3-MCPD in Refined Cooking Oils

3-MCPD in Refined Cooking Oils
4.48 (89.52%) 84 votes

There is another reason to avoid palm oil and question the authenticity of extra-virgin olive oil.

Discuss
Republish

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Palm oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in the world today. Pick up any package of processed junk in a box, bag, bottle, or jar, and the odds are it will have palm oil. Not only does it contain the primary cholesterol-raising saturated fat found mostly in meat and dairy, concerns have been raised about the safety of palm oil, given the finding that it may contain a potentially toxic chemical contaminant known as 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol, otherwise known as 3-MCPD, which is formed during the heat treatment involved in the refining of vegetable oils. So, these contaminants end up being widespread in refined vegetable oils and fats, and any products that contain them, including infant formulas.

It’s been found in all refined vegetable oils, but some are worse than others. The lowest levels of the toxic contaminants were found in canola oil, and the highest levels were found in palm oil. Based on the available data, this may result in a significant amount of human exposure, especially when used to deep-fry salty foods like French fries. In fact, just five fries could blow through the tolerable daily intake. Now, if you just do this once in a while, it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re eating fries every day or so, this could definitely be a health concern.

Because the daily upper limit is based on body weight, particularly high exposure values were calculated for infants who were on formula rather than breast milk, since formula is made from refined oils, which—according to the European Food Safety Authority—may present a health risk. Estimated U.S. infant exposures may be three to four times worse.

If infants don’t get breast milk, there is basically no alternative to industrially-produced infant formula. Given that fact, the vegetable oil industry needs to find a way to reduce the levels of these contaminants, and in the meanwhile, this is yet another reason that breast is always best.

What can adults do to avoid exposure? Well, if these chemicals are created in the refining process of oils, what about sticking to unrefined oils? Refined oils have up to 32 times the 3-MCPD compared to their unrefined counterparts, with the exception of toasted sesame oil. Sesame oil is unrefined (they just squeeze the seeds), but because they are squeezing toasted sesame, the 3-MCPD may have come pre-formed.

Virgin oils are by definition unrefined. They haven’t been deodorized, the process by which most of the 3-MCPD is formed. In fact, that’s how you can discriminate between the various processing grades of olive oil. If your so-called extra virgin olive oil contains MCPD, then it must have been diluted with some refined olive oil. The ease of adulterating extra virgin olive oil, the difficulty of detection, the economic drivers, and the lack of control measures contribute to the susceptibility of extra virgin olive oil to fraud. How widespread a problem is it?

Of the 88 bottles off store shelves tested that were labeled extra virgin olive oil, only 33 were found to be authentic. Okay, but what if you stick to the top-selling imported brands of extra virgin olive oil? In that case, 73 percent of those samples failed. Only about one in four appeared to be genuine, and not a single brand had even half their samples pass the test.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avo Media

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Palm oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in the world today. Pick up any package of processed junk in a box, bag, bottle, or jar, and the odds are it will have palm oil. Not only does it contain the primary cholesterol-raising saturated fat found mostly in meat and dairy, concerns have been raised about the safety of palm oil, given the finding that it may contain a potentially toxic chemical contaminant known as 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol, otherwise known as 3-MCPD, which is formed during the heat treatment involved in the refining of vegetable oils. So, these contaminants end up being widespread in refined vegetable oils and fats, and any products that contain them, including infant formulas.

It’s been found in all refined vegetable oils, but some are worse than others. The lowest levels of the toxic contaminants were found in canola oil, and the highest levels were found in palm oil. Based on the available data, this may result in a significant amount of human exposure, especially when used to deep-fry salty foods like French fries. In fact, just five fries could blow through the tolerable daily intake. Now, if you just do this once in a while, it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re eating fries every day or so, this could definitely be a health concern.

Because the daily upper limit is based on body weight, particularly high exposure values were calculated for infants who were on formula rather than breast milk, since formula is made from refined oils, which—according to the European Food Safety Authority—may present a health risk. Estimated U.S. infant exposures may be three to four times worse.

If infants don’t get breast milk, there is basically no alternative to industrially-produced infant formula. Given that fact, the vegetable oil industry needs to find a way to reduce the levels of these contaminants, and in the meanwhile, this is yet another reason that breast is always best.

What can adults do to avoid exposure? Well, if these chemicals are created in the refining process of oils, what about sticking to unrefined oils? Refined oils have up to 32 times the 3-MCPD compared to their unrefined counterparts, with the exception of toasted sesame oil. Sesame oil is unrefined (they just squeeze the seeds), but because they are squeezing toasted sesame, the 3-MCPD may have come pre-formed.

Virgin oils are by definition unrefined. They haven’t been deodorized, the process by which most of the 3-MCPD is formed. In fact, that’s how you can discriminate between the various processing grades of olive oil. If your so-called extra virgin olive oil contains MCPD, then it must have been diluted with some refined olive oil. The ease of adulterating extra virgin olive oil, the difficulty of detection, the economic drivers, and the lack of control measures contribute to the susceptibility of extra virgin olive oil to fraud. How widespread a problem is it?

Of the 88 bottles off store shelves tested that were labeled extra virgin olive oil, only 33 were found to be authentic. Okay, but what if you stick to the top-selling imported brands of extra virgin olive oil? In that case, 73 percent of those samples failed. Only about one in four appeared to be genuine, and not a single brand had even half their samples pass the test.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avo Media

Doctor's Note

If you missed the previous video where I introduce 3-MCPD, see The Side Effects of 3-MCPD in Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.

There is no substitute for human breast milk. We understand this may not be possible for adoptive families or those who use surrogates, though. In those cases, look for a nearby milk bank.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This