What’s The Truth About Cottonseed Oil?

www.mypicshares.com

Cottonseed oil: a seemingly harmless substance that you may be eating every day of your life. It is found in a variety of processed foods. It is so cheap, in fact that it costs producers next to nothing to manufacture. Why? Because cottonseed oil is nothing more than a by-product of industrial waste produced during cottonseed processing.

The dirty past of this and other industrially-produced oils like canola, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils is not so well-known. But once you understand about how it is developed and manufactured, you might think twice about ever eating it again.

Cottonseed oil is also genetically-modified because it comes from cotton, the majority of which is grown from GMO seeds. So it is not only in the processed foods you are eating such as cookies, crackers, salad dressings, desserts, and other foods, but also in cotton swabs, clothing, personal care products, and more.

The History of Cottonseed Oil

Source, Mother Linda’s
One of the world’s most well-known products, Crisco, is a product pioneered by Procter & Gamble, a company owned by William Procter – a candle-maker, and his brother-in-law James Gamble, a soap-maker.  The meat packing monopoly began regulating the pricing of lard and tallow, which had formerly been the primary ingredient used in the manufacturing of candles and soap. Another factor affecting candle sales was the growing use of electricity. Both events were responsible for a decline in candle and soap-making and the market for these products experienced a downturn.

P & G sought other ways to make revenue and, and by 1905, the company had ownership of eight cottonseed mills in Mississippi.  A German scientist named E.C. Kayser developed a way to transform the liquid oil into a solid via a process called hydrogenation – this use of this method introduces hydrogen atoms into fatty chain acids, thereby altering the molecular structure of the oil. It was apparent how much the final product looked like lard, and that the result allowed a longer shelf life. Because hydrogenation decreased the need for refrigeration and extended the product’s store-ability – Crisco was born.

With clever marketing, P&G delivered their new product to households everywhere by convincing the consumer that this innovative substance was not only cheaper but healthier: “A healthier alternative to cooking with animal fats. . . and more economical than butter.” This statement effectively positioned them to stay afloat alongside their competitors – the lard and tallow industry.

The first ad for Crisco, duplicated in magazines and other publications throughout the land in 1912 emphasized the advantages of this new substance over lard – you could fry fish in it and it would not absorb the odor or taste, and then fry potatoes in the same pan. It could also be heated at much higher temperatures than lard and without burning or giving off smoke. Convincing ad campaigns successfully caused consumers to buy “and realize why its discovery will affect every family in America.” They were right.

Then P&G released a cookbook which they gave away, full of recipes everyone was familiar with – all except for the fact that instead of real fats, they included the new product – Crisco. The world was introduced to hundreds of meal preparations including this fantastic, healthy, economical, odor-free substance that would forever alter the world in many ways. Wives and mothers of that generation believed the persuasive marketing tactics of this influential company – that Crisco it was more convenient, easier to digest, cleaner, and a good modern alternative to archaic lard. After all, times were hard and the first world war and Great Depression were looming on the horizon.

Soon health issues like heart disease, infertility, learning disorders, a rise in cancer, and growth issues became much more prevalent. A large effort was made on the part of P&G to dispell any rumors of their product being linked to these occurrences. A scientist named Dr. Fred Mattson who was employed by P&G then unveiled to the public the government’s inconclusive Lipid Research Clinical Trials in an effort to blame heart disease on the consumption of animal fats.

Here are some products you will find that contain cottonseed oil:

  • peanut butter
  • boxed cereals
  • crackers
  • cookies (Update! read the latest post on Dr. Susan Rubin’s web site about Girl Scout Cookies!)
  • packaged breads
  • salad oils
  • mayonnaise
  • dressings
  • marinades
  • margarine
  • other fake fats like shortening and artificial “butter” products

On an annual basis, the U.S. over one billion pounds of cottonseed oil. Exports amount to as much as one-fourth of that amount. It is used in everything from processed foods to personal care products (shampoos, soaps, makeup), and feed for livestock. It is commonly used for deep-frying many popular foods in restaurants and other processed foods to be packaged and sold for sale in grocery stores.

The National Cottonseed Products Association does not mention any human health or allergy hazards on their web site nor on the products they sell – only “benefits” are listed. One of their most famous claims is the “zero-trans fat” content of their product. Cottonseed oil is mentioned as containing natural tocopherols (Vitamin E) and anti-oxidants found in cottonseed oil – yet don’t mention the fact that this delicate nutrient is denatured during the hydrogenation of processing cottonseed oils (how most cottonseed oil is produced).

The National Cottonseed Products Association proudly proclaims that cottonseed oil is “refined and deodorized”, therefore making it one of the “purest food products available”. Another claim is made that cottonseed oil will not deteriorate rapidly nor degrade in quality quickly – that it has an unusually long shelf life. The truth is, the processing of oils like cottonseed and other industrially-produced oils causes the substance to become unstable, rancid, and are essentially trans-fats due to the nature of their processing. But you won’t hear the industries producing these products admitting these facts to the public.

What are the health hazards of cottonseed oil and other trans fats?

Mainstream medical experts and sources are fond of blaming dietary fats for many of our health ills and diseases like obesity and heart disease. But the main problem is that in general, medical science lumps all fats together as being equal, when they are not.

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, trans fats are more harmful than naturally occurring oils. The National Academy of Sciences has issued a statement that there are no safe consumption levels of hydrogenated and trans fats.

Hydrogenated oils contribute to hardening of the arteries and cardiovascular problems, while healthy fats actually aid heart health, brain development, and maintain proper weight and cholesterol levels.

Dr. John Lee, M.D., well-known researcher and pioneer in medicine states, “Trans fatty acids enter our metabolic processes but are defective for our bodily uses. Our cell membranes, our hormone synthesis, our immune system, our ability to deal with inflammation and to heal, and many, many, other vital systems all become defective when trans fatty acids substitute for the health-giving cis fatty acids. Unknowingly we are poisoning ourselves.”

According to Wikipedia:

“In most naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acids, the hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bonds of the carbon chain (cis configuration — meaning “on the same side” in Latin). However, partial hydrogenation reconfigures most of the double bonds that do not become chemically saturated, twisting them so that the hydrogen atoms end up on different sides of the chain. This type of configuration is called trans, which means “across” in Latin.[26] The trans conformation is the lower energy form, and is favored when catalytically equilibriated as a side reaction in hydrogenation.

The same molecule, containing the same number of atoms, with a double bond in the same location, can be either a trans or a cis fatty acid depending on the conformation of the double bond. For example, oleic acid and elaidic acid are both unsaturated fatty acids with the chemical formula C9H17C9H17O2.[27] They both have a double bond located midway along the carbon chain. It is the conformation of this bond that sets them apart. The conformation has implications for the physical-chemical properties of the molecule. The trans configuration is straighter, while the cis configuration is noticeably kinked as can be seen from the following three-dimensional representation.

The trans fatty acid elaidic acid has different chemical and physical properties owing to the slightly different bond configuration. Notably, it has a much higher melting point, 45 °C rather than oleic acid’s 13.4 °C, due to the ability of the trans molecules to pack more tightly, forming a solid that is more difficult to break apart.[27] This notably means that it is a solid at human body temperatures.”

Cottonseed oil is also absolutely loaded with pesticides and other harmful chemicals, as used by the cottonseed industry to ensure the mass production of  crops to keep up with demand. Also, the cottonseed plant composition is high in Omega 6 content – one of the reasons people in the developed world have such high numbers in obesity, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases like cancer. See Dr. Susan Rubin’s post about this subject, as it it has some valuable information in it.

So why then, are these products so ubiquitously found on the food markets? After reviewing the history of the development of these types of products, the answer should be clear – it’s all hinged upon money-making and the success of corporations seeking to use cheap, industrial by-products as a means for generating profit.

What are better alternatives to cottonseed and other industrial oils?

For cooking or frying:

  • Tallow (beef fat)
  • Lard (pork fat)
  • Coconut oil (use refined for high heat cooking or frying)
  • Palm oil
  • Butter
  • Ghee

All of these should be from clean, sustainable (non-GMO) sources. These are healthy fats because they are saturated fats which are loaded with nutrients such as A, D, E, and K2. They also have a high smoke point. For very low heat sautee, on salads, dressings, condiments, and other similar types of foods, use olive oil. These fats are healthy to consume because they are from natural sources that have not been altered. It’s important to know what source your fats are coming from to ensure they are produced sustainably and in harmony with nature.

One reason animal fats have received a bad name is that most of our animal fats come from feedlot and factory farm sources – where animals are fed improperly (corn, soy, grains – and all from genetically-modified origins), and are pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and housed in small quarters away from pasture and sunlight.

Contrary to popular belief, saturated fats from plant and animal sources are healthy and essential for all elements of health. For more information on fats and health, read The Importance of Dietary Fats.

For more information about real, healthy meat and fats from sustainable sources and why feedlot meats and fats are dangerous to consume, read Whole And Healthy Meat….Does It Really Exist?

What has been your lifetime experience eating fats? Did you grow up believing industrial fats were healthy to eat? Or did you eat traditional fats growing up? Do you have a story of improved health after eating industrial fats and then returning to traditional fats you’d like to share?

51 Comments

  • February 25, 2010 - 9:39 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for this article. Your timing is excellent. :-) My latest round of label reading involved smoked oysters, almost all of which (in our area) are packaged in cottonseed oil. I figured this was probably a bad thing, but hadn’t had time to do research yet. Thankfully, I did finally find some that were packed in olive oil.

    We used Crisco when I was growing up. It was cheap and available. Mom never gave up using butter for most baking, though. She did use liquid vegetable oils because they were supposed to be “healthy”.

    I haven’t bought “vegetable” oil in years, but I do use some canola oil. I am a butter lover, but also use olive oil and sesame oil. Just recently I’ve tracked down local sources for grassfed beef tallow, non-hydrogenated lard and pastured poultry fat, so these have been added to our pantry, along with coconut oil. My experience with coconut oil is on Melissa’s blog as the “Coconutty Professor”.

  • February 25, 2010 - 10:17 AM | Permalink

    Hi Laurie -

    Wow, how great is that to find local sources of grass-fed tallow, lard, and poultry fat that are from pastured animals/birds? Fantastic! I am going to keep my eyes open for those items here in our area…I haven’t heard about any places to get them, but we do have some great farms that have grass-fed meats and pasture-raised poultry, so maybe it’s just that you have to come out and ask about it. Many farmers, I have heard from one person, won’t just offer it unless you inquire.

    I recently bought a can of smoked oysters, and I could have sworn that I carefully checked the ingredients to make sure there were no bad oils – doh! I am glad I just checked because it says “soya oil” on the label. I really truly thought I had oysters in olive oil. I’ll have to return them (they are unopened) and see if the health food store carries another brand with olive oil or maybe water (don’t know if they come that way or not). So, thanks for bringing that up!

    I love Melissa’s web site, it’s got so much great information, and Melissa is a really great person too! :)

    Thanks Laurie!

  • Ria
    September 7, 2010 - 1:15 PM | Permalink

    I’ve always stayed away from animal fats because I thought they were unhealthy. I’ve also learned to stay away from hydrogenated oils like those common in peanut butter. Basically, if the oils in the peanut butter don’t separate, then it will definitely clog your arteries.
    I’m really glad I saw this. I’ll really have to check the labels more closely.

  • September 7, 2010 - 1:21 PM | Permalink

    Ria – thanks for your visit and comments. Give healthy animal products and fats a try, and see if you don’t feel a difference. Most of what mainstream medical and health rhetoric refers to when they say meat and animal products are unhealthy are indeed the factory farmed variety, which represent the bulk of what’s available on the market. Healthy meat and meat products from animals on pasture is a completely different thing, and the health benefits are numerous.

    Peanut butter has other problems besides the fact that sometimes the oils are combined with hydrogenated elements – that peanuts are a nut containing a fungus called an aflatoxin. That’s one reason why you see so many peanut allergies in humans – peanuts are ubiquitous, processed and refined (which is unnatural), roasted (which destroys delicate fats in the nuts), and put into many other products, and the fungus causes issues in the body and digestive tract.

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  • Helen
    August 1, 2011 - 4:30 PM | Permalink

    Its kind of funny that you are saying how bad Cottonseed Oil is from hydrogenated
    Cottonseed oil. Cottonseed oil itself does not contain and trans fat at all UNLESS HYDROGENATED, therefore it is okay that they claim that it only have “zero-trans fat” content of their product as the oil itself is not hydrogenated at all. Therefore, you should be against hydrogenation instead of cottonseed oil.

    • August 1, 2011 - 5:38 PM | Permalink

      Helen – it’s kind of funny that you didn’t read the post. In the post I explained how cottonseed oil IS hydrogenated by the very method that is produced (see where it talks about the history of the production of cottonseed oil where it was invented by Proctor & Gamble. Cottonseed oil, like many other plant-based and vegetable oils, is subjected to high heat temps, deodorization, and other processes that cause it to be a trans-fat at the end product. So yes, I’m against cottonseed oil AND hydrogenation, actually.

  • Miles
    September 8, 2011 - 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Besides Wikipedia (notoriously unreliable) and some unkown sources i don’t see how this proves your point that cottonseed oil (non-hydrogenated) and/or peanut butter (in your Post reply) is bad for human consumption. Elaborate on specificities.

  • Miles
    September 8, 2011 - 2:01 PM | Permalink

    I meant, for instance, what pesticides have been tested and (under the MSDS) are proven unhealthy or toxic to what parts of the body (liver, heart, intestines etc..). I have personally found several instances where folks following a regimen of so-called healthy food or drink from “organic” or non-manufactured entities end up with chronic diseases or cancer or the like. There is just not enough proof! Exercise is the only thing that i have seen that makes a difference in people’s health. With moderation and enough of the right type of physical activity, a person can live to be very old with very few health problems. I have a long history of family members and friends that can and do live by this creed.

    • March 5, 2012 - 11:20 AM | Permalink

      Miles – there have been plenty of studies done which show pesticides to be toxic to the human body:

      http://ohioline.osu.edu/b745/b745_4.html

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44260583/ns/health-childrens_health/t/pesticides-food-linked-adhd-kids/

      There are thousands and thousands of studies, articles, and many bodies of research done on this subject. I could post more, but these two links alone prove my point.

      There are also studies showing the importance of organic and sustainable foods as well, and in particular, this one which is ongoing:

      http://wakeup-world.com/2012/02/26/30-year-study-organic-farming-outperforms-conventional-chemical-farming/

      I’m having a difficult time understanding how anyone could even defend these toxic chemicals. Pesticides are intended to destroy the nervous systems of insects, and they have devastating effects on humans as well.

      It’s true, we are all going to die someday of something. Why not be as healthy as possible while you are alive by eating and living well. But when you say that you know people who followed organic diets still developed disease, that is really vague. That doesn’t tell me exactly what these people consumed or how they lived their lives. Many people say they are living naturally and eating well, and then a quick trip to their pantry or kitchen cupboard and bathroom medicine cabinet will show you otherwise. I’ve heard those stories from people too, and what I later learned was that they were in fact not doing that at all. It’s very important to be very specific and determine what kinds of habits people keep and the food they are eating, in addition to chemicals and exposure they have in their daily regimen.

      Also, like anything else, lifestyle habits used together are important. Exercise alone won’t make anyone healthier if their diets are full of processed foods and poor lifestyle habits.

      If you are waiting for science to prove what people have done and known for thousands of years to maintain health – which is eat well, get sunshine, activity, and now in the modern age – avoid stress to our emotional and physical bodies by eliminating chemicals and processed foods from our diets/bodies, you’ll die of malnutrition. Science doesn’t want to prove that time-honored practices have worked or healed people. It just wants to continue forwarding the notion that with chemicals and toxins, we can be healthier. All in the name, of course, of lining the pockets of big corporations and industries like Big Agriculture and the drug companies.

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  • Laura June Doyal
    February 25, 2012 - 7:02 PM | Permalink

    Whenever I inadvertently eat anything with COTTONSEED oil in it, my right arm starts itching(beef, most peanut butter, breads, cookies, semolina(some say source of allergens). I want to blow my brains out when my arm stings and itches. The itching lasts 12-24 hrs and I suffer tremendously. I claw my arm until it bleeds and that helps. Laura

  • Laura
    February 25, 2012 - 7:08 PM | Permalink

    I met a lady recently from the Fredericksburg, Tx. area that feeds her boar goats cottonseed oil. That should be criminal. She exports most of the meat to Israel because it is so lean and they pay alot for lean goat meat. I bet they are getting severe allergies, etc.

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  • julie
    April 14, 2012 - 7:24 AM | Permalink

    Hi. I bought a bag of chips which contained cotton seed oil. Everyone loves it because it tastes so good which made me research about its benefits to health. I’m glad I did because I’m all for good health. I will be staying away from cotton seed oil and everything that contains it. Thanks for the informative article.

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  • Mike
    October 22, 2012 - 8:17 AM | Permalink

    And yet, people cannot figure out why cancer is on the rise. Billions of dollars have been donated and are being used to “find a cure for cancer”, and as it turns out the cancer is being fed right to us. I wonder if its only in America that you can take a totally inedible product like cotter, spray the crap out of it with chemicals and pesticides, squeeze a waste product out of it and then spend a whole bunch of money convincing everyone that’s safe to eat. The FDA is asleep at the wheel, or maybe just not looking.

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  • Barb
    November 9, 2012 - 6:40 PM | Permalink

    Headaches anybody? If you have any old injuries or arthritic conditions, beware the cottonseed oil. It seems to go straight to the sensitive tissues and lock them up, tightening muscles, joints, and nerve pathways and ultimately creating fantastic migraines! Same can be said for artificial anything… flavours, colours, preservatives, especially msg and nitrates. Don’t overlook the packaging preservatives, bht etc. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Stick to whole foods, stay away from prepared Anything, and you will feel much better and lose weight. Bah humbug to corporate America, Monsanto, et al. Did’ja know that even the tobacco leaf has pretty decent levels of protein, it’s just not Digestible protein. Apparently cottonseed oil is not digestible either!

  • November 27, 2012 - 6:44 AM | Permalink

    What a great article, thank you!

  • danielle
    January 7, 2013 - 11:05 AM | Permalink

    People watch too much television and all the commercials for food create a feeling of trust and comfort, when in reality, you can’t trust corporations to care about your health when their priority is creating cheap, good tasting food, and charging as much as you are willing to pay for it. Food conglomerates will continue feeding people crap as long as people keep eating it….so it is the individual who is ultimately responsible for choosing common sense over snake oil. Sugar coated toxins are a by product of our consumer society. We trust too much.

  • sara
    January 10, 2013 - 11:44 AM | Permalink

    This article is full of lies. Cottonseed oil is both heart-healthy and a fantastic performer in the kitchen. It has ZERO transfat and ZERO cholesterol and is rich in antioxidants. It has a very high smoke/flash point which makes it a far superior oil for frying, sauteing, stir frying and searing. It is flavor-neutral and will not pick up the flavors of the things cooked in it. That is also why it makes a fantastic flavor-infused oil (see http://www.acala-farms.com). Great product.
    Cotton has been grown and regulated as a food crop in the U.S. for more than 100 years and actually is grown with fewer pesticides than corn and soybeans and many other common food products.
    GET YOUR FACTS straight before pummeling an industry that is so ripe with goodness.
    Cottonseed oil is a fantastic product.

    • January 12, 2013 - 11:53 AM | Permalink

      The facts about an artificially produced substance masquerading as a whole food, engineered in a lab, and marketed as a health food stand on its own. Cottonseed oil is not a traditionally consumed, healthy oil that the body can recognize, period. The work of Dr. Weston A. Price from the 1930s shows that all populations that consumed real, traditional animal fats were observed to have robust health without signs of disease, while those populations that had introduced white sugar, white flour, and vegetable oils (of which cottonseed oil belongs, and was the first such developed product on the market) showed marked signs of chronic disease. Cottonseed oil, like soy and corn, is also one of the most pervasive GM (genetically modified) products on the market. GM products are associated with damage to human health and the environment. Monsanto, who produces these products, brought us DDT and Agent Orange (toxic pesticides) and told us they were safe. And we all know how that statement turned out. How can I possibly trust a chemical company to bring me good nutrition? A heart-healthy product will not clog up the arteries of those consuming it, and that’s what vegetable oils do since our bodies cannot recognize these engineered substances. Vegetable oils go through an industrial process to be created, where they are pressed and subjected to high heat, and hydrogen molecules are introduced into them to make them from a solid to a liquid. From Wikipedia: “The hydrogenation process involves “sparging” the oil at high temperature and pressure with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst, typically a powdered nickel compound. As each carbon-carbon double-bond is chemically reduced to a single bond, two hydrogen atoms each form single bonds with the two carbon atoms. The elimination of double bonds by adding hydrogen atoms is called saturation; as the degree of saturation increases, the oil progresses toward being fully hydrogenated. An oil may be hydrogenated to increase resistance to rancidity (oxidation) or to change its physical characteristics. As the degree of saturation increases, the oil’s viscosity and melting point increase.”

      Since the early 1900s, animal fat and especially butter consumption has decreased, but industrial vegetable oil consumption has increased. And yet our culture has more disease and chronic illness than ever. Why is that?

      I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put anything that’s gone through a process like this into my body. Do you work for the cottonseed industry? I’m almost inclined to believe your motives for defending such a product tie you to the industry itself. I could be wrong, but your fervent defense of a highly marketed and toxic product leads me to be suspect.

      • Sara
        January 6, 2014 - 8:22 PM | Permalink

        I do not work for the cotton industry, but I do my research on the products that I purchase and use in my cooking. I can hardly believe that you think that our culture has more disease and chronic illness than ever because consumption of vegetable oil has increased. I’m pretty sure there are far more serious causes for cancer and other diseases than consumption of vegetable oils including cottonseed oil.
        The products that I have used are not unstable, do not grow rancid (though they are so good that they get used quickly) like olive and other oils and are fantastic culinary performers.
        As to your issue about GM and cottonseed oil, again, I believe your science and research to be incorrect. It is true that much of the cotton grown in the US is from genetically modified seed, but genetic modification affects the proteins in the plant. Cottonseed oil contains no protein and therefore cannot carry any of the influences (be they good or bad) of genetic modification.
        I would strongly encourage you to stop this bashing of cottonseed oil. Your facts are incorrect, you make a great product sound like poison and you look a fool. Please back off.

    • Violet Stailey
      February 10, 2014 - 9:31 AM | Permalink

      I am glad to finally see a sensible comment here. What a bunch of quacks and gullible persons who follow them. Of course cottonseed is food,, of course the FDA approves it as a food..The natural insecticide in the seed is remove by refining and the oil is only sold as such.
      If the public is so health conscious as they profess why are allergies and illnesses becoming more prevalent? These same people get drunk constantly and spread sexual diseases like never before. They can’t speak without using the f word.
      I am fed up with all these sickies.

  • terry
    January 22, 2013 - 10:22 AM | Permalink

    but what about the cotton seed oil in my heart healthy nut mix??

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  • R D McDowell
    January 30, 2013 - 5:24 PM | Permalink

    I’m glad I googled cotton seed oil. I have been buying “wok oil”, ie cotton seed oil with garlic, ginger,onion & cilantro. I’ll make my own from now on TBD oil.

  • March 28, 2013 - 8:14 PM | Permalink

    Wow it’s amazing how blind some people can be. Great article. Thanks for the intense references. Who can argue with that. If its not natural, I don’t want it. I need to move to a Caribbean Island where the land, sea and air is pure :)

  • DJ
    July 29, 2013 - 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Cottonseed oil causes infertility in men. Look up “gossypol” for population control and infertility. How clever to put cottonseed oil in so much food and have the population “stabilized.” Those who say cottonseed oil is safe, okay, etc., are either paid shills for pseudo-science Rockefeller types (who want global depopulation), or are just plain ignorant. Cottonseed oil causes male infertility among other BAD side effects. GET THE FACTS!

    • Sara
      January 6, 2014 - 8:23 PM | Permalink

      What a bunch of nonsense. There is no scientific research to back this in any way.

    • Ben
      January 7, 2014 - 4:52 AM | Permalink

      Dear “Get the Facts” DJ – The gossypol “study” so many reference was based on consuming an extraordinary amount of crude cottonseed oil. So – 1) crude cottonseed oil is not used or sold for human consumption, 2) modern processing techniques remove impurities in vegetable oils to make them among the purest foods available today (Center for Science in Public Interest), 3) the amount of oil consumed by the subjects in the “study” would take most many months under normal circumstances.

    • Violet Stailey
      February 10, 2014 - 9:51 AM | Permalink

      You are the one who needs to “get the facts” Cottonseed oil is not sold until the gossypol is removed.

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  • Mike
    September 15, 2013 - 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the information. I have been avoiding cottonseed oil for the simple reason that a defoliant chemical is sprayed on cotton before it is harvested to keep the leaves out of the harvested cotton fibers. I first noticed it in the smoked oysters, but when I started reading labels more carefully, I noticed it was showing up in more and more products.

  • Marina
    September 16, 2013 - 11:46 PM | Permalink

    Way back when cottonseed was starting to show up in different foods, I used to get stomach pains when I would eat certain things. I started reading labels and noticed the foods that gave me pain and nausea had cottonseed oil. There wasn’t much research about cottonseed oil to be found, but there was information about how cotton is sprayed to protect it from bugs. It made sense that I could not tolerate it. I asked my doctor about it, but he had no clue about cottonseed oil. I really wish it would not be used. If I eat something without looking at the label and get pain, sure enough when I look at the label, cottonseed oil “may or may not be contained.” I need to read everything before I eat anything.

  • sarah
    October 8, 2013 - 8:40 AM | Permalink

    This information is not only dated, but incredibly inaccurate, entirely biased and basically libelous. Do your research before trashing a product that is heart-healty, contains zero trans-fat, zero cholesterol and is rich in antioxidants. Further, it comes closest to meeting the American Heart Association’s recommended fat profile of 1/3-1/3-1/3 monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats of any oil available.
    While it is true that cotton grown in America is mostly from GMO seed, oils (of any kind) do not contain DNA and therefore carry no genetic code, modified or otherwise. Cottonseed oil is, therefore, non-GMO.
    Wake up and do your homework please. It’s ok to be a warrior for human health, but not at the expense of wonderful products and ingredients.

    Have you seen the Acala Farms brand of flavor-infused cooking oils? They’re amazing. visit http://www.acala-farms.com for information and the real facts about cottonseed oil.

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  • Ben
    October 21, 2013 - 2:12 PM | Permalink

    Full disclosure – I have worked for the cottonseed oil processing industry for 30 years – so I would recommend Raine and others do a bit more digging before touting their “facts” as true. And a Wikipedia search doesn’t count.

    First – ALL plant-based oils – soy, cotton, olive, corn, peanut, etc. – are generically referred to as “vegetable oils” in the industry. Remember the animal-vegetable-mineral question?

    Second – as frequent as the accusations are – there has never been a finding of pesticides or other harmful chemicals found in cottonseed oil – or any other commercially produced vegetable oil – in the US.

    It is true that pesticides are used when growing cotton, but the cottonseed inside the cotton boll is shielded from these products at the time of application. According to Pesticide Residues in Food – 1992, published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “shielding from spray is believed to be the cause of the lack of appreciable residues in cottonseed and cottonseed oil.” (p. 374).

    Third – cottonseed oil is NOT hydrogenated during normal processing. It is a liquid oil lust like oilve oil. corn oil, etc. Hydrogenation is performed further upstream by processors that may or may not need that type of performance from an oil.

    Cottonseed oil is America’s original vegetable oil, being used in the US for well over 100 years.

    For a true look at fats & oils, I would recommend the book “Bailey’s Industrial Oil and Fat Products, 6 Volume Set, 6th Edition.” First published in 1945, Bailey’s has become the standard reference on the food chemistry and processing technology related to edible oils and the nonedible byproducts derived from oils.

    • Sara
      January 6, 2014 - 8:29 PM | Permalink

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I’m happy to know that the cottonseed industry has vetted its products and knows them to be safe.
      I love the cottonseed oils that I use and will continue to do so. Further, not all cottonseed oils are processed in the same way. There are now cold-pressed cottonseed oils available that are even better than the others and strains of cotton that are gossypol-free.
      Really … people should do a little homework before bashing an entire industry.

  • Jill
    November 7, 2013 - 6:15 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for an excellent article. You sure brought out the TROLLS!

  • cleo
    December 17, 2013 - 6:58 PM | Permalink

    I just wanted to share my story. Eleven years ago I was diagnosed with colon cancer, I had surgery, chemo and radiation treatments. Today, I am blessed to be enjoying my kids and grandkids and I am as healthy as one can be after having cancer and the treatments.

    After surgery for months I suffered with extreme diarrhea. My doctors tried everything to stop this but nothing seemed to work.

    I began to evalulate very closely everything I was eating. I found in that process that to much fat was a problem but eating cottonseed oil created severe and immediate problems with diarrhea. Cottonseed is toxic to me.

    I’ve also found olive oil and butter do not bother me, while just a tiny amount of cottonseed oil triggers the diarrhea.

    I am posting this just in case someone out there with digestive problems is looking for answers. Maybe this would help.

  • shel
    December 26, 2013 - 12:10 AM | Permalink

    Proven by unbiased studies and broken down to the chemistry! Bravo! Thank you for the info not the opinoin. And, your response to some of the inane replys are further informative thanks again Raine :)

  • shel
    December 26, 2013 - 12:20 AM | Permalink

    - Response/reply to comments rather ( jst to clarify)

  • Pingback: Making sense of healthy cooking oils and fats | Eat Drink Paleo

  • January 11, 2014 - 7:59 PM | Permalink

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  • Lewis
    February 28, 2014 - 5:27 AM | Permalink

    Cottonseed, how I hate thee! CAMPBELL’S SOUP, of all things, now infuses this hideous concoction into their products! I was a devotee of Campbell’s Clam Chowder, but now can’t look at a can without feeling a headache coming on. Peter Pan now strips the peanut oil from it’s peanut butter and infuses that cottonseed poison! No more Peter Pan Peanut Butter, sad. I still don’t understand the reasons for why at 55 I am struck with this problem, but over the past 10 years I’ve been unable to eat any cottonseed oil without severe headaches. So many products now incorporate it into their processing! It is a true menace as it seduces more and more companies and they turn to it like Faustus seeking Satan’s potions. Sickening!

  • Mark Buda
    March 4, 2014 - 8:24 PM | Permalink

    IMHO, the simple fact is that people can get through their lives, and even prosper, all the while believing enough patently incorrect crap to choke a horse. It seems to me that on many topics, this one included, the effort to reliably sift the truth from the arrant nonsense exceeds by at least an order of magnitude what the average person can spare. As a result, by and large, every single one of you is likely to go about believing whatever you want to believe anyway, truth be damned: if you escape that fate on one point, there are bazillions of other areas where you are as screwed as just about everybody else in finding out the real facts.

  • March 28, 2014 - 7:17 AM | Permalink

    Thanks so much for all the information, and very interesting comments too! You might be interested to know that there is an antidote to the poison in cottonseed oil that they use for farm animals, because farmers give nearly all their animals cottonseed meal. It’s lysine, an amino acid, and iron. I put up a website to explain how a low lysine diet (heavy on grains that aren’t fermented, with a lot of sugar, caffeine, peanut butter and other plant proteins) and low in fish, coupled with consumption of cottonseed oil and cottonseed meal in meat and farmed fish, has caused many problems, but that changing your diet, with much more lysine, vitamin c, and b vitamins (iron will be brought to normal with more lysine) will be a tremendous help. I hope you’ll check it out.

  • March 28, 2014 - 7:18 AM | Permalink

    Sorry, I thought the website would have been shown. It’s http://www.tendler5.wix.com/highlysinediet

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