Choosing Healthy Oils-Do you know what they are doing to the oil you buy?

Originally oil pressing was a cottage industry. In Europe little villages, large estates, and small towns had their own presses to extract oil from seeds. Fresh oil was sold door to door in small amounts, as it would go rancid in just a few days. Fresh oil was a staple and highly valued as a nutrient back then. The presses were quite large and the oil was pressed out of the seed by pure pressure. By the 1920’s large oil firms came into being along with large fields of seeds, and large screw type (expeller presses) that revolutionized the oil industry. As the industry grew over the years pesticides were brought in, new technologies for seed preparation, oil extraction, refinement, bleaching, deodorizing, and other processes were developed that took away from the original healthy fresh products integrity. Natural substances were removed for cosmetic reasons and synthetic additives had to replace their preservative effects. These refined oils became tasteless, toxic, de-vitalized and chemically changed into the products we now find on the grocery store shelves. Making oil the old fashioned way was not profitable it was good for your health.

The processing of oils begins with cleaning. Before cleaning the seeds contain oil, protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber. The seeds are cleaned mechanically, and then cooked at high temperatures for several hours. This cooking at high temperature makes extraction of oil easier, however it also breaks open the seeds and exposes them to air and light which begins the process of deterioration. This contributes to rancidity and consuming rancid seeds is worse than consuming no seeds at all for your health. The seeds are expeller pressed by a huge screw-type machine. This machine does not add heat, however it creates heat and this again is harmful to the seeds. The term “cold-pressed” can be used in this process since the press itself does not contribute to the heat the friction of its use does. This is why many oils that claim to be cold pressed are not really. The high heat of the pressing process furthers the deterioration of the seeds as they are also not protected from oxygen and light. This product can be sold as unrefined, cold-pressed oil, that however does not insure healthy oil. This processing can damage the essential fatty acids (EFA). The EFA’s are important for growth and development and also helpful in heart disease to name a few desirable effects. The oil in the seeds can also be extracted with solvents. The seeds are agitated at high temperatures with a solvent such as hexane or heptanes (gasoline). At this point of the process you lose the protein, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. The solvent is evaporated at extremely high temperatures and reused. Some heath practitioners are concerned about the residue of these solvents being in the oil. These are still considered unrefined oils. Next the oil is degummed, this removes the phospholipids including lecithin, fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. Also removed are the calcium, chlorophyll, magnesium, iron and copper, from the unrefined oils. This is done at 140 degrees with phosphoric acid. These nutrients are why people were so adamant about taking the oils, as all of them are necessary components to optimum health. The oils are then refined with Drano (NaOH), removing free fatty acids and more minerals, phospholipids, and proteins. The oil is then bleached, and toxic peroxides and conjugated fatty acids are formed. Again at a high temperature the chemical structure is altered and produces the double bond shift. Deodorization takes place at extremely high temperatures and is even more destructive causing the unsaturated fatty acids to become mutagenic, (these can damage our and our offspring’s genes). Oils heated above 320 degrees form trans fats, and this process heats the oil above that. These now have the heart disease and cancer implications unknown in its original form. Our bodies do not handle these changed molecules, and these oils are rendered nutrient less and are not only detrimental to health but nutrient robbers as well. Finally last but not least since these oils are not protected from light and oxygen synthetic preservatives like BHA and BHT are added which cause liver and kidney damage, behavioral problems, birth defects, and cancer. Also they weaken the immune system and cause birth defects. The nutrient dense seeds we started with are rendered useless to the body and even become toxic when consumed, in the process of refinement.

In the interest of higher profit, lower labor costs, and maximum output, cutting corners has led to lower product quality. Most of the oil producing companies know nothing about human health and care nothing about the reasons the oil is beneficial to health. They are concerned about their profit and the end result of poor health is not a consideration. They are willing to twist the language of cold-pressed and refined oils to their benefit in advertising to sell their products, but not willing to take a smaller profit to produce a quality product under the right conditions to assure the healthful nutrients are still intact in the oils. The availability of quality oils is making a comeback as people are becoming more aware of nutrition. For many years ignorance was bliss as the manufacturers made large profits selling toxic substances for everyday consumption. Hopefully the demand for healthful, quality products will increase the availability and more manufacturers concerned with heath over  profit.


Submitted by Tricia @ Nutrition by Tricia




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