Is the calorie-free sweetener erythritol safe? The FDA did not evaluate long-term use, and new research suggests it may cause blood clots in people with high blood pressure and other risk factors.
The short answer is yes. Of course you can. Trouble is, the Canola and Soy oil industry are threatened by olive oil, and want us to ignore olive oil’s multi-thousand year track record of serving as a delicious and life giving food for the Romans, the Greeks, the Albanian–and the rest of the Mediterranean. So the edible oil barons had to get creative to convince consumers to mistrust culinary history and tradition as ample evidence of safety.
What did they come up with?
“The edible oil industry cooked up a scary sounding problem: smoke point.”
You’ve probably heard the term “smoke point” and probably correctly guessed what smoke point means. The smoke point is the point at which an oil literally ignites and burns, creating a visible wisp of blueish smoke. The RBD (Refined Bleached Deodorized) seed oil industry makes the claim their products are better to cook with because they have a “better” (higher) smoke point–meaning that their products have a better ability to tolerate higher temperatures without literally smoking.
“The smoke point of an oil is believed to be correlated with the safety and stability under heat, although technical evidence to support this is limited“Authors of the 2019 article “Evaluation of Chemical and Physical Changes in Different Commercial Oils during Heating”
We’ve probably all had our moments in the kitchen when we forgot something on the stove, and the whole pan started smoking–the food, the oil, who could tell?–but I don’t think anyone seriously expects that an oil be flame proof just to be able to cook with it
This article is continued below...(scroll down)
It helped. I feel great.
"It’s helped. I feel great."
NBA baskeball player
This has been life changing
"Let me tell you this has been life-changing. I have all of her books, in audible and ebooks! I have gotten rid of all the hateful 8 oils. I have trained my body to eat its own previously toxic body fat. Download that pod it's a game changer!"
Broadcaster / The Megyn Kelly Show
Deep Nutrition changed my life.
Fox News Primetime host
Saved my life
I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine. Prior to reading the book, it was almost impossible for me to lose weight as a diabetic.
I feel free
For the last month, I have really been reading all labels on everything. I have completely remove those 8 oils you talk about. I must tell you, I feel great! I have more energy and I am now 197 lbs (have always been around 205 to 210lbs). I eat potatoes with real butter, grass fed steak, pasta with the right toppings. I eat everything! I seem to crave less sugar. I love it!
I feel so much better
I had terrible aches and pains everywhere in my body, my hands, shoulders and knees. I feel so much better and the way I feel is motivating me every day! Thank you
Mike Deb Wootan Burcin
Better than ever
I am an anesthesiologist in Orlando and a huge fan of both of your books! I have been incorporating your principles for the last 10 months and feel that my health is better than ever.
Marnie Robinson, MD
My allergies disappeared
The biggest difference for me (and a surprising one) is that my allergies have almost completely disappeared! This is a big deal for me, because I’ve had allergies most of my life and they have often affected what I do which is a teaching music in [a public school district]. In general, I feel much better and have more consistent energy throughout the day.
Heart Palpitations have Stopped
I’ve lost 20+ pounds (also fasting 16-24 hours daily) and haven’t had palpitations except for one occasion — I had a mini bag of Fritos for the first time in July. And, I feel better now on a daily basis than I ever did all through college.
Deep Nutrition and Fatburn Fix reader
I’ve lost over 50 pounds
I’ve lost over 50 pounds. I’m 56 years old. Cutting processed food and unhealthy fats from my diet was one of the first things I did on my health recovery journey...I went cold turkey off the bad oils. Emptied my pantry into the trash and just started eating real food
Mitzi Wilkinson Champion
Knowledge I didn’t know I needed
Your Fatburn Fix book is amazing, my friend. Thank you! I’m an Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and I know my stuff. This is the extra layer of knowledge I didn’t know I needed. Well done!
Fatburn Fix reader
Lost a solid 20 lbs and my bloodwork is great
I have lost a solid 20 lbs and my bloodwork (after 3 months of eating your way) was even better! I was metabolically healthy (per your book) before I read your book, but barely. Lowering my weight, sealed the deal! I have been talking about you and your book to anyone who will listen...Thank you for all you’ve done and what you continue to do! You are changing lives for the better!
FatBurn Fix reader
Lost 20 lbs I could never shed
I love your Fatburn Fix! Has helped me so so much! I have had the dreaded weight all my life - 20 or so pounds I could never shed. I have lost that now. I only eat 2 meals a day lunch and dinner with a glass of milk or cappuccino around 4 to hold me over. No snacking and not bad oils. It has been the key to unlocking my fatburn. I work out in the am and believe I am burning fat for energy not from food!
I feel great
My waist is four inches smaller. I feel great and many of the minor aches and pains that I had (knees and lower back) are gone. Also, my muscle tone is amazing, even though I have not increased my workout routine.
Completed Dr Cate's online course
The go-to for strength and conditioning coaches
Whenever I advise my clients about eating to perform I go straight to what I have learned from Dr. Cate. Her book Deep Nutrition has become the go-to for strength and conditioning coaches across the country.
Major League Baseball Agent with WME Sports
Dismantles the lie
Dr. Cate dismantles the lie that seed oils are healthy, which may the biggest lie about nutrition and health because it’s so insidious.
Ken D Berry, MD
Author of Lies My Doctor Told Me
She knows the chemistry
Dr. Cate alerts us to the harms of seed oils and she’s convincing because she knows the chemistry better than anyone.
Dr. Drew Pinskey, MD
Globally recognized internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist, media personality, LoveLine Host, and New York Times bestselling author
No one is better at communicating nutritional truth
Dr. Cate has had the single greatest impact on how we talk to people about fueling for both performance or durability. While we all are a little unique, the foundational principles of human nutrition are immutable. If you are looking to create a more durable, resilient body, no one is better at communicating nutritional truth than Dr. Cate.
Dr. Kelly Starrett
Physiotherapist coach and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author
Highly recommend The Fatburn Fix
Dr. Shanahan has had a significant impact on my practice of medicine. I am known as a Low Carb Doctor, but I never really appreciated the negative effects of processed seed oils on the health of my patients. I highly recommend The Fatburn Fix to my patients and have a loaner copy in my waiting room. It is amazing how quickly blood sugars and overall health improves with cutting seed oils. It is not just about the carbs!
Dr. Brian Lenkzes, MD
CEO of LowCarbMD San Diego, co-host of Low Carb MD Podcast and host of Life's Best Medicine Podcast
Respected in the sports world
Dr. Cate reordered my diet when I was with the L.A. Lakers, and the benefits, for me personally, were felt immediately and have served me to this day. I’ve come to take real food so seriously I started a small family farm. I know of no M.D./nutritionist more respected in the sports world than Dr. Cate Shanahan.
Brought seed oil issue front and center
Cate brought the seed oil issue front and center. Healthy fats matter. So much so that I created an entire product line to swap out bad fats with good.
Founding Father of the Primal/Paleo Movement
Optimal health starts with food
If you want to understand how optimal health starts with food, start with Dr. Cate. Her book Deep Nutrition leaves you with an appreciation of the profound relationship between our genes and the planet, inspiring us to be good shepherds of both.
Attribution author of The Whole 30
Helped me with endurance
Deep Nutrition really helped me with endurance. I started to feel better as a player. I was able to run more, I was able to be more active …and I just decided to keep going with it to this day.
Silver bullet for me
Dr Cate’s teachings helped me lose 60 pounds like it was nothing. It was like a silver bullet for me.
Paul Grewal, MD
Dr Grewal Internal Medicine, MD, author of Genius Foods
Radically improve your health…
Dr. Shanahan has provided a solid reference that deserves a place in the library of anyone who is seriously interested in nutrition. Her perspective on the vital role that healthy fat has in our diet is novel and, if implemented, can radically improve your health.
Dr. Joseph Mercola
Author of Fat for Fuel and Founder of Mercola.com
Pull up a chair…
I have based my work on the idea that getting the right kinds of healthy fats into your body and avoiding the worst fats is essential to optimal health. I've interviewed dozens of the world's top experts about this, and I know of no one who speaks more eloquently on this topic than Dr Cate. If she’s talking fats, pull up a chair. Take notes.
Author of the Bulletproof Diet
The key to unlocking my fatburn
I love your Fatburn Fix! Has helped me so so much! I have had the dreaded weight all my life - 20 or so pounds I could never shed. I have lost that now. I only eat 2 meals a day lunch and dinner with a glass of milk or cappuccino around 4 to hold me over. No snacking and not bad oils. It has been the key to unlocking my fatburn.
Saved my life
I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine.
> Tears of joy
I'm crying tears of joy and appreciation for all you've done for me and my health! Without Deep Nutrition and Fatburn Fix, I would literally still be in the vicious cycle I'd been fighting all my life! In a nutshell - I am no longer a compulsive overeating addict suffering under the crushing 'thumb' of all food and alcohol.
Still, to a chef, or a household cook, smoke point may sound like a reasonable concern. To an organic chemist, however, the claim that smoke point is in any way relevant smells like a propaganda campaign.
Firstly, most food contain enough water that it will start to sizzle around 212 degrees F, the boiling point of water, which is well below the smoke point of any oil. That sound is a warning that it’s time to stir or flip or turn down the heat, and it’s a far better indicator than the smoke rising from the pan or fire alarms going off.
“Focusing on smoke point draws our attention away from what really matters about cooking oils: their ability to endure heat”
Smoke point is actually a very unhealthy idea for two reasons. First, it’s been so effectively used to sell cheap, less nutritious cooking fats that these flavorless factory foods (that meet every definition of junk food) have now largely replaced olive oil in restaurants, even in pizza joints and fine Italian eateries. Second, smoke point draws our attention from the real point of chemistry that impacts human health, and that has to do with it’s polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content. (#vegoilsucks)
The edible oil industry has so effectively drilled home this false idea that for an oil to be suitable for cooking it needs to have a high smoke point that it is now very tough to convince chefs otherwise. Unfortunately, even if an oil has a high smoke point, the PUFA fats in the oil, which are present in abundance in canola, corn, soy and other so called ‘vegetable oils’ are invisibly breaking down in a harmful way long before they start smoking.
Imagine what would happen to a glass hit by a mallet; it would explode into a thousand shards. That’s what happens to PUFA fats when they’re heated. Now imagine a sheet of metal hit by a mallet. The mallet bounces right off and the metal sheet is unchanged. That’s what happens to saturated fats when they’re heated. Butter, coconut oil and olive oil are high enough in saturated fat that they do not break down under normal stovetop cooking conditions.
It’s the PUFA content of the oil, not the smoke point, that most powerfully determines how well a given oil tolerates heat and therefore whether the food you cook in it will be healthy and delicious. Long before an oil smokes, it breaks down in a way that’s invisible to the eye and toxic to our cells. The higher an oils PUFA content, the faster it breaks down. This occurs because the double bonds in PUFAs are highly reactive with oxygen.
(Deep frying and especially repeated use deep frying is another animal that deserves its own article. While olive oil still does better than the high PUFA seed oils in deep fryers, no oils stands up for a week–which is how long many restaurants go without changing their oil. Ick.)
Whenever polyunsaturated oils are heated, and long before they start to smoke, they start to oxidize, meaning oxygen breaks individual molecules apart, into smaller molecules. The end product of the broken down PUFA fats are highly toxic, new compounds that don’t normally exist in nature in any significant quantity and that our bodies cells can’t handle.
We can see and understand smoke. But the concept of molecular deterioration is too abstract, and we can only measure it with sophisticated lab equipment. Until recently, nobody had actually run a comprehensive comparison of high smoke point, high PUFA oils to olive oil. And they found exactly what any serious student of organic chemistry could have predicted: That high PUFA Canola, grapeseed and rice bran produce a ton of break down products called polar compounds. See below, from “Evaluation of Chemical and Physical Changes in Different Commercial Oils during Heating”
What we see is how well the 10 different oils stand up to heat. As the temperature increases above 150 degrees C, there is a rapid rise in polar compounds. Polar compounds are bad for our health. So bad that when present above 25% an oil is considered unfit for human consumption. The highest concentration of polar compounds was found in Canola oil, at 27.5%, followed by grapeseed (19.3%) and rice bran (13.0%) oils.
You might think from looking at this one graph that this is the whole story of which oils are best. And if you’re a fan of sunflower oil, you might be mislead into thinking that sunflower oil performs better than one of the lower grades of olive oil. But polar compounds are only one category of PUFA break down products; there are many others and taken as a whole even the lower grades of olive oil outperform sunflower. If you’re interested, the full text with figures are available from ASNH (Acta Scientific Nutritional Health) https://actascientific.com/ASNH/pdf/ASNH-02-0083.pdf
Finally, I’ll give the last word to one of my favorite chefs. Debby Lee who caters out of her company MindBodyFork.com. She started her own health journey after reading my second book, Food Rules: A Doctor’s Guide to Healthy Eating and eliminated the seed oils forever after.
Debby was glad to say goodbye to the high-smoke-point concept because “As a chef taste is always the most important thing. In using the high smoke point RBD oils, there is a definite wax like aftertaste on the food. So now, when I fry foods, I always veer to natural animal fat or avocado oil if a client is vegetarian.”
To hear a fun and informative podcast on the topic of olive oil, from one of the worlds leading authorities on what it takes to give olive oil the best flavor, check out this interview from Ben Greenfield: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/nutrition-podcasts/extra-virgin-olive-oil/