flavoring to dishes with good health benefits as well.
Some other great oils that are not as much for cooking as for salad dressings, are cold-pressed avocado oil and macadamia oil, and organic flax oil. They have excellent health benefits, and at the same time taste great.
If you are a female who cares for her skin, you might want to try avocado oil, jojoba oil or shea butter, instead of rubbing expensive toxic chemicals on your face. This is another one of those things that our ancestors knew better than us.