IS GRAPESEED OIL THE BEST AND HEALTHIEST COOKING OIL

IS GRAPESEED OIL THE BEST AND HEALTHIEST COOKING OIL-min

Because of its high smoking point and vitamin E and polyunsaturated fat content, grapeseed oil is marketed as the best and the healthiest cooking oil. Yet, knowing facts and separating them from fiction helps you know how true the claims can be.

With millions of cooking oils and fats available today, you may be confused and left oblivious of what to do. In fact, all the talks about various cooking temperatures, saturated and polyunsaturated fat content, and smoke points only complicate matters further. Grapeseed oil is one such oil being widely marketed as the best and the healthiest for high-heat cooking, including frying. However, despite those claims and praise around its high vitamin E and polyunsaturated fat content, you might be surprised to know that it is not actually the best of oils. Read this article and understand why this is the case.

What is grapeseed oil?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of this widely acclaimed oil, let’s first understand what really it is. As the name suggests, grapeseed oil comes from grape seeds as a byproduct of the winemaking process. For a long time, it was being thrown away, but the recent technological advancements have turned the tables and made it possible to make money from the wastes. While some high-quality grapeseed oils are expeller or cold-pressed, most are a product of solvent extraction.

Solvent extraction is one of the reasons most health experts are increasingly concerned about grapeseed, its safety, and possible health impacts. One of the widely used solvents in extracting grapeseed oil from winemaking byproducts is hexane, an organic compound. Although current studies on hexane and its effect when consumed in foodsare limited, the organic compound’s effect on the environment is already tantalizing and is enough to raise concern. What’s even more worrying is that most oil companies that do say nothing about their processing stages use hexane to extract oil, which could be ultimately dangerous.

Grapeseed oil: fatty acid versus nutrient content

Although the grapeseed oil proponents market it as a highly nutritious oil, facts from studies reveal otherwise. While the oil is claimed to possess antioxidants and nutrients, there is barely anything worth bragging about. When broken down, grapeseed oil contains 10%, 16%, and 70% saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, respectively.

The primary content of the polyunsaturated fats in the grapeseed oil is omega-6 fatty acids. Modern studies recommend a ratio of 1:1 for omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids for good health. Unfortunately, modern diets, including grapeseed oil, make omega-6 fatty acid content far greater than omega-3, creating health concerns. Research has shown that high amounts of omega-6 fatty acid consumption are linked to inflammation and chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. However, since the omega-6 fats in grapeseed oils are primarily linoleic acids, which are not very risky, many people have a soft for it.

Apart from the polyunsaturated fats, grapeseed oils are rich in vitamin E. Consuming 3.9g of the oil supplies the body with 19% of its daily RDA. However, the oil is highly packed with calories, hence dangerous for massive weight gain. Therefore, it becomes an inappropriate oil choice for cooking. In addition, the oil has virtually no other vitamin or mineral apart from vitamin E.

Grapeseed oil: potential effects on the body

Despite the serious health concerns around grapeseed oil extraction and consumption, studies around its effect on the body are limited. Of course, health experts hold that the solvent-extracted grapeseed oil, especially for companies that use hexane, is dangerous, and evidence will be out in a matter of time, provided more studies are conducted. The proponents of grapeseed oil also claim that the oil has health benefits, partially backed by some studies.

In one study investigating the effect of grapeseed oil on human health, participants were given olive or grapeseed oil. Surprisingly, those taking grapeseed oil experienced better insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammatory markers, including the CRPs. Besides, other studies found that using the oil enhanced blood clotting. Still, research found polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), carcinogenic compounds in the oil, meaning that it may have cancer-causing properties like many other oils, including sunflower oil.

Is grapeseed oil really the best for cooking?

For decades, grapeseed oils have gained massive popularity and have been widely marketed as the best cooking oil because of their relatively high smoking points. However, recent studies tend to dispute this, especially since the oil has 70% polyunsaturated fats. Having several double or triple carbon bonds, such fats easily react with oxygen, and the results are worse than bad. When the bonds break loose and become oxygenated, free radicals and harmful compounds are formed, and the free radicals also accumulate to create oxidative stress. Such a state, alongside inflammation, causes major chronic illnesses like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.

Although marketers claim that grapeseed oils are the best cooking oil, they could be the worst actually. Instead, when looking for the best cooking oil, you’d rather go for saturated oils like olive oil. Such do not react with oxygen; hence no harmful compounds or free radicals are formed. In fact, if you want to do high-heat cooking, like frying, keep off grapeseed oil. This does not mean that its use is out of the picture since you can still have it in baked products or salad dressing.

Grapeseed oil advantages

The only advantage grapeseed oil could have over other oils is its affordability. The oils are made from winemaking, hence very cheap. The other bit about high polyunsaturated fat content and its benefit is yet to be studied.

Conclusion

Grapeseed oil is made from grape seeds as a byproduct of winemaking. Although marketers promote the oil as the best for cooking, many health concerns are surrounding it. First, it has no nutritional value, except for the vitamin E content, which is overridden by the oil’s high calorific value. Secondly, despite the high polyunsaturated fat content, most of the fats are omega-6 fatty acids, whose excessive consumption is linked to inflammation. Thirdly, although the oil boasts a high smoking point, its bonds easily break loose and react with oxygen to form free radicals and environmentally harmful compounds.

Nataly Komova

Nutritionist. Bluffton University, MS In today's world, people's eating and exercise patterns have changed, and it is often lifestyle that is the cause of many diet-related illnesses. I believe that each of us is unique – what works for one does not help another. What is more, it can even be harmful. I am interested in food psychology, which studies a person's relationship with their body and food, explains our choices and desires for specific products, the difficulty of maintaining optimal body weight, as well as the influence of various internal and external factors on appetite. I'm also an avid vintage car collector, and currently, I'm working on my 1993 W124 Mercedes. You may have stumbled upon articles I have been featured in, for example, in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Grazia, Women's Health, The Guardian, and others.

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