Vegetable Oil: Why It is Bad for Your Health

Authored or posted by | Updated on | Published on June 6, 2009
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Vegetable Oils

Flickr Commons: Image provided by Andre Torrez

Many people think that conventional vegetable oil is healthy because it is made from vegetable. This assumption can be a danger to their health, because conventional vegetable oil is just as bad as junk food.

Is vegetable oil healthy?

Most vegetable oil products are not healthy for you, especially the conventional processed version. This type of vegetable oil is often contaminated with environmental toxins. Furthermore, during the production stage most of its nutrients are extracted which leaves only the oil. This means that when you consume it, you are consuming mostly pure processed oil.

Conventional vegetable oil is sometimes a healthier alternative to conventional animal fat, but its cons far exceed its pros. Vegetable oil contains a good amount of saturated fat, which stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol. Whenever you consume too much vegetable oil or any similar fat, your liver ends up producing more cholesterol than your body needs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems. These a some of the reasons why conventional vegetable oil is bad for you.

The dangers of vegetable oil

Some of the hidden dangers of vegetable oil are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and artificial chemicals. Corn, soybean, canola and cottonseed are the top genetically modified vegetable oils in certain Western countries, such as the United States. U.S. companies that manufacture genetically modified food, also known as GMO, are not required to label their food, which is why it is hard to tell if a food is genetically modified or not.

Another oil you should stay away from as much as possible is hydrogenated oil. This type of oil is full of unhealthy saturated fat and carcinogens, which is why it is so effective at harming your health. Hydrogenated oil is usually found in chips, crackers, cookies, cereals and fast food.

Healthy substitutes for vegetable oil and how to reduce your oil consumption

To reduce your oil consumption, avoid eating fast food and junk food as much as possible. As for reducing oil during cooking, try mixing vegetable oil (non-GMO) with a little bit of water.

Water mixed with cooking oil does a good job of preventing the food from sticking to the pan as long as it is not cooked at high temperatures. Medium to low temperatures work best but it does take longer to cook the food. When cooking food, avoid using non-stick pan for the reason that it is coated with a harmful substance called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

If you do not like to use vegetable oil to cook your food, you can use these substitutes:

  • All natural applesauce: Great for baking cakes and cookies.
  • Apple fruit butter: Useful for baking food.
  • Prune puree: Effective for preventing food from sticking to cookware during baking.
  • Mashed ripe bananas: Great for preventing food from sticking to pan during baking.
  • Organic lard: Ideal for frying food.

The best cooking oils

Some of the best substitutes for conventional vegetable oil are organic sesame oil, hempseed oil and avocado oil. These three oils are some of the best oils for cooking food because they have a strong resistance to heat. Furthermore, organic oils are usually free of GMO, agrichemicals, and gluten. For some great selections of organic cooking oils, visit this online store.


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Category: Processed Food & Drink

Comments (24)

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  1. Wellness information says:

    Hey thanks a lot for the information. Even i thought that vegetable oil is healthy. i was not knowing about it and being healthy is very important. Very well explained.

    • PL Chang says:

      You are welcome! I’m glad to hear that the article helped you out. 🙂

    • MisterNo says:

      you said: During the production stage, most of its nutrients are extracted which leaves only the oil. This means that when people consume vegetable oil, they are consuming nothing but fat.

      Of course that when everything is extracted only oil is left, why do you think it is called vegetable oil?
      Oil with saturated fatty acids isn’t good, but the way you presented is idiotic

  2. nick says:

    vegetable oil is not healthier than animal fat. When america switched to primarily vegetable oil our rates of heart disease etc all raised. All of the things that animal fats are blamed on are a result of an industries desire to force us to buy massed produced products.

    It is the same way broad spectrum herbicides had clover classified as a weed, when it is a hardy low growing legume which requires only a fraction of the water content to stay green and requires very little mowing which our modern lawn require both in excess due to an industries desire to sell a product.

    Eat animal fat, eat vegetables, regain your health.

    • PL Chang says:

      Animal fat is just as bad as vegetable oil or worse. Consuming it is not going to improve your health. I would rather use non-GMO vegetable oil over animal fat. The fat that is going to improve your health if you eat in it balance is essential fatty acids.

      • nick says:

        I’m going to disagree with that statement. Here is the other side of the story if you care to read more about it:

        • PL Chang says:

          The book you linked to seems to be contradicting to your comments. I’m aware of the author Weston A. Price. I believe he is the founder of the X-factor. Below is a quick excerpt from his Amazon book page.

          An epic study demonstrating the importance of whole food nutrition, and the degeneration and destruction that comes from a diet of processed foods.

          I have not read the book but it seems like he is recommending whole food. Is animal fat consider whole food?

          I do not know what your true intentions are but if you are going to recommend people to eat animal fat to improve their health, you need to be specific. In general, animal fat contains a lot of harmful substances.

  3. nick says:

    Also fat is good an essential in our diets. Low fat diets are correlated to rising obesity

  4. Nate says:


    It’s impossible to make a general comparison between vegetable oil and animal fat because of critical differences that can exist between the same type of fat. For example, refined extra light olive oil is very different from extra virgin olive oil, hydrogenated coconut oil is very different from organic virgin coconut oil, and industrial lard is very different than lard from pasture-raised pork.

    In the case of lard, industrial lard (by far the most common) comes from pigs raised in confined conditions, fed cheap feed, and given antibiotics and hormones. Such lard is also often hydrogenated. Since the feed in industrial lard is not organic, the chemicals present in the feed over time become concentrated in the animal. This is why if one decides to switch to organic, it’s more important to buy organic higher up on the food chain. You are not only what you eat, but also what what you eat eats.

    Lard from pasture-raised pigs on the other hand is not hydrogenated and comes from pigs raised on pasture, are allowed to roam freely, eat their natural diet, and are not given antibiotics or hormones.

    These two types of lard are essentially completely different foods.

    So, animal fats from healthy, well-raised animals are surely healthier than refined vegetable oils. However, if I were to choose between animal fats from poorly raised animals, especially if hydrogenated, I’d choose the refined vegetable oils.

    It’s also important to note that vegetable oils haven’t been around very long. Whereas butter, coconut oil, and lard have been eaten for thousands of years, refined vegetable oils have only been around for around 100 years or less. Since then, as nick points out, our health has dramatically degraded. Because of this (and other reasons), I’m persuaded that it’s best to stick to only foods that our ancestors ate.

    Unfortunately, with the skewed food system we have today, seeking only food that our ancestors ate is not only more difficult to find, but is usually much more expensive. Hopefully in time we will return back to foods closest to nature and make it an initiative to make such foods affordable to everyone. I feel that quality wholesome food is one of the most underrated issues of our time especially considering the current health crisis, bad mainstream nutritional advice, and the fact that approximately one-third of our oil is being used for unsustainable food production.

    • nick says:

      I agree with everything you have said here. Thanks for sharing your insights

      I purchase pasture raised meat from local farms and grow my own vegetables. I do eat some store bought meat, i’m not a purist, but don’t save the fat from that.

      Your just a lot more articulate than I am and I thank you for sharing your take.

    • PL Chang says:

      You have some good points. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    • Nate says:

      No problem, thanks for reading! 🙂

      One important issue I forgot to bring up is the omega-6:omega-3 fat ratio. Our ancestors consumed close to a 1:1 ratio of these fats, but today, due to widespread use of refined vegetable oils which generally contain many more omega-6 than omega-3 fats, this ratio is about 15:1 or even higher. This likely at least partially explains the health crisis since consuming too many omega-6 leads to inflammation in the body which can contribute to a host of health problems.

      For vegetable oils, the processing method is primarily what determines the healthfulness of the oil. For example, industrial soybean oil is extracted at high temperatures using petroleum solvents like hexane, causing rancidity. The less processed and healthier option is soybean oil that’s non-GMO and cold-pressed. Aside from difficult or impossible testing to prove GMO crops are safe, and corruption of such testing (e.g., funded by the chemical companies), GMO crops also contain among the highest levels of pesticides. While I still avoid soybean oil in any form due to the high omega-6 content, at least there is a healthier option than the cheap industrial version.

      The only vegetable oil I sparingly use is non-GMO expeller-pressed canola oil since this oil has a fairly balanced omega-6:omega-3 ratio. In general the only fats I use are butter, olive oil, coconut oil, lard, and nut oils like walnut. I avoid as much as I can any highly refined vegetable oils like cottonseed, soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, etc. If one is primarily eating processed foods, however, it’s nearly impossible to avoid these refined oils since about 90% of products in the supermarket contain either a corn or soybean-derived ingredient (taken from the documentary Food, Inc.). It amazes me how many processed foods contain refined vegetable oil. If such oil is in the list of ingredients, I know the company likely cares more about the bottom line than the quality or taste of their product. The companies that use more expensive, tasty, and healthful oils like olive oil are the ones that get my business.

  5. Lisa says:

    as i was reading the article about vegitable oil i got a little upset that it was telling everyone how bad Fat is for you! our brains are made of fat, we NEED fat and plenty of it! I agree with the commenters above, but we also need to know that a low fat diet is a cause of Many problems that have become modern issues. low fat diets lead to depression …like i said the brain needs fat to function properly, low fat diets lower testoterone levels in men leading to E.D. and many kids diagnosed with ADD have reduced their symptoms by increasing the fat in their diets. in the past the most carbohydrates the farming community recieved were from starchy foods such as potatoes, corn, grains,and rice. we all eat way more carbohydrates and sugar than any 10 people need. I want people to see past what the government has been “teaching” us (for their $benefit$)al these years, and not blame the fat for modern problems blame the sugar and carbs, which break down in the body as sugar and realize that sugar was harder to come by back then, and was usually reserved for the wealthy and high class. if we all put 2 and 2 together its actually easy to see. here’s is the source that opened my eyes…

    thank you Nate and Nick you have helped me to think of even more ways to try and change my long term bad eating habits, i have become obese and i know alot of it is my own propencity to overeat but i also know i would be alot better off if i hadnt been so missinformed all my life.

    • PL Chang says:

      The bad fat and oil I was referring to are the processed and GMO fat and oil. I should of been more specific when I wrote this article. I do agree with Nate and Nick about the health benefit of lard from pasture-raised animals. This is why I recommended Green Pastures Blue Ice Royal Butter and Cod Liver Oil in my comment. I even wrote a review about this wonderful product. I also recommended essential fatty acids.

      • nick says:

        good point PL.. I’ll check out those products

      • Jeffrey D says:

        You should specify that avoiding processed and GMO oils are a philosophical choice. GMO oils are not at all bad for your health, there is not a single study says it is. And “processed oil” is a very meaningless term. If an oil is decantered, that’s a form of processing that is not bad for the body.

        • PL Chang says:

          Watch the video below. In the video, the host talks about how genetically modified corn (popular for corn oil) can grown its own pesticide to prevent insects from eating it. After watching the video, if you think that GMOs are still good for you, then do not get mad when you have health problems. Note: By adding this video does not mean that I like to support InfoWars or agree with everything in the video.

  6. D says:

    Vegetable oil is low in saturated fat. But this is not a good thing, because the omega 6 polyunsaturated fat in it is MUCH WORSE than saturated fat.

    Saturated fat, especially from coconut oil increases HDL cholesterol, this is a good thing.

    Polyunsaturated fat and trans fat increase LDL, and decrease HDL (Bad). and that’s why vegetable oil is bad.

  7. dave parry says:

    Great info but I noticed you mention non stick pans without any comment on the dangers of the coatings on these pans when heated above a certain safe limit. I have read that the fumes given off are very harmful and in particular for any birds that may breathe these fumes and which die very quickly if they do, it is said. Alarming to say the least – especially to anyone that owns a parrot or budgie perhaps. Pet Shop owners should be particularly cautious I would suggest.