Oils well that ends well

We have been hearing a lot about crude oil lately.

After complaining about high crude oil prices for years, the pundits now say the sudden drop in oil prices is ruining the U.S. stock market and the entire economy.

Our “allies” in Saudi Arabia are trying to put U.S. domestic oil production out of business by making oil too cheap to turn a profit here in the U.S. In Saudi Arabia, they haven’t known how to do any work for anything in generations. You only have to stick a hole in the ground and oil comes bubbling up. But it’s not so simple in the U.S.

By the way, one reason gasoline prices used to be so high is because of government taxes. Apparently, the government thinks it’s wrong for the oil companies to want to make a few pennies on every gallon of gas they extract, refine and supply. But somehow it makes sense for the government to take even more pennies from every gallon you buy.

Of course, the government gets it wrong about oil in your diet too…

For almost 40 years, the U.S. government gave saturated fat a bad rap. They told us to cut out butter, coconut oil, and lard. And if we had to use oil, they told us to choose a vegetable oil such as sunflower, corn or canola.

Thankfully, as I reported yesterday, the government’s new dietary guidelines are beginning to back off from their myth about the dangers of saturated fats and cholesterol.

And the evidence against vegetable oil is starting to mount.

Some experts used to claim polyunsaturated fats (as in vegetable oils) benefitted your health. But that claim appears to be just another myth. In fact, new studies show cooking with vegetable oil releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer, dementia, heart disease, and other diseases.

Heating vegetable oil releases high concentrations of toxic chemicals called aldehydes. And heating foods in vegetable oils leads to 100 to 200 times higher aldehyde levels than those set as safe by the World Health Organization. By comparison, heating foods in butter, lard, and olive oil produce much lower levels of aldehyde. Coconut oil produces the lowest levels.

The use of cooking oils also affects the brain.

Vegetable oils contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which reduce healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the brain by replacing them, according many experts. They believe this displacement of omega-3s by omega-6s in vegetable oils alters the structure of the brain, which causes mental illness, mood disorders, and learning disorders. Just consider the parallel rise of these cognitive disorders and the increase in foods, and cooking, with vegetable oils over the years.

Even if you put the saturated fat argument aside, you’ll still want to avoid cooking with corn oil. Nearly 100 percent of the corn made in this country comes from genetically modified seeds. So for that reason alone, you should keep corn oil off shopping list and out of your cooking recipes.

My advice?

Cook with butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and — yes — even lard.

I think you get the best flavor out of your meats or vegetables by sautéing them in melted butter and olive oil, together.