Heated Vegetable Oil Releases Toxic Chemicals Linked to Cancer

By Heather Callaghan

Consumers likely recall that they have been inundated with anti-fat, anti-lard, and even anti-coconut oil propaganda for decades – until recently, of course. The constant use of the term “artery-clogging saturated fat” seared the minds of people who laid awake at night wondering if they had heart burn or if this was the night they’d never wake up.   Yesterday’s propaganda that vegetable/grain-based oil was the only salvation from early death was politically motivated, and untrue. At least to the extent of the hysteria raised by industry scientists at the time.*

Just on the heels of WHO releasing a report that processed meats are linked to cancer, new research finally dissipates the idea that cooking with vegetable oils is healthy. In fact, it is anything but healthy and is damaging to the human body. The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported (emphasis added):

Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases, according to leading scientists, who are now recommending food be fried in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or even lard. The results of a series of experiments threaten to turn on its head official advice that oils rich in polyunsaturated fats – such as corn oil and sunflower oil – are better for the health than the saturated fats in animal products. Scientists found that heating up vegetable oils led to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease and dementia.

The research was carried out by Martin Grootveld, a professor of bioanalytical chemistry and chemical pathology at De Montfort University in Leicester. “For decades, the authorities have been warning us how bad butter and lard was. But we have found butter is very, very good for frying purposes and so is lard,” he said.

Even though it is never recommended to fry olive oil, the tests did not find the same chemicals released from heated olive oil, and they conclude that coconut oil produced the healthiest cooking results, confirming what health-conscious people already suspected. All cooking oils apparently produced aldehydes – it was just a matter of levels. The research showed that fish and french fries fried in typical vegetable oil could produce 100 to 200 times more toxic aldehydes than the safe daily limit set by the World Health Organization.

You may have recognized the word aldehyde in the word formaldehyde. Both man-made and natural aldehydes are big in the perfume industry, but are also produced via a process of oxidation for the use of synthetic resins, dye production ingredients, flavorings (like vanillin), disinfectants, preservatives, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. They also occur in the human body and are a part of certain vitamin and hormone processing. The word comes from how it is produced –  they are derived from alcohols by dehydrogenation (removal of hydrogen). His team looked for “aldehydic lipid oxidation products” (LOPs) produced while heating but unheated polyunsaturated oils did not appear to be a threat to humans.  Grootveld remarked:

People have been telling us how healthy polyunsaturates are in corn oil and sunflower oil. But when you start messing around with them, subjecting them to high amounts of energy in the frying pan or the oven, they undergo a complex series of chemical reactions which results in the accumulation of large amounts of toxic compounds. This major problem has received scant or limited attention from the food industry and health researchers.

Thanks to more doctors and health professions speaking out, consumers have also become aware of the major discrepancy of the omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio in the modern diet. The influx of polyunsaturated vegetable oils in the food supply more than flipped that crucial ratio. The utter over-exposure to omega 6 fatty acids and lack of omega 3 acids is said to have led to heart-damaging inflammation. And it’s not just a lack of omega 3 fatty acids causing trouble. Listen to what Professor John Stein of Oxford said (emphasis added):

If you eat too much corn oil or sunflower oil, the brain is absorbing too much omega 6, and that effectively forces out omega 3. I believe the lack of omega 3 is a powerful contributory factor to such problems as increasing mental health issues and other problems such as dyslexia.

Mental. Health. Issues. It’s not just that we can so easily topple the ratio – it’s that consuming overheated vegetable oils forces out what little omega 3 supplies we had left. No wonder fast food was found to lower IQs of teens. It’s robbing the brain, but also inflaming the body and carries with it the creation of cancer-causing chemicals.

Professor Stein who is an emeritus professor of neuroscience, says that because of our vegetable oil saturation (my pun), “the human brain is changing in a way that is as serious as climate change threatens to be.” Of course, this research doesn’t touch the implications of consuming oils made from genetically engineered plants such as corn, soy, canola, or cottonseed. Nor does it look at a full toxicology report that might reveal trace amounts of pesticides and other industry chemicals besides the release of aldehydes while heating.

Do we have any readers who have worked in the food industry? How often does the oil in the fryers get changed? It’s days if not weeks, isn’t it? Even if it were mere hours, such as every 24 hours at a Wendy’s perhaps, that would still mean that everyone who passes through a drive-thru is consuming oil that has been refried countless times. *

The so-called father of propaganda, Edward Bernays, who was also the nephew of Sigmund Freud, led America into eating gargantuan amounts of meat for breakfast which wasn’t for the purpose of health but mainly for the pork industry. He used “the experts” to do it as this is a staple of effective propaganda. But then, the cereal and grain producers picked up the breakfast and heart-health torch and traditional cooking fats made way for synthetic and highly processed polyunsaturated oils. Look back through history – isn’t it time that we tapped into our own body’s wisdom and stopped riding the sponsored science pendulum until we first ask “cui bono”? Who benefits?

Top photo by Mike Mozart

This article (Heated Vegetable Oil Releases Toxic Chemicals Linked to Cancer) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Heather Callaghan and Natural Blaze.com.

Heather Callaghan is an independent researcher, natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com. Like at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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