Vegetable oil is generally made with plant-based ingredients and does not contain any problematic ingredients for a vegan diet.
Oils are an essential part of preparing meals and have been widely used for different purposes. As vegans, we want to make sure whether the oil we are using is appropriate to our diet.
As literal as it sounds, vegetable oil is vegan. The oil is derived from plant-based ingredients, such as coconuts and olive. However, for some vegans, palm oil is a questionable item because of its production.
In this article, we will talk more about vegetable oil and discuss its health benefits that you can enjoy. Plus, we will talk about palm oil and why some vegans opt not to use it in their food preparation.
What Are The Different Sources Of Vegetable Oil?
Vegetable oil is a common product among different varieties of food. It can be extracted from various fruits, seeds, grains, and nuts. Among different types of vegetable oils, those that came from canola, coconut, soybean, sunflower, olive, and palm are the most popular ones.
Basically, you can extract any oil from vegetables using different processes. There are different mechanical processes, some can even be done at home, to extract oil from vegetables.
Well, vegetable oil can either be good or bad for your health. We will be discussing this later in our discussion, but for now, let us take a look at the nutritional information of vegetable oil. Take note that this is subject to different changes based on the preparation or brand of your vegetable oil.
It is still most advisable to properly check the labels first before purchasing. The chart below presents the nutritional information of vegetable oil.
|Nutrition||Amount per serving|
|Calories from fat||122|
|Total fat||14 g|
|Saturated fat||1 g|
|Trans fat||0.3 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat||8.9 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||3.1 g|
|Total Cholesterol||0 mg|
|Total Carbohydrates||0 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g|
Does The Production Of Vegetable Oil Involve Animals?
No. Vegetable Oil production is directly concerned with its plant sources. There are different methods that manufacturers use to extract oils and these are not using any animal or animal products.
The most popular method of oil extraction is through the process of expeller-pressing. While most health concerned individuals in the US and Europe preferred the mechanical extraction of oils. This might also be how your cooking oil is extracted!
The amount of oil extraction varies directly with the method of extracting it.
Why Is Palm Oil Production Problematic To Vegans?
While there are no direct animals or animal products being used in palm oil production, vegans are against its impacts on the environment.
First, palm oil production contributes greatly to deforestation. This poses threats to wildlife species as they lose their habitats and natural way of living. Some species are forced to leave their home and disturb their seasons.
Second, the production of palm oil contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. The way it uses large portions of land has been said to cause rising greenhouse gasses. Moreover, palm oil plantations are often located in wetlands that accumulate the existence of peats, which is also harmful to the environment.
So, as part of the movement of the vegan community to fight against animal cruelty and violence, some of them are not consuming palm oils. However, the choice is purely a personal matter, so you still decide whether you’d consume it or not.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Vegetable Oil?
There are different types of vegetable oil, and each type contains different health benefits and risks. If you’re on a strict diet, you might want to use canola oil as it is considered to be the healthiest vegetable oil. You can also try using corn, olive, and soybean as they are healthy as well.
In determining the health benefits of vegetable oil, let us take a closer look at its healthy fat contents. Vegetable oil contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.
Monounsaturated fats are more commonly known as omega-9 fatty acids. This fat helps your body to fight heart and cardiovascular diseases. This will also contribute to a good level of carbohydrates in your body. Vegetable oils that are rich in monounsaturated fats are canola, olive, sunflower, hazelnut, and almond oil.
Moreover, polyunsaturated fats are more commonly known as omega-3 and omega-6 acids. Consuming omega-3 and omega-6 acids helps in regulating different body processes, such as the management of cholesterol in the metabolism process of your body. Vegetable oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fats are safflower, sesame, soybean, and corn oils.
Are There Any Health Risks Involved In Using Vegetable Oil?
While there are good health benefits using vegetable oils will give you, there are some health risks as well. Some vegetables are high in saturated and trans fat that can be both very dangerous once consumed out of moderation.
Saturated fats lead to higher cholesterol levels that are bad for your body. Overconsumption of saturated fats can result in heart and cardiovascular diseases. Vegetable oils that are rich in saturated fats are coconut oil and palm oil.
Trans fats, on the other hand, are those fats that are rich in hydrogenated oils which can also lead to heart and cardiovascular diseases. Avoid consuming vegetable oils that are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated since these can be a source of trans fat.
What Is The Purpose of Vegetable Oil?
Every kitchen comes with cooking oil. No matter what kind of oil it is, there must be one. This is how essential oil is in terms of food preparation. Lots of commercial products that are available can be seen to have oils with them as well.
Now, let’s talk about why vegetable oils are considered to be an important component of the kitchen.
Yes, vegetable oils add flavor. While some oils have no taste, there are oils, like olive, that can add a strong and rich flavor to food.
The oil prevents food from sticking together. Moreover, it provides a rich and smooth texture that adds consistency and contrast to food preparations.
Wondering where the crumbling texture of your pastry came from? Well, oil is definitely one of the reasons for that.
Of course, oil is used in cooking, especially in deep frying your favorite chicken drumstick or tempura.
Types Of Vegetable Oil And Their Vegan Status
Lastly, let us name some of the most popular types of vegetable oil and clear whether they are vegan or not.
Is soybean oil vegan? Yes.
Soybean oil is extracted from soybean seeds and is popularly used in different commercial products due to its emulsifying properties. It is also a common vegetable oil that is used in frying foods. The extraction process begins by heating the seeds, rolled into flakes, and then the chemical extraction will take place.
Consuming food with soybean oil is not an issue for vegan folks.
Is canola oil vegan? Yes.
Canola oil came from an oil-rich seed of a flowering member of the cabbage and mustard family. The oil is favored by consumers since it does not leave any aftertaste. So, you don’t have to worry about your food tasting like coconut or olives.
There are also no recorded negative impacts of its production on the environment, so this can be a very good option for you.
Is olive oil vegan? Yes.
Olive oil is an oil made by extracting oil from whole olives. The olives are crushed first then the oil will be either extracted mechanically or chemically extracted. Olive oil is among the healthiest vegetable oils available and is used to dress vegetable salads often.
However, similar to palm oil production, several vegan folks have stressed the negative impacts of olive oil production. This is particularly concerning to over 30 million m3 of olive wastewater annually in just the Mediterranean alone. So again, consuming it is purely a personal choice on whether it’s acceptable for you or not.
Vegetable Oil Is Vegan
Generally, vegetable oils are vegan. The only concern we have as of today is the negative impacts brought by the production of some vegetable oils, such as palm oil and olive oil. As part of the advocacy of the vegan community, you will personally decide whether these impacts are acceptable on your end.
If you don’t mind about it, then you can go ahead and continue using these oils. But if you’re strictly condemning any act against the environment, then shift to oils that production does not harm the environment, like canola oils.
Just remember that being a vegan is already a huge impact on the community! So, what are you waiting for? Get that pan sizzling with your favorite vegetable oil and let’s enjoy our food.