It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. ~ Mark Twain
When George Gershwin composed the song It Ain’t Necessarily So, he was onto something. I’d love to have a nickel for everything I was taught or told or just accepted as fact in the course of my life. From food preservation to gardening to animal husbandry to medicine to finance, there have been a lot more ‘not-so’ things than ‘so’ things. A while back I did a post on not needing to waterbath jams and jellies; I got more than 100 comments corroborating my “not-so” position. At which point it occurred to me there are lots of other not-so things out there, and shazaam, I had an ongoing blog topic. Here’s the latest “it ain’t necessarily so” (IANS).
Eating oils made from corn, soy and canola is perfectly healthy.
Where do I start? First, none of these plants actually produce ‘oil.’ In order to turn the liquid from the seeds/beans into what is called oil, they must be crushed and exposed to hexane solvents. Then the product is heated to extract the solvent. Next the oil is degummed, or treated with alkali, refined again to remove waxes and steam-distilled to deodorize it. Whatever’s left when they get through processing it is called oil. These oils are loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation in the body and change the way your cell membranes work (that’s NOT a good thing!). They are full of trans-fats, and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer, among other things. There’s good evidence that these oils also increase the risk of obesity.
Sunflower seeds really do have oil, but they’re still extracted with these methods, so it’s really not any better for you. True cold-pressed sunflower oil, in which the seeds are ground and very slowly squeezed through rollers, is OK, but most “cold-pressed” oils are run through a fine grind and a high velocity screw press, which increases temperatures to the point that the heat damages the oil. Want other reasons to avoid vegetable oils? Most are made from genetically modified crops. In many cases, those crops were modified in the first place to allow the use of herbicides and pesticides. Both vegetable oils and the products in which they are included usually contain other goodies, like BHA and BHT (butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene), artificial antioxidants added to reduce the chances of spoilage. These chemicals have been found to increase the risk of behavioral problems in children, high cholesterol, liver/kidney damage, immune problems, and infertility or sterility.
Your body uses fats to make hormones and to utilize fat-soluble vitamins. Give it the wrong kind of “fats” and the potential for cellular damage is just huge. Instead of eating this gunk, go for raw-milk butter, cold-pressed virgin olive oil (and do your research on this, because there’s plenty of bad olive oil out there, too), coconut oil, lard (preferably not commercial lard, which is hydrogenated) and beef tallow.
Take a Missouri Approach
Missouri is the “show me” state. The mental attitude of “you’ll have to prove it to me” is a good one. Use your common sense. When your experience or that of people you trust is contrary to accepted scientific wisdom or expert recommendations, odds are very high the scientific wisdom and the experts are out to lunch. Ask the old homicide lawyer’s question, “Cui bono?” Loosely translated as “Who benefits?” what it actually means is “To whose profit?” When big bucks, company survival or professional reputations are on the line, ethics quite often take a back seat. Circus entrepreneur PT Barnum was the one who coined the sucker-born-every-minute rule. Don’t be a sucker and remember: it ain’t necessarily so.