Vegetable oils have been manufactured for millions of years. Even thousands of years before Christ (BC), oil was being extracted from soybeans in China, and from olives in parts of Europe. Food manufacturing developments have made vegetable oils easy and inexpensive to use. The controversy lies on whether vegetable oils are good for your health as was once thought, or detrimental to your health, as many believe now.
As with all food choices, it’s important to be mindful of the reasons we eat. We eat for sustenance, but also for pleasure, and often to bond with family and friends and socialize. So there is no reason to suffer through meal planning and preparation or to cook a meal that is not flavorful, but also full of the best possible nutrients you provide. Oil is no exception.
Vegetable oil is a triglyceride produced from plants, high in Omega-6 fatty acid. Used in high amounts they are detrimental to your health. Although the plants used are not all vegetables, the term has been used to distinguish oils from solid animal fats, or hydrogenated fats made from oils. Oils are an essential part of nutrition, providing essential fatty acids and most importantly, a vehicle for fat soluble vitamins to be absorbed, stored and utilized.
Just because an oil is a “vegetable oil”, keep in mind that it is not a vegetable but a fat, and as such has the same number of calories as any other fat. Excess fat in the diet no matter what the source is, will definitely cause the same health related issues as most other fats with few exceptions. The concentrated form of calories make it good a choice to add to foods when a person needs to eat a high calorie diet. It mixes well and often without changing the flavor of foods, most often enhancing flavors and making food more appetizing.
There is a vast variety of oils to choose from and the nutritional composition can be easily found in USDA and other nutrition websites. These are a few of the most popular oils.
Vegetable oils: liquid or polyunsaturated oils
* Nutrition facts are for liquid vegetable oils
NUTRITION FACTS FOR OILS
Serving size: 1 teaspoon
Calories: 40 Calories from Fat: 40
Total Fat: 4.5g
Saturated Fat 0.5g