As discussed in our blog last week: THE COCONUT KITCHEN - The importance of coconut superfoods - the essential addition to our diets is to cook with Odourless Coconut Oil (removing processed inflammatory vegetable oils from corn, soya, canola, sunflower etc.). While this may sound controversial to many, the truth about the damaging effects of excessive processed vegetable oils is now extremely well understood, read on!
The vegetable oil industry from the US and EU has huge lobbying powers that they have used to discredit tropical oils for over 40 years while covering up through powerful misinformation campaigns the damaging effects to health of excess oxidized Omega 6 vegetable oils that they are pushing on consumers around the world. Dietary researchers are realizing that the excessively high ratio of these oxidized polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acids in our diets is the most damaging aspect promoting heart disease and a range of other inflammatory diseases.
Excessive Linoleic Acid is considered the main culprit and we should choose those cooking oils that are lowest in Linoleic acid to return to a proper balance in our diet. In the table below, the Linoleic Acid content of common cooking oils and fats is given in BLUE. To return to a state of balance in fatty acids consumption between Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9 and Medium Chain Fatty Acids, these high Linoleic Acid oils should be avoided. Instead we should cook with those oils lowest in Linoleic Acid and highest in heat tolerant saturated fats, in particular Coconut Oil, Butter and Palm Oil.
When we eat fresh avocados, nuts and seeds we consume unheated Linoleic Acid in sufficient quantities and it is not harmful, the issue here is that the excessive use of oxidized Linoleic Acid from heated vegetable oils transforms it into toxic inflammatory compounds that promote both chronic disease and obesity. It is estimated that today we consume around 10x more Linoleic than our ancestors ever have before us that is a major contributing factor to the modern epidemic of chronic preventable health issues. Much of what is commonly blamed on the "Western Diet" is in fact only an issue of cooking with the wrong oils. While most people have now stopped using hydrogenated vegetable oils (margarines) as they have gradually learnt of the dangers, the next step is to do the same and to completely avoid using these high Linoleic vegetable oils in any form in your kitchen!
The wonderful thing about Organic certified Odourless Coconut Oil is that it is processed to remove the coconut aroma and taste via purely mechanical means, meaning that no chemicals are used in the process. Organic certified refined coconut oil uses activated carbon (from coconut husks) and bentonite clay to remove the aroma and colour pigments. This is why we should always look for the organic logo to be sure it is a chemical free process! Odourless coconut oil is suitable for every kind of cooking and while it is tasteless it does impart a richness to whatever you cook that everyone will love. Because of its high heat tolerance and resistance to oxidation it is also perfect for any cooking that involves high heat, and should be the only oil used for deep frying.
The chart here may also assist to better understand the difference between the various kinds of fats and oils. In particular, those that are heat tolerant are only the Medium Chain and Long Chain Saturated Fats while all the unsaturated fats are highly unstable and rapidly oxidize when heated and are best used only in their cold-pressed or natural state and not used for cooking.
To read more about the damaging health effects of oxidized Omega 6 polyunsaturated oils and Linoleic Acid, see here.