Many people use olive oil and canola oil as healthy fats. But is your healthy oil expeller pressed (good) or chemically extracted (not as good)?
Expeller pressed oils (also known as cold pressed oils) are those that have been extracted from fruits (avocados, olives, etc.), nuts, seeds and grains by expeller pressing.
A completely natural process, the source material has been squeezed in an expeller machine—an old-fashioned mechanical press. Some types of oils may then be refined using a steam filtration process.
The best oils are produced this way, and only oils produced this way are 100% natural.
Expeller pressed oils are typically more expensive because the pressed olives, nuts, etc. yield only about two-thirds as much oil as they would with chemical extraction.
Producers choose a lower yield and a pure product, rather than soaking the fruits/seeds/grains in chemicals, which can leave residues in the oil.
Is your olive oil expeller pressed and free of
chemicals, or has it been extracted with a
petrochemical? Photo by Liv Friis -Larsen | IST.
Even an oil labeled “virgin” does not guarantee the absence of chemicals. The word “virgin” refers to the lower acidity level of an olive oil. You need to see the words “expeller pressed” or “cold pressed.” (More about virgin olive oil.)
Expeller pressed oil are 100% natural, free of chemical solvents, additives and preservatives. Because they are less volatile, they evaporate less when heated; so you can use less when cooking. This can offset the higher price.
Another benefit: oils with a high level of saturated fat, such as coconut oil, contain fewer triglycerides than common vegetable oil (and thus have less saturated fat) when they are expeller pressed. Canola oil becomes lower in saturated fat than chemically extracted olive oil, and higher in Vitamin E, Omega 3 and Omega 6.
What is chemically-extracted oil?
If you don’t purchase oils that are labeled expeller pressed or cold press, your oil has been processed with hexane, a petroleum derivative (also known as a petro-organic compound). It is then further processed with phosphoric acid and other additives.
Now that you know, the choice is yours!
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