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OILS & FATS – IN DEPTH

Reading Time: 15 minutes
Oils Fats

Introduction

Before 1910, people in the United States & United Kingdom used butter and animal fats almost exclusively for cooking and baking. These were rich in saturated fatty acids.

In 1910, cooking with vegetable oils was virtually unheard of oils were instead used to make soaps, candles, lubricants, and other non-edible products.

But then a dramatic change occurred. As the process of hulling and pressing seeds and beans was mechanised, vegetable oils became cheaper than raising and slaughtering animals for butter or animal fat. Aggressive marketing by vegetable oil companies claimed that vegetable oils were a more healthful, easier-to-digest, and more sanitary alternative to animal fats. 

Procter & Gamble filed a patent application for the new conception in 1910, defining it as “a food product consisting of vegetable oil, preferably cottonseed oil, partially hydrogenated, and hardened to a homogeneous white or yellowish semi-solid closely resembling lard. The special object of the invention is to provide a new food product for a shortening in cooking.” They came up with the name Crisco, which they thought conjured up crispness, freshness, and cleanliness.

Crisco was marketed as a more affordable alternative to lard. In 1911, Proctor & Gamble launched a brilliant campaign to put Crisco into every American home. They produced a recipe book, all of which use Crisco, of course, and gave it away for free. This was unheard of, at the time. Advertisements of that era also proclaimed that Crisco was easier to digest, cheaper and healthier due to its plant origins.

Since then, big money was put behind the seed oils, and then a lot of research has been done to make saturated fats look bad. It does look like the tide is turning, and a more balanced message is coming through.


Fatty acids are made up of carbon and hydrogen molecules. Fatty acids can be divided into four general categories: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fats. The basic difference between each of these is the number of carbon atoms with or without two hydrogen atoms bonded to them.

Each oil has its stability profile. However, the manufacturer has at his disposal some means of improving the stability of a less stable liquid oil. 

Saturated Fats 

Oils Fats

From a chemical viewpoint, saturated fats are fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.

For a long time, saturated fats were the evil guys of the fat world. Government guidelines recommended keeping their intake to a minimum, and high dietary saturated fat intake was associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease. 

Saturated fats do raise the levels of LDL in the bloodstream, so this seemed like a sensible suggestion.

However, in recent years, the presumption that saturated fat is harmful to you has been challenged. It now remains unclear how big a factor saturated fat is for heart disease.


Monounsaturated Fats

Oils Fats

Fatty acids which contain, at some point in their chemical structure, one carbon-carbon double bond are monounsaturated fats. Found in high levels in red meat, nuts, high-fat fruits such as avocados, and olive oil. Unlike saturated fats, they lower the levels of LDL in the blood while maintaining HDL levels. As such, they improve the HDL to total blood cholesterol ratio in favour of HDL; they are thought to be beneficial to health.

Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled. Olive oil is an example of a type of oil that contains monounsaturated fats.


Polyunsaturated Fats 

Oils Fats

Fatty acids which contain several carbon-carbon double bonds within their chemical structure are known as polyunsaturated fats. Two commonly mentioned subtypes are omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. The number in these subtype names refers to the position of the final carbon-carbon double bond in the fatty acid’s structure. This number is counted from the final carbon at the end of the hydrocarbon chain.

Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish, walnuts, seeds including sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. They are also present to a degree in some meats. Much like monounsaturated fats, they lower blood levels of LDL, and as such are similarly considered to be beneficial to health.

Oils that contain polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.

Oils high in polyunsaturated fat look acceptable after filtering but will breakdown in the shift, sometimes this is noticeable. The oil will be thin and will not form a crisp product. Polyunsaturated fats do better when replaced rather than being replenished.


Trans Fats 

Oils Fats

There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. 

Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats. 

Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature.

The EU adopted a regulation to curb trans fat amounts in products like snack food as part of efforts to fight heart disease and strokes in Europe.

Industrially-produced trans-fatty acids, like margarine and some hardened vegetable fats, are popular among food producers because they are cheap and typically have a long shelf life.

But given their link to cardiovascular disease, trans fats have also been blamed for more than 500,000 deaths annually, according to World Health Organization figures.

The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, set the limit from April 2, 2021, at two grams of industrially-produced trans fats per 100 grams of fat in food. Although the United Kingdom will not be part of the European Union by then, we have to assume until otherwise told that we will follow suit.

For this reason, I have left out hydrogenated vegetable oils in the tables.


Oil Composition Table

OilSaturated Fat %Monounsaturated Fat %Polyunsaturated Fat %Trans Fat % (Naturally Occurring)
Beef Dripping425044
Coconut Oil9181-
Corn Oill132562-
Groundnut Oil184834-
High Oleic Rapeseed Oil (Canola)77023-
High Oleic Sunflower Oil12844-
Lard394511-
Olive Oil127216-
Palm Oil504010-
Rapeseed Oil (Canola)95833-
Soya Oil (Soybean Oil often labelled as Vegetable Oil or Cooking Oil)152461-
Sunflower Oil133646-

Oil & Fat Smoke and Flash Points

OilSmoke Point (℃)Flash Point (℃)
Beef Dripping210℃250℃
Coconut Oil232℃295℃
Corn Oill232℃325℃
Groundnut Oil232℃333℃
High Oleic Rapeseed Oil (Canola)240℃340℃
High Oleic Sunflower Oil232℃318℃
Lard190℃330℃
Palm Oil225℃325℃
Rapeseed Oil (Canola)220℃340℃
Soya Oil (Soybean Oil often labelled as Vegetable Oil or Cooking Oil)234℃330℃
Sunflower Oil226℃318℃

The smoke point of oil is the temperature at which it stops shimmering and starts smoking. The smoke point is also called the burning point of oil and can range from relatively low 168c to very high 271c.

As the name alludes, the smoking point is the temperature at which the fat or oil begins to smoke. Smoking is evidence of the fat’s breakdown due to heat and can create a very off-putting smell and flavour. To avoid that burnt taste and smell, any oil you choose should be able to handle the amount of heat required for the application. Deep-frying, for instance, requires an oil that can reach 190c before it begins to smoke (though higher is better).

The smoke point for cooking oils varies greatly. It depends on the components, origin, and level of refinement for that particular oil. The smoke point tends to increase as free fatty acid content decreases, and the level of refinement increases. Additionally, the act of heating oil produces more free fatty acid, which, in turn, lowers the smoke point.

This drives the science behind the cooking rule that you should not use the same oil to deep-fry (domestically) more than twice. However, with more robust oils, filtration and oil management, this can be significantly extended.


Aldehydes

Oils Fats

Although polyunsaturated fats do lower LDL cholesterol and total: HDL cholesterol, their double bonds make them more prone to oxidation than saturated fats, especially when heated during food preparation. 

Aldehydes produced from polyunsaturated fats can react with DNA, proteins, and lipids in the body, possibly interfering with their functions. Some studies suggest that omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, contained in many vegetable oils, increase inflammation and even promote diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. 

For some time now it has been known, that at frying temperature, oil releases aldehydes that pollute the frying environment and can be inhaled.

The toxic aldehydes are a result of the degradation of fatty acids in the oil. Although some are volatile, others remain after frying. That is why they can be found in cooked food. As they are very reactive compounds, they can react with proteins, hormones and enzymes in the organism and impede its correct functioning.

According to Prof. Martin Grootveld, Vegetable oils that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, like Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil or Soybean Oil are prone to oxidation. 

His research shows that “a typical meal of fish and chips”, fried in vegetable oils. Contained as much as 100 to 200 times more toxic aldehydes than the safe daily limit set by the World Health Organisation. 

On the other hand, frying in saturated fats like beef dripping produces considerably less aldehydes.

Spanish regulations that control the quality of heated fats and oils establish a maximum value of 25% for polar components (degradation products coming from frying). Nonetheless, according to the new study, before some of the oils analysed reach this limit, they already have a “significant concentration” of toxic aldehyde.

Aldehydes are essential to keep an eye on, however, if you choose and oil higher in Saturated Fat, filtration and oil management, aldehydes can be significantly reduced. 

I would recommend that you buy a Testo Digital Cooking Oil Tester if you want to have more knowledge of your frying medium.


Polymerisation

Oils Fats
Example of how the surface of stainless steel could look when polymerised.

Do you fry in liquid vegetable oil? Have you noticed that your frying range has a sticky yellow film over it? This is pretty normal and happens to oils that are fried with a high polyunsaturated fat level.

And to explain it scientifically. Polymerisation, any process in which relatively small molecules, called monomers, combine chemically to produce a network molecule, called a polymer.

This is usually more common at higher temperatures, for example when you are seasoning a wok or cast iron pan. However, if the oil is broken down, it can happen at lower temperatures as there is a higher amount of acrolein in the oil, which is a toxic aldehyde (see above).

The removal of the polymer would probably take some hard graft as it can be quite tacky. It would be best to try to keep on top of this cleaning daily with soapy water to reduce the formation.

I spoke to Dale Whittaker from Duct MS to get some more information on the cleaning process. 

“With the internal ducting, you can be more a lot more abrasive. 

On exposed kitchen equipment, the degreaser has to have a lot more contact time, We cannot use caustic chemicals as it will damage the surface. 

Oils Fats

The trickiest jobs we have are extractions in Chinese restaurants and takeaways. They cook on Chinese wet hobs, and the mixture of the polyunsaturated oils and the steam make a firm bond. These jobs can take easily 3x as long as a regular extract cleaning.”



Frying Medium Analysis

When researching oils and fats for this article, I have to keep in mind that many benefits they have will be massively reduced when used for frying.

Beef Dripping

Oils Fats

Saturated Fat 42%, Monounsaturated Fat 50%, Polyunsaturated Fat 4%, Trans Fat 4% (Naturally Occurring).

As a by-product of the meat industry, Beef Dripping producers support sustainability by rendering trimmed fat into a usable edible fat, promoting “nose-to-tail” eating. This process allows for all parts of the Animal to be used, creating much less waste, and lowering our carbon footprint.

Rendering is an environmentally friendly way to recycle all parts of the Animal that otherwise would be wasted.

Beef dripping is far more stable at high temperatures, which means less oil is absorbed into your food through frying and cooking applications.

There are a few different beef drippings you can choose from Deodorised, Partially Refined & Deodorised, Fully Refined & Deodorised, added antioxidant. And not to forget regional choices from Britain, Ireland and Germany.

Beef Dripping Pros & Cons

PositivesNegatives
Animal fats have a longer fry-life.Not vegetarian for those that want it.
Very sustainable.
Mostly Sourced from UK.
Fewer additives used in processing.
Nice depth of flavour.
Will give you a crispier product at a lower frying temperature.
Will last longer than oils higher in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Conclusion. If you don’t mind that beef dripping is not suitable for vegetarians, then it is probably nearly the perfect frying medium. It is local, sustainable and creates the crispiest fried food.


Corn Oil

Oils Fats

Saturated Fat 13%, Monounsaturated Fat 25%, Polyunsaturated Fat 62%.

Corn oil is a refined vegetable oil widely used in cooking and especially deep frying.

Corn must go through a complex refining process to produce corn oil, This process gives the oil many unique characteristics, though not all of them are positive.

Extraction. The corn is washed with a solution containing a chemical called hexane that causes it to release oil. Hexane has been shown to negatively impact the nervous system in humans and animals.

Deodorisation. Undesirable smells and tastes are removed from the oil, along with some healthy compounds. Before this step, the smell and taste of corn oil make it unsuitable for cooking.

Winterisation. Waxes and saturated (solid) fats are removed from the oil so that it stays liquid at low temperatures.

This process causes corn oil to be more likely to become oxidised — meaning that at a molecular level, it begins to lose electrons, becoming unstable. High levels of oxidised compounds in your body can increase your risk of certain diseases.

Most corn oil is made using genetically modified (GMO) corn. Most of this corn is modified to be resistant to insects and certain weed killers like glyphosate.

Many people are concerned about the effects of glyphosate buildup in the body from eating glyphosate-resistant GMO foods that have been treated with large quantities of the herbicide.

In 2015, glyphosate was classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2017 this was retracted by the World Health Organization.

Many people also speculate that GMO foods and glyphosate may contribute to the rapid increase in food allergy and intolerance rates.

Heating corn oil also produces the anti-nutrient acrylamide. This highly reactive compound has been linked to problems with nerve, hormone, and muscle function. 

Acrylamide has been classified as a potential carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. A concern is that it is hard to consume enough food with acrylamide in, but if it is building up in the oil, this could cause some severe health issues.

Corn Oil Pros & Cons

PositivesNegatives
Suitable for Vegetarians.Many additives used in processing.
Mild flavour profile.Becomes rancid easily.
Widely available.Most likely, all GMO.
Not very sustainable.
You would have to fry at higher temperatures to create a crisp product, but corn oil is not stable at high temperatures.
Not local to the UK.

Conclusion. It is best not to deep fry with corn oil, there are too many unknowns, and it probably is not very resilient for daily use.


Groundnut (Peanut) Oil

Oils Fats

Saturated Fat 18%, Monounsaturated Fat 48%, Polyunsaturated Fat 34%.

Groundnut oil is a popular oil used around the world.

There are several different types of peanut oil. Each one is made using different techniques, but we are going to focus on Refined peanut oil, commonly known as Groundnut Oil. This type is refined, bleached and deodorised, which removes the allergenic parts of the oil. It is typically safe for those with peanut allergies.

It is very high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. It is prone to oxidation, which may increase the risk of certain diseases.

It has a high smoke point of around 232℃ and hence why its popular for frying.

The main type of monounsaturated fat found in groundnut oil is called oleic acid, or omega-9. It also contains high amounts of linoleic acid, a kind of omega-6 fatty acid, and smaller amounts of palmitic acid, a saturated fat.

The high amount of omega-6 fats that groundnut oil contains may not be a good thing. These fats tend to cause inflammation and have been linked to various health problems.

The considerable amount of monounsaturated fat found in this oil makes it a go-to for frying and other methods of high-heat cooking. However, it does contain a good amount of polyunsaturated fat, which is less stable at high temperatures.

The high amount of polyunsaturated fats in peanut oil, along with its use as a high-heat oil, makes it more prone to oxidation.

Groundnut Oil Pros & Cons

PositivesNegatives
Suitable for Vegetarians.Like other vegetable oils hexane and solvents used in processing.
Medium stability.Becomes rancid easily.
Widely available.Most likely, all GMO.
Has a mild flavour with a sweet afternote.Not local to the UK.
You would have to fry at higher temperatures to create a crispier product, but not as high as other liquid vegetable oils.
Prone to polymerisation.
Although safe, it might scare off people with peanut allergies.

Conclusion. If you choose to fry in Groundnut Oil, it has medium stability so it would need a lot of filtering and regular topping up to keep fresh. Your frying range will need regular cleaning to reduce the effects of polymerisation.


Rapeseed Oil & High Oleic Rapeseed Oil

Oils Fats

Native: Saturated Fat 9%, Monounsaturated Fat 58%, Polyunsaturated Fat 33%.

High Oleic: Saturated Fat 7%, Monounsaturated Fat 70%, Polyunsaturated Fat 23%.

Before the 1970s oilseed rape was grown on a small scale in Britain. Rather like another oil and protein crop – soya – technical advancements and market demand lead to oilseed rape becoming a globally important crop. Oilseed rape is a member of the Brassica genus and has been grown for thousands of years as a seed oil crop. Originally its seed oil was used for such things as soap and later lamp oil. 

After the rapeseeds are heated and crushed to extract their oil, the product is refined by using hexane. The same process as most vegetable liquid oils.

Rapeseed needs to be deodorised because of the omega-3 fatty acids present in the raw product turn rancid. This is especially true during the first heating process when the oil is extracted. Sadly, the process of refinement transforms that original omega-3 into very unhealthy oxidised trans fats. Unrefined rapeseed oil retains the good qualities consumers want. But most rapeseed oil on the market is refined. And even more importantly, few people know the difference.

Rape is a high input, high output break crop. In recent decades it has become an essential crop for intensive arable farmers. As it can provide a good income and goes well in a rotation with wheat, which is often the most profitable cereal crop.

Despite this, oilseed rape is not particularly sustainable in the way it is often grown. As a way of maximising yields and profitability, farmers generally use high applications of nitrogen fertiliser, some of which is washed into rivers and groundwater by heavy rain. Rapeseed is also extremely vulnerable to a large number of pests and diseases, which are treated with a range of pesticides. In 2018 the application of neonicotinoids was forbidden on rapeseed and other flowering crops. Their use has been curtailed because of concerns over their impact on bees. There has been some new data that shows that the replacement sulfoxaflor is just as harmful to bees.

You may have seen High Oleic Rapeseed Oil, this has been specifically bred for repeated deep frying applications. This oil is high in oleic acid and low in linolenic acid, which makes the oil less susceptible to deterioration during deep frying. This is much stronger than native rapeseed oil, however, but wouldn’t be as strong as an oil with a high saturated fat content.

Rapeseed Pros & Cons

PositivesNegatives
Suitable for Vegetarians.Like other vegetable oils hexane and solvents used in processing.
Widely available.Becomes rancid easily.
A high smoke point which means it can be used to cook at high temperatures, but only for short periods.Flavour is very earthy and nutty.
The aroma is very clingy.
You would have to fry at higher temperatures to create a crispier product.
Prone to polymerisation.

Conclusion. Rapeseed oil is abundant in the UK, but there are a lot of unsavoury aspects of this oil. The flavour and smell can be a little overbearing for some people. If you choose to fry with rapeseed, we recommend you fry with High Oleic Rapeseed Oil which will be hardier than native rapeseed oil.


Sunflower Oil & High Oleic Sunflower Oil

Oils Fats

Native: Saturated Fat 13%, Monounsaturated Fat 36%, Polyunsaturated Fat 46%.

High Oleic: Saturated Fat 12%, Monounsaturated Fat 84%, Polyunsaturated Fat 4%.

Sunflowers were cultivated by Native Americans in North American about 5,000 years ago for their flour and oil. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Argentina, Turkey, France, Hungary, and Spain are the largest producers of sunflower oil today.

The cultivation of sunflower seed and processing of sunflower oil is of substantial economic benefits to these nations. Exports of sunflower oil in crude or processed forms are big earners for the countries. They also benefit from the by-product, sunflower meal, which they either export or use locally to make animal feed.

This refining process is typically called “RBD” in the bulk world. RBD stands for Refined, Bleached & Deodorised. These terms represent how the oil was processed after being produced. It means that the oil went through a refining process, which strips a lot of the natural colour and flavour from the oil.

The end result is a light-coloured, neutral flavoured, almost-clear oil.

High oleic sunflower oil is radically different in its composition. It consists primarily of monounsaturated oleic acids, at around 80 per cent of the total. Saturated fats and polyunsaturated linoleic acid make up the balance, in equal proportions.

High oleic sunflower oil is important in the manufacture of food products because it remains stable without hydrogenation and will not go rancid in storage.

The main possible side effect connected to sunflower oil is inflammation. Sunflower oil, in addition to corn and soy, contains omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation. You can eat it, but it’s not to overdo your intake.

Sunflower Oil Pros & Cons

PositivesNegatives
Suitable for Vegetarians.Not local.
Clean taste.Considered to be inflammatory.

Conclusion. It is fair to say that sunflower oil is very similar to other liquid vegetable oils on the market. It will pretty much have a solvent process to extract the oil from the seeds. However, If you’re going to cook with sunflower oil, stick to the High Oleic variety.


Palm Oil

Oils Fats

Saturated Fat 50%, Monounsaturated Fat 40%, Polyunsaturated Fat 10%.

It’s an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees, the scientific name is Elaeis guineensis. 

Two types of oil can be produced; crude palm oil comes from squeezing the fleshy fruit, and palm kernel oil which comes from crushing the kernel, or the stone in the middle of the fruit. 

Indonesia and Malaysia make up over 85% of global supply, 42 other countries also produce palm oil. Palm oil is in nearly everything – it’s in close to 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets. It’s used in animal feed and as biofuel in many parts of the world (not in the UK though!).

Palm oil has been and continues to be a significant driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests. Destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino. This forest loss coupled with conversion of carbon-rich peat soils is throwing out millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. There also remains some exploitation of workers and child labour. These are serious issues that the whole palm oil sector needs to step up to address because it doesn’t have to be this way.

Palm oil can be produced more sustainably, and things can improve. The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO was formed in 2004 in response to growing concerns about the impacts palm oil was having on the environment and on society. The RSPO has a production standard that sets best practices producing and sourcing palm oil, and it has the buy-in of most of the global industry. 

Oils Fats

Palm oil is an incredibly efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil crop. Globally, palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil demand on just 10% of the land. 

The land space needed to harvest the world’s palm oil requirement is roughly the size of Spain, The space required for the same amount of rapeseed oil would be the size of Canada. Spain is about 20 times smaller than Canada.

Palm oil is an essential crop for the GDP of emerging economies, and there are millions of smallholder farmers who depend on producing palm oil for their livelihood. Boycotting Palm oil is not always the answer, but demanding more action to tackle the issues and go further and faster, is.

In 2012 the UK Government recognised that it was part of the Palm oil problem and could also be part of the solution. They set a commitment for 100% of the palm oil used in the UK to be from sustainable sources that don’t harm nature or people.

The situation around Palm oil has been bad in the past, but it is fair to say it is getting better.

Palm Oil Pros & Cons

PositivesNegatives
Suitable for Vegetarians.Not local.
Widely available.Issues with sustainability and public image.
A high smoke point which means it can be used to cook at high temperaturesControversial.
Palm oil consists mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, making it An excellent choice for deep frying.
Neutral Flavour

Conclusion. Palm oil is probably the ‘perfect’ frying medium if you want to fry with oil suitable for vegetarians. You cannot avoid the issues that surround palm oil; however, it is a complicated issue as no oil gets close to the yields that palm oil does. If you choose to fry in Palm Oil, then make sure it is RSPO certified.


Vegetable Oil (Soya)

Oils Fats

Saturated Fat 15%, Monounsaturated Fat 24%, Polyunsaturated Fat 61%.

First of all, unlike oils such as extra virgin olive oil, soybean oil is not cold-pressed. In short; it is tough to squeeze oil out of seeds, and so the soybean oil production process uses solvents and heat to extract all the oil from the bean.

While some people think it is “heart-healthy,” others worry about its relatively poor stability at high temperatures. 

One study investigated the rates of oxidative deterioration for soybean oil, corn oil, and olive oil. After using the oils for frying at 180°C, soybean oil oxidised more (and faster) than the other two oils.

Another study showed that heating soybean oil at 185°C for two hours led to the formation of 4-hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal (HNE). HNE is an oxidation product that has mutagenic and cytotoxic properties.

Additionally, in a rat study, prolonged intake of re-heated soybean oil caused the rats to develop high blood pressure and vascular inflammation. Of course, rats are not humans, and we should try not to re-heat any oil. That said, it is the norm for fish & chips shops and fast-food restaurants to re-use oil for extended periods.

Soy oil is particularly high in an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid, a lousy fat that’s easily damaged by heat.

Historically, vegetable oil has typically been soybean oil. But these days, the term also may be used for a blend of different oils.

Vegetable oil made from soybeans is a neutral-tasting oil that does not have much flavour. Nevertheless, it’s a versatile, all-purpose cooking oil for sautéing and frying, or making salad dressings.

Soybean is one of the most subsidised crops in the world, this contributes to its low price and why it is such a popular ingredient. 

Soybean Oil Pros & Cons

PositivesNegatives
Suitable for Vegetarians.Like other vegetable oils hexane and solvents used in processing.
Widely available.Becomes rancid easily.
Has a neutral flavour.Most likely, all GMO.
Not local to the UK.
You would have to fry at higher temperatures to create a crispier product, but not as high as other liquid vegetable oils.
Prone to polymerisation.

Conclusion. Soybean is probably one of the biggest crops being consumed today, soybean oil is perhaps the second consumed oil in the world. In my view, maybe it is not the best oil to use repeatedly, it may be cheap, but there are many hidden costs you may not be able to put a figure on.


I know this wasn’t a short article. If I am honest, i didn’t want to remove any detail. In my view its good to know the good and bad about your oil choice.

This way, you can answer any questions that come your way, but if you know about its technical limitations, then you can work the oil to its best ability.