Know Your Cooking Oil!

Did you know a petroleum by-product from making gasoline commonly contaminates cooking oil? Without being listed in the ingredients… I know it’s a little hard to believe. It was for me too.

A close friend and I got together for a cooking night at my house. Kind of a girls night in – fun and food were plenty. That night we were whipping up some Italian food. She asked what kind of olive oil we were using. I wasn’t sure what she was asking me… olive oil is olive oil – right?

Then she shared some crazy information with me. Turns out all oils are not created equally. To save a buck –manufacturers are contaminating oil with dangerous gasoline by-products. Disgusting! I was appalled and horrified! What was I feeding to my family? I was done playing the fool! I vowed to never make the same mistake again. I will make sure you learn from my mistake – keep reading to find out.

You’ll learn what type of oils are best and 3 simple ways to find 100% pure oils for your family. It’s much simpler than it sounds!

Expeller Pressed Vs. Chemical Extraction

Oils are made by extracting oil from a specific part of a plant such as the seed or fruit. There are two ways for the oil to be removed.

Expeller pressed which is a fancy way of saying they squeeze it or press the plant, nut, or seed until the oil comes out. This is the old-fashioned way – and the safest. Expeller pressing oils is a more expensive process. More labor is required and less oil is extracted.

Chemically extracted means oil is extracted with a chemical called hexane. When you see a cold pressed oil, it’s a good thing. Manually pressing the oil out causes heat. Temperature controlled extraction prevents the oil from going rancid quickly. Chemical extraction is easier and cheaper for manufacturers. For you, it could have disastrous effects on your health as it has Hexane.

What Is Hexane?

Hexane is a solvent or cleaner; often used as paint thinner. It’s a petroleum by-product of making gasoline.1

The agency for toxic substances and disease registry defines Hexane, “n-Hexane is a chemical made from crude oil. Pure n-Hexane is a colorless liquid with a slightly disagreeable odor. It is highly flammable, and its vapors can be explosive. It’s commonly used as paint thinner, a solvent, and to make glue, varnish, and ink.”2

Hexane’s effects on humans from the US National Library of Medicine says Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans to high levels of hexane causes mild central nervous system (CNS) effects, including dizziness, giddiness, slight nausea, and headache. Chronic (long-term) exposure to hexane in the air is associated with polyneuropathy in humans, with numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue observed. Neurotoxic effects have also been exhibited in rats.3

The EPA approved hexane’s use to extract oil, even in cooking oils.
Even more alarming, the cooking oil is not tested to determine the amount of hexane in the final product.

What?!?!

Beware! Sounds like manufacturers are trying to hide something. And the EPA does not have our backs. Since hexane is being used during the extraction process it does not need to be listed on the label. Manufacturers can label the oil as 100% pure.

Ways To Find A Hexane-Free Oil

It’s pretty simple to tell if your cooking oil is contaminated with hexane.

  • Look for expeller pressed or cold pressed on the label. They should be hexane-free. Manufacturers who take the time to expeller press their oil are typically proud of it. They will clearly display expeller pressed on their packaging.
  • Look for “hexane-free” on the label. It is pretty easy to find if labeled as hexane-free. Manufacturers see the value in hexane-free oils for consumers and clearly, label them.

If everything fails, contact the manufacturer. You can call, email, or connect via social media. In my research, I’m yet to take this step – it’s the last resort.

If your current oil is not labeled hexane-free or expeller pressed, buy a hexane-free brand next time. Common oils where hexane is used include soybean oil, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and corn oil. Hexane is used in just about any oil you can buy so READ THE LABEL!

Processed foods typically use the least expensive ingredients. Expect processed foods to have an abundance of hexane-extracted oils. If you eat a lot of processed foods read your labels carefully! Better yet avoid the processed junk.

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