I recently got an email from an old coworker asking,
Hey – what’s the deal with grape seed oil? I’ve been hearing it’s the healthiest oil to use and cook with, figured you’d know.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked about the health benefits of grape seed oil. It seems like there’s always a new food or product that generates a buzz. We’re always looking for the next best thing when it comes to nutrition, but here’s the thing: there is no next best thing. We need to start looking at what our ancestors ate, at what people ate before they were fat, sick and nearly dead. Because it sure as hell wasn’t grape seed oil. Grape seed oil is touted as a healthy oil that’s safe for cooking and low in saturated fat – which is actually not a good thing.
Grape seed oil does have a high smoke point, but this does not automatically make it a healthy or even safe oil to cook with. Peanut oil also has a high smoke point, but we know that peanut oil is not a healthy oil. Considering the high polyunsaturated fat content in grape seed oil, it is much more likely to oxidize under high heat. This creates free radicals, which can damage DNA/RNA, cell membranes and lead to plaque build up in the arteries.
How is it processed?
Consider how oily a kernel of corn, or a soy bean, or a grape seed is…they aren’t. All of these plants need to undergo harsh chemical processes to extract the small amount of oil they contain. Like soy and canola, extracting the oil from grape seeds usually involves hexane, a neurotoxin.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency,
Hexane is used to extract edible oils from seeds and vegetables, as a special-use solvent, and as a cleaning agent. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans to high levels of hexane causes mild central nervous system (CNS) effects, including dizziness, giddiness, slight nausea, and headache. Chronic (long-term) exposure to hexane in air is associated with polyneuropathy in humans, with numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue observed. Neurotoxic effects have also been exhibited in rats.
Is it nutrient dense? Is it a healthy fat?
No and no. Take a look at the graph I made below. Grape seed oil is extremely high in inflammatory polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). We need to keep the omega 3:6 ratio in balance and grape seed oil is majority omega-6 fatty acid, which leads to inflammation. Inflammation and oxidation are a deadly combination that lead to heart disease, obesity, cancer and other diseases.
|Grape Seed Oil||Olive Oil||Butter|
When compared with butter and olive oil, grape seed oil not only lacks nutrients, it is not a healthy fat at all.