Supermarket oils: Slow-acting poison

How do they transform healthy vegetable oils into poison? Oilseeds (sunflower, corn, etc.) deliver oil through a mechanical compression process. Depending on the quality of the press and the hardness of the seed, if the process is carried out completely cold, up to 20% of the oil contained can be extracted. But since these values ​​are commercially unsatisfactory, large industries use temperature, heating the seeds before pressing, until they reach values ​​between 80 and 100ºC.

After the first pressure, the oil still contained in the seed is extracted in a second step with the help of a solvent derived from petroleum (hexane), boiling the mixture.

What is obtained is then subjected to temperatures of around 150ºC in order to recover the solvent by evaporation, a process that never reaches 100% efficiency and therefore leaves toxic residues in the oil. Depending on the type of seed, in all these processes, treatments with caustic soda and/or sulfuric acid are used to correct the acidity and neutralize the oil.

This results in so-called “crude” oil, whose state would be unpresentable for the consumer and which requires further refining processes to be bottled. In the neutralization process, sodium hydroxide is used, where the combination with free fatty acids allows the separation of the soap produced. Minerals and valuable phospholipids go with the soap.

Then the degumming process is carried out, which removes more phospholipids (lecithin) and minerals (iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, etc.).

Next comes bleaching, a process that is carried out in a vacuum at temperatures of around 95/110ºC, with the help of bleaching agents (such as aluminum hydrosilicate), where the chlorophyll, xanthophyll and beta-carotene pigments are eliminated.

Finally, deodorization is reached, a process that requires temperatures between 180 and 270ºC in a controlled atmosphere. This is done to remove bad flavors and odors from the oil, products of the same industrial process, since they were not present in the seed. With flavors and odors, aromatic oils and the remaining surviving free fatty acids are removed.

Result? Oils turned into poison

Even without having technical knowledge, we can imagine what remains in that transparent, tasteless and odorless liquid that we see in the transparent containers on the shelves, often ostentatiously presented as the result of “five refining processes”, but without nutritional value, toxic and it requires antioxidants (generally synthetic) to prevent it from becoming rancid and can withstand months of permanence on shelves exposed to light.

From 110ºC onwards, fatty acids begin to alter chemically. Above 150ºC the unsaturated fats They become mutagenic, that is, dangerous for our genes, and carcinogenic. Above 160ºC trans fatty acids are formed. This occurs when a transconfiguration of the oil has occurred and the hydrogen molecules have moved around. In our body they act worse than saturated fat, they are toxic, they create free radicals, they are mutagenic and carcinogenic.

Trans fats in foods

Trans fats are a type of fat that increases bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol. Meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals, such as cows, sheep, and goats, contain very small amounts of natural trans fats.

Instead, most trans fats are found in vegetable oils that have been chemically transformed into solid fats. These are called partially hydrogenated oils.

There was a time when oils containing trans fats were considered a healthy alternative to saturated fats. In addition, they are economical and have a long useful life.

The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that artificial trans fats are "no longer considered safe" in foods. They are no longer used in food production in the US, but may still be used in other countries.

The industries do not tell us that part of the oils they sell us are in trans configuration. nor do they warn us of its dangers.

Many researchers believe that this is one of the primary causes of the great challenges of the modern era: cancer and heart disease.