This is a wide category that includes a host of different products: canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and even some olive oils. Vegetable oils aren't a meal unto themselves, but they pop up with shocking frequency in restaurant cooking as well as preprocessed foods. What's the big deal? Vegetable oils are all liquid when they're at room temperature; that's a sign that their primary components are polyunsaturated fats. When those fats break down, the consequences can be, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, quite dire; polyunsaturated fats are linked to everything from atherosclerosis and inflammation to cancer.
The fats in these oils can start breaking down at many points: during manufacturing, storage, and especially cooking. That's why olive oil makes the list, actually, it's a popular cooking oil. The fact that olive oil contains lots of monounsaturated fats lends it heat stability, but it doesn't make it healthy for cooking. Oils derived from sources like coconuts and the red palm are primarily saturated fats and, therefore, healthier for cooking. Because they hold up well under heat, you should welcome them into your kitchen.
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