In excess, these oils are worse than sugar and can cause cancer. If you can, avoid them!
Much is said about the benefits of natural products, but, as in everything, there are always exceptions. Such is the case of some oils of vegetable origin that when subjected to certain conditions could be harmful to our health.
Plant-based oils are considered healthy, plus they have uses beyond edibles, such as cosmetics.
Vegetable Oil Risks
When vegetable oils are exposed to temperatures between 350-370ºF, those suitable for the preparation of fried foods, they produce chemicals that are harmful to health. When frying food, these oils produce toxic chemicals like aldehydes and acrolein in smoke and food.
Exposing ourselves to these chemicals in excess increases the risk of cancer. According to experts, a meal cooked in vegetable oil contains between 100-200 times more aldehydes than the daily limit established by the World Health Organization. Additionally, some oils can be more toxic than others, but the ones you should avoid the most are those from corn, canola and soybeans, as they tend to oxidize faster.
It is important to emphasize that these oils provide healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6; however, the imbalance between these fats, specifically the excess of omega-6, and exposure to irregularities in the chemistry at high temperatures is what increases the risk of cancer.
Beware of fast food!
Let's use a fast food establishment as an example. Do you know what oils they use? Research in Hawaii reported that out of 68 restaurants, the 69% used corn, canola, soy, cottonseed, sunflower or palm oil, which contain the highest levels of omega-6s.
The trend in restaurants is to use these products, which are not always ideal for our health.
What can you do?
It is always better to be safe than sorry, so it is important that you take these tips into account:
- Have ventilation in the kitchen to reduce exposure to smoke.
- Don't reuse the oil left over after frying a meal.
- If you go to a restaurant, select foods that are not fried.
- Eat products high in omega-3s like salmon, tuna, and avocado.
The most important thing to know is that the excess of any oil is what is truly harmful. It is not worth limiting ourselves too much when in reality what we have to do is eat a little of everything and a little of everything.
The nutrition label was 20 years old without being updated: Something Very Big Is Going To Change On The Nutrition Label