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From Industrial Lube To Lunch: The Untold Story of Processed Vegetable Oils

Hempco LogoHempco Admin
3 Mins. Read

At Margaret River Hemp Co., we're passionate about natural wellness and believe in the power of whole, unprocessed foods. Vegetable oils have become a staple in modern cooking, but the journey these oils take from plant to plate can be concerning. While a drizzle of high-quality olive oil can enhance a dish, many commercially available vegetable oils have undergone harsh processing techniques that strip away their inherent goodness and may introduce unwanted elements.

Processed Vegetable Oils

From Industrial Use to Kitchen Counter:

The history of vegetable oils is fascinating. While civilisations like the Egyptians used olive oil for lamps, vegetable oils primarily served industrial purposes until the Middle Ages, lubricating machinery and waterproofing textiles. This utilitarian past hints at the potentially harsh processing these oils can endure even today.

The Refining Frenzy: Stripping Away the Good Stuff

The vegetable oils lining supermarket shelves are a far cry from their natural state.

20 ton per day cooking oil refining plant

Modern refining often involves:

  • High Heat Degumming: This step removes gums and waxes, but it can also degrade some beneficial nutrients and naturally occurring antioxidants.
  • Neutralisation: High temperatures and chemicals are used to neutralise free fatty acids, but this can alter the original flavour and aroma of the oil.
  • Bleaching: Bleaching clays or chemicals remove pigments that may affect colour. However, this process can also remove some beneficial plant compounds.
  • Deodorisation: Steam treatment removes volatile compounds responsible for the oil's natural odour and flavour. Unfortunately, this also removes volatile compounds with potential health benefits.

The Hydrogenation Hook: A Recipe for Trouble

In the early 20th century, hydrogenation was introduced to solidify vegetable oils, creating margarine and shortening. While this innovation offered convenience, it had a dark side. This process transforms healthy unsaturated fats into trans fats, which are linked to a variety of health concerns like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Hidden Dangers: Beyond the Refining Process

  • Hexane Residue: Some oils use hexane, a solvent, during extraction. While most hexane is removed, trace amounts may remain, raising potential health benefits.
  • Refined vs. Unrefined: Refined oils may have a longer shelf life, but they lack the natural antioxidants and vitamins present in unrefined oils.
Processed Vegetable Oils

A Healthier Approach to Cooking with Oils

At Margaret River Hemp Co., we believe in a more natural approach to cooking.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Embrace Unrefined Oils: Opt for unrefined options like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or sesame oil. These oils retain more of their natural goodness, although they may have a shorter shelf life.
  • Embrace Organic Hemp Seed Oil: Here at Margaret River Hemp Co., we're strong advocates for our very own organic hemp seed oil. Cold-pressed and packed with essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, it's a fantastic addition to your kitchen.
  • Read Labels Carefully: Be wary of terms like "vegetable oil blend" on labels. These blends may contain unhealthy trans fats or highly processed oils.
  • Less is More: Use oils sparingly, especially for high-heat cooking methods like frying. Consider healthier alternatives like water or broth for cooking vegetables.
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The Bottom Line: Quality Matters

While vegetable oils offer convenience and can be a part of a balanced diet, be mindful of the processing methods involved. Opting for unrefined options and using them sparingly can help you reap the benefits of these plant-based fats while minimising the potential health risks. Here at Margaret River Hemp Co., we advocate for a return to using whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. We're also big believers in exploring the potential of alternative healthy fats like those found in hemp seeds, and that's why we take pride in our organic hemp seed oil.

Remember, sometimes the path from "lube to lunch" is paved with less-than-ideal processes. By making informed choices about the oils you use, you can promote a healthier and more natural approach to cooking.

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Rest assured our range of hemp seed oil products are cold-pressed and made from organic Australian grown seeds!