The truth about vegetable oil

  • 2010-11-11

It is common knowledge that vegetable oil is not an enemy of healthy nutrition! Vegetable oil is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and body. Moreover, vitamins A, D, E and K are assimilated in the body with its participation. Apart from the obvious benefits, vegetable oil also enriches the taste of favorite dishes, giving them extra flavor. So what kind of oil exactly should always be in your kitchen? What is the difference between “good” and “bad” fats? How to use this or that oil? We are unveiling the secrets! Fats - are complex natural organic compounds, and depending on the way the atoms of carbon and hydrogen are connected in them, they can be classified into: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated fats
Typically, these are the animal fats (e.g. butter and lard). It is believed that they raise the cholesterol level. Most of these fats should better not be eaten or eaten in moderation. According to experts, a person should receive most of essential fats from vegetable oils instead of animal fats.

Monounsaturated fats
Those are olive, peanut, sesame and avocado oils. All these oils help to reduce the level of bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein (LDL).
Out of the mentioned oils, we use olive oil most often. Besides having a wonderful taste, it contains vitamin E and polyphenols that prevent cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Polyunsaturated fats
These are oils from corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, peanut, pumpkin, etc. While these oils do not reduce the level of LDL (the so-called “bad cholesterol”), they do not increase it either and therefore have a beneficial effect on human health.
By the way, sunflower oil cannot contain cholesterol in principle, since it has a vegetable origin. But many advertisements often emphasize this fact as a competitive advantage.

Melting point
When reaching the melting point, i.e. starting to melt from the heat, the fat becomes unsuitable for human consumption and loses most of its useful properties. Many vegetable oils (such as avocado oil, refined olive, sunflower and peanut oil) have a sufficiently high melting point. Corn oil is also not afraid of high temperatures and has a delicate flavor.
In order not to bring the oil to the melting point, keep an eye on it in the heating process - if the oil in the frying pan begins to smoke and sizzle, it’s time to turn down the heat.

It is better to use vegetable oil for baking. For making pancakes and fritters, you can also use refined olive oil instead of it. But unrefined olive oil is best used in recipes of Mediterranean cuisine, such as in dough for focaccia and pizza.
Corn oil, which has a specific aroma, can be used for making pancakes, as well as for cooking other dishes.
It is not recommended to use hydrogenated trans-fats (spreads, margarines) for baking. If you want to get an unusual and rich taste, better mix vegetable oil with a little melted butter.

Vegetable oil should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. The delicate nut oil should be stored in the refrigerator, and it should be taken out one hour before using in order to restore its natural consistency.
The bottles of some of the best types of olive oil are wrapped in silver or gold foil - no need to remove it because it protects the oil from all sorts of negative influences. After opening the bottle, any vegetable oil should be used no later than within two months.
If the quality of oil after long-term storage is doubtful, just smell the contents of the bottle – you can’t go wrong. If you feel a sharp rancid odor - just throw such oil away. It is not safe for human consumption and can lead to very unpleasant consequences for the body.

Roasted sesame seed oil
It is dark-brown, with a pleasant aroma, used mostly in Asian cuisine for fried or grilled meat.

Nut oil
Because of the low melting point, gourmet nut oils (pumpkin seed, walnut, and hazelnut) are best added to dishes just before serving. Many of them contain large amounts of phytonutrients that fight the free radicals that affect the skin and cardiovascular system.

Truffle oil
Has an earthy flavor and a distinctive aroma. It is very expensive, but in fact it is just regular neutral oil, similar to sunflower oil, with natural or artificial truffle flavor.

Aromatic oils
Oils scented with garlic, rosemary and chili pepper look attractive, but it is better to stay away from them. Excessive moisture in these oils can provoke the emergence of botulism. And flavored oils can be made at home. Just add some chopped garlic or a few grains of chili pepper in any oil, stir and eat safely.

Linseed oil
It is the secret weapon of nature. Very pleasant to taste, with plenty of omega-3, linseed oil contains alfa-linseed acid that transforms in the body into the fatty acid Omega-3. It is very tender and delicious. Usually it is sold in bottles of dark glass. Store it in a refrigerator. Can be added to salads or steamed vegetables.

Vegetable oil does not help to lose weight!
Quite often we encounter really paradoxical cases of weight gain. For example, when in order to lose weight, people were keeping a diet that consisted of some vegetable salads. But these salads were abundantly seasoned with vegetable oil. After a month of eating such salads the weight did not decrease, but, on the contrary, it increased by 2 - 3 kilograms. When those people were told that they, in fact, have eaten large amounts of fat, they were very surprised: “How can it be? Vegetable oil is lean!” 

No, it is not lean at all. Vegetable oil consists of almost 100 percent fat. The fat content in butter, by the way, does not exceed 78-80 percent. One could speculate about the harmfulness of butter and the healthiness of vegetable oil, but in this case specifically it does not matter. People put on weight from all types of fat. Well, if it makes anyone happier, fattening from vegetable fats is a bit slower. If a person does not want to gain weight, he should at least learn to eat less fat than he is eating now. It turns out that it is not difficult, because the presence of fat in the food does not increase its satiety, and the absence does not lead to more hunger. The caloric value of food and its satiety is not the same thing. 

A product can be very nutritious (the same sour cream or butter), but you don’t get the feeling of satiety from it. And on the other hand, a low calorie product can lead to a fairly strong feeling of satiety. For example, sweet tea contains about 40-50 calories per cup. A cup of such tea could well remove acute hunger. Try to get the same effect by eating a tablespoon of sour cream. It is unlikely that you will succeed, but you will consume a minimum of 80 calories.