Yes I really don’t cook with oil anymore and I think you should stop cooking with oil too.

You may think I’ve finally lost the plot, but please bear with me and just keep reading…

I have been a promoter of cooking with olive oil and/or coconut oil instead of other vegetable oils. I promoted olive oil because it provides essential fatty acids, and coconut oil because it contains vitamin E and iron.

However, when you study all oils critically, you will start to realise that they are essentially a refined ‘food’. Yep! just in the same way that white sugar, butter, and protein supplements are refined foods.

If I’m still not making sense, that’s okay. I’ll start at the top…

You need essential FATS in your diet

Oils are not completely terrible. We women especially need good oil (fat) in our diets to keep our hormones balanced. Without enough body fat, you may find that you lose your periods, or find it extremely difficult to conceive.

That said, all fat is not created equal. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are the essential fats you need in your diet.

You need omega-3 fats to make hormones, regulate your cholesterol levels and help with proper brain functioning. They can also help to prevent heart disease and stroke, control eczema and the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can get omega-3 fats by eating walnuts, flaxseeds (linseeds) or chia seeds. But, please be aware that nuts and seeds do not provide the ideal eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) type of omega-3 that you need.

You may need to take algal omega-3 fatty acids to get these particular omega-3’s.

If you’re not vegan, krill (a shrimp-like crustacean) oil is a better source of omega-3 fats than fish oil or cod liver oil. This is because krill oil is extracted from krill that live in clean deep-water seas far way from industrial areas.

The krill do not absorb dangerous heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, lead, chromium, cancer-causing PCBs, or radioactive substances like strontium that are rich in fish oil. Krill oil is also far richer in antioxidants than fish oil or cod liver.

Even though omega-6 is essential for health, it can increase the risk of heart disease and other inflammatory diseases like Alzheirmer’s if you eat excessive amounts of it.

Stop eating these refined fats

Corn oil, canola oil, soy oil, margarine, shortening and hydrogenated fats (commonly found in processed foods) contain high levels of omega-6. Poultry and eggs also contain high levels of omega-6 fats.

Due to their high omega-6 content, these oils promote the growth of cancer cancers. You should remove these oils from your diet if you currently eat them.

You should also avoid eating cattle that are raised on grains because their meat contain extremely high levels of omega-6 fats. Free-range or grass-fed beef have much lower levels of omega-6.

While omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential to your health, you only need them in very small quantities. Eating too much of them can aggravate certain autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

When you heat vegetables oils during cooking, they release dangerous compounds known as aldehydes, which have been implicated in cancer, heart disease and dementia. The longer you cook your food in vegetable oils (especially during frying), the greater the amount of aldehydes released.

Sunflower, corn and olive oils produce the largest amount of these compounds during cooking, while coconut oil produces the lowest amount.

If you repeatedly heat your palm oil and eat it (such as when frying), you could be increasing your blood pressure. If you eat soya oil that is repeatedly heated, you could increase your risk of atherosclerosis.

Eating excess fat also promotes weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes. Many people think that carbohydrates are the cause of diabetes, but this is completely wrong. A diet high in fat and refined sugar is the cause of diabetes.

THE TYPE OF FATS SHOULD YOU EAT

Where possible, eat fat in its whole form. 

Instead of eating olive oil, eat olives…

Instead of coconut oil, eat coconuts…

Instead of corn oil, eat corn…

Instead of avocado oil, eat avocados..

Instead of sesame seed oil, eat sesame seeds…

Instead of walnut oil, eat walnuts…

Instead of peanut/groundnut oil, eat peanuts/groundnuts…

I’m pretty sure you get the picture by now. If you follow this approach, you will get right amount of fat you need alongside other health-promoting macronutrients and phytonutrients (minerals, vitamins).

how to remove oils in your cooking

Sauté with fat-free liquids

Don’t add vegetable oils when cooking, if you must use oil, stick with coconut oil

Use non-stick saucepans

Water-fry onions when cooking

Replace oil in baking with moist fruit like mashed bananas or apple sauce

Lighten the texture of baked foods like cake with carbonated water

To summarise…

The reason I’ve stopped cooking with oils is because they contain far too much omega-6. They are also just a refined food, and provide no other nutrient but fat.

I prefer to get my fat in its unadulterated state aka from whole foods like nuts, seeds, avocados and coconuts. This way, I also get other nutrients like fibre, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins.

I’m not advocating a low fat diet by any means. I’m simply suggesting that you change the source of fat in your diet from refined oils to whole foods.

That said, low fat (not zero fat) diets do have health benefits that I will discuss in another post.

Author

UK qualified PhD Scientist & Nutritionist with a passion for plant-based nutrition and wellness. Midas Naturals' goal is to provide quality health information that enhances and promotes the wellbeing of Nigerians & Africans.

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