The Real Reason You Should Stop Cooking With Vegetable Oil

Cooking oil is a staple in most kitchens. There are the popular olive, coconut, and corn oils. And then you have the slightly more obscure choices, like squash and pumpkin seed oils. They all serve to protect our pans and help cook our food, but the health benefits and the source of ingredients between the different types of oil can widely vary.

So which oil is right for you? That depends largely on what you are cooking and how health-conscious you are. But if we can advise on the one to stay away from one, it would be vegetable oil. According to Healthline, 'vegetable oil' is a term that covers any oil derived from plant sources, and is often a blend of different types of oils. So that would mean the healthiness of the oil is hinged on what plant the oil has been taken from.

An oil derived from a plant-based source doesn't sound like it could be too unhealthy right? That is when the trickiness of the name plays in. Lisa Howard, author of The Big Book of Healthy Cooking Oils, explains to Time, "Vegetable oil is guaranteed to be highly processed. It's called 'vegetable' so that the manufacturers can substitute whatever commodity oil they want — soy, corn, cottonseed, canola — without having to print a new label," she shares.

Vegetable oil can be found in different products

So if the source of the oil has been masked by the generalizing 'vegetable oil' term, then we are less likely to have an overview of what types of fats we're eating. Not only can this type of oil be used for cooking, but it can also be hidden in salad dressings, manufactured spreads, and in bakery goods, reports Science Direct. Perhaps the most alarming is that there are some types of vegetable oil that have been linked to the degradation of land for its production, reports Time — palm oil, for example. According to National Geographic, palm oil is now the world's most popular vegetable oil, making up for one-third of global consumption. The high demand is driving up deforestation thus endangering species of wildlife.

Seeing as that vegetable oil is heavily processed, causes uncertainty around fat sources, and promotes land degradation, we'll be steering clear of this choice in the oil aisle. Luckily, there is a multitude of other options to choose from.