Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Retrospective #291: Salad Dressing Oils: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

While reading the MyFitnessPal article for Retrospective #290, “My Healthy, Homemade Vinaigrette Salad Dressing,” I noted their list of salad dressing oils: “olive oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, nut oils and avocado oil.” Curiously, they did not mention either soybean oil or canola oil, the vegetable oils now most commonly used in the processed food industry’s bottled salad dressings. So, I have done a lipid analysis of the oils they did include, using USDA’s National Nutrient Database, and added soybean and canola oil. The table is arranged in descending order by polyunsaturated fats, the worst kind for your health. PUFAs are damaged in manufacturing and easily become oxidized and rancid.
Salad dressing oils (100g)
PUFA
Mono
SFA
n-6*
n-3*
n6/n3
Grapeseed oil
69.9
16.1
9.6
69.6
0.1
696.0
Walnut oil
63.3
22.8
9.1
52.9
10.4
5.1
Soybean oil
57.4
22.8
15.7
50.4
6.8
7.4
Corn oil
54.7
27.6
12.9
53.2
1.2
45.8
Sesame oil
41.7
39.7
14.2
41.3
0.3
137.7
Peanut oil
32.0
46.2
16.9
32.0
0.0
Canola oil
28.1
63.3
7.4
18.6
9.1
2.0
Avocado oil
13.5
70.6
11.6
12.5
1.0
12.5
Olive oil
10.5
73.0
13.8
9.8
0.8
12.3
* Omega 6s and Omega 3s are PUFAs, and in very small quantities are “essential” fatty acids.
If you are trying to reduce your consumption of Omega 6s to improve your Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio, or balance, you are no doubt aware that you should avoid foods fried in so-called “vegetable” (seed) oils, and store-bought baked goods made with these oils. For the same reason you should avoid virtually all popular brand bottled salad dressings. Take another look in the table at the PUFA content of the most popular seed oils used in commercial salad dressings.
To make your own salad dressing (see #290), which oil then should you use? Well, olive oil is the clear winner. It is both lowest (10.5%) in PUFAs (the “bad” fat) and highest (73%) in monounsaturated fat (the “good” fat). Avocado oil and Macadamia nut oil are also both very good but very expensive. Canola oil isn’t bad, but is contains almost 3 times as many PUFAs as olive oil. Besides, Canola oil is made from a genetically modified (GMO) dominated crop.
Peanut oil and sesame oil are up to four times as high in PUFAs as olive oil and have ugly n-6/n-3 ratios. (Peanuts are not nuts actually; they’re legumes.) And corn oil and soybean oil have five times as many PUFAs and only a third as much Mono as olive oil, so why would anyone (except a processed food manufacturer) ever think of using them?
Popular Brands of Store-Bought Salad Dressing and the oils they use:
Hidden Valley Ranch (The Clorox Company), all varieties*: soybean and/or canola oil
Kraft Salad Dressings (Kraft Food Group), all varieties*: soybean oil
Wish Bone (Unilever), all varieties*: soybean oil
Annie’s Naturals (General Mills), all varieties*: expeller expressed canola and/or sunflower oil
Brianna’s Homestyle (Del Sol Food Co.), Real French Vinaigrette: canola oil
Newman’s Own (Newman’s Own Foundation.), most varieties*: soybean and/or canola oil
Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette: soybean and/or canola oil, then EVOO
Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar: Olive oil blend (Olive Oil/EVOO), then soybean and/or canola oil
*  except “lite” and “fat free,” where corn syrup or HFCS (sugars) are substituted for seed oils (soybean and/or canola).
So, why doesn’t Kraft, et al., use olive oil in all their industrially processed, bottled salad dressings? Could it be that olives don’t grow in the U.S., and domestically grown soybean, corn and Canola are cheaper that olive oil. Canola oil is made from a cultivar of rapeseed (not grapeseed), and 87% of the canola grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
I am reminded of the quote from Wendell Berry: “People are fed by the FOOD industry, which pays no attention to HEALTH and are treated by the HEALTH industry, which pays no attention to FOOD.” Think about that.

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