Vegetable Oils are Bad


The other day I posted a recipe for homemade mayonnaise and told you to come back (like obedient little readers!) to find out why I bother making homemade mayo when the supermarket mayo is so freaking delicious! Here's why.

Science shows that vegetable oils are bad for you, specifically, that they cause heart disease and cancer.

I don't have a holier-than-thou attitude about food and will be the first person to tell you that my diet is far from perfect, but my attitude is that every little good thing helps the big picture.

I have shunned fake mayo (that is, anything that isn't whole egg) for years. If you have a bottle of fake mayo  (e.g. "Praise Traditional" Mayonnaise) in your fridge, I'm sure you'll find that it contains a LOT of sugar. Unfortunately, the supermarket varieties of whole egg mayo use toxic oils (i.e. vegetable and seed oils) in their recipes. Hopefully one day soon, there will be a variety that uses healthy oils (and it'll cost a bomb).

By the way, 'vegetable oil' is the umbrella term - when we're talking about oils to avoid, the list includes Canola, Soybeen, Sunflower, Sesame Seed and more (see table below).

It's a funny concept to grasp - it's VEGETABLE oil, that sounds like a good thing?

If you're interested in the topic, you should read Toxic Oil by David Gillespie.

The science gets a little complex and I'm no expert, so I'll just give you a excerpt from this article written by Gillespie for the Sydney Morning Herald. It's a wad of text but if you can't commit to a whole book, at least give this a go. If you can't commit to these paragraphs, I've made the crux of it bold.

'Almost every fat we put into our mouths today is a vegetable oil manufactured by an industry that didn't exist 100 years ago. We are eating vegetable oil because it is much cheaper for manufacturers to make food with oils chemically extracted from plant seeds than it is to raise and slaughter an animal. We've also been told that the secret to reducing heart disease is to consume these unsaturated vegetable oils rather than saturated animal fats. Now all the fats in our processed foods are labelled vegetable oils, and the labels are rarely more specific than that. Vegetable oil can be found in everything from potato chips to muffins, frozen foods to canned soups, to enhance flavour and texture.
The irony is that there is no such thing as oil from a vegetable. The products being sold as "vegetable" oils are in fact fruit oils (coconut, palm, avocado), nut oils (macadamia, peanut, pecan) or seed oils (canola, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, grapeseed, rice bran). While the fruit and nut oils are relatively harmless, the seed oils pose a real risk to our health - and unfortunately they make up most of the "vegetable" oil in our food. It is now almost impossible to buy a packaged or takeaway food that is cooked in anything but a seed oil, and while some seed oils are unhealthier than others, they all contain damaging levels of omega-6 fatty acids.The process that initially permitted the huge expansion in the consumption of seed oil in the 20th century was hydrogenation, a chemical process that introduces hydrogen to liquid oil extracted from plants under extreme heat, making a thin oil thicker or even solid. Unfortunately, hydrogenation produces its magical thickening effects by turning polyunsaturated fats into trans fats. 
A trans fat works in the same way as a normal fat in cooking, but during the early 1990s evidence started to emerge that once these fats are inside our bodies, they significantly increase our risk of heart disease. They do this by decreasing HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, the so-called "good" cholesterol associated with lower rates of atherosclerosis) and raising the "bad" LDL form (low-density lipoprotein, which contributes to blocked arteries). A series of studies in the UK produced consistent evidence that trans fats also significantly increase a person's chances of developing type-2 diabetes.'

The chart below categorises oils and fats so that you can easily see which ones are safe and which to avoid. I have this chart printed and stuck inside the door of our pantry.

So there it is. That's the long (but short) reason why I am making my own mayo. It's not everything, but like I said, every little thing contributes to the whole!

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