Another day, another food exposé that manages to change our perspective of a seemingly harmless ingredient. Today, the spotlight has been turned on none other than vegetable oil. A staple in nearly every American kitchen, this seed-based cooking oil has since been exposed as a cancer-causing agent when heated in a frying pan or wok, according to a study published in Science Direct.
Containing high amounts of polyunsaturated and omega-6 fats, these inexpensive oils—made from seeds including canola, sunflower, corn, safflower, grape, rice bran, and soy—actually “release neurotoxic, DNA mutating chemicals which are known to cause cancer” when combined with oxygen, according to My Body+Soul.
“Recent improvements in measurement technology have now thrown a spotlight on the quantity of these chemicals released by normal use [of vegetable oils,” writes My Body+Soul’s David Gillespie, author of The Eat Real Food Cookbook. “When seed oils containing these fats are heated at a normal cooking temperature (of 180 degrees celsius), they create highly toxic chemicals known to be involved in cancer causation.” This explains the sheer amount of lung cancer cases among women in Asian countries. While few of these women smoke, many of them spend their days cooking with canola oil, both at home and during work hours.
What are your safe vegetable oil alternatives? Share your picks in the comments below.