Dr. Jonny Bowden asks Chef Gerard Viverito to bust cooking oil myths



Hey! everybody, It's Dr Johnny Bowden and I'm sitting here with my friend Chef Gerard Viverito, one of my favourite chefs in the world.

Today we're going to bust some myths about cooking oils. I really love a chance to talk to a chef about this because usually we approach this stuff, in terms of nutrition, which oils are good and which ones are bad.

It's really interesting to talk to you to find out which ones are good for cooking, good for frying, good for sautéing and which ones we should use to drizzle.

So, I really want to get into the myths about cooking oils ... which ones are good, which ones are bad. I've lined all these oils up here and I want your take on them. And I'll give my take on them.

The reason I hate these stuff is that these soft oils are not only highly processed. There is nothing that possibly remains in there that could possibly be useful to the human body.

It is very high in Omega 6 fats. Now, Omega 6 fats are not necessarily bad by themselves. The problem is when we eat too many Omega 6 fats and not enough Omega 3 fats. We set ourselves up for inflammation. That is the tri-factor of inflammatory response ... high Omega 6, low Omega 3. This stuff is in just about in every processed food in the world. It's just cheap, junky vegetable oil, it's not good for us.

Sadly, the largest segment of the dining industry tends to be the quick-service casual and the fast foods .. and these are what is being used.

Palm oil used to be more of a specialty oil in this country. But worldwide, if I'm not mistaken right now, it is the largest consumed oil on the planet. You know, most people were very ego-centric. 

As Americans, we think about corn being subsidised .. you know, Nebraska and the whole Midwest is all centred on corn and that is all we look at. We don't realise soy bean oil and palm oil are the two biggest players on the planet.

That red comes from all the carotenoids, the vitamin A. It's a lovely oil. You can go so high on the heat factor.

As a chef, I look at these as a smoke-point. You know, I like to cook as quickly into the pan and out of the pan possible. How fast can I get it on the grill and off the grill? And I use really high heat. I want to sear in the flavours. I want to lock in the nutrients. I don't want to dry out my food. Excellent choice for it!

Well, this is one of the reasons that drives me absolutely nuts. We made the switch from some of the saturated fats to canola oil, which does not stand up to high heat well at all. When it is processed with high heat, the way it is in almost all fastfood restaurants. They use it over and over, they re-heat and re-heat. It forms carcinogenic compounds and trans fat. 

These are the worst oil to use for frying. The best oils are the saturated fats like the coconut oil and palm oil because they stand up beautifully to heat. They don't form any really negative compounds that are bad for our bodies.

We're talking about oils that have been used in Old World Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. 

Well, I guess, we should mention. All corn in United States is not organic. It's GMO. I know a lot of people are concerned. I think, rightfully so, about the source of foods that are GMO like soy beans and corn. As far as I'm concerned, we don't need these stuff. And we can do a very good job of cooking and flavouring with some of these healthier oils on this side.

It's kind of like an uphill battle to re-educate the public. We demonise these fats ... palm oil and coconut oil. We demonise them for so long that people naturally think this is what clogs our arteries. It's just not true, folks. It's not true at all. 

Well, we're a nation that loves to latch on to fear. All it takes is one person with the loudest, the most well-paid spokesperson, screaming from a tall building that, you know, you're going to die from eating this or that. 

That's what we latch onto. To educate yourself is hard. Getting an education is hard. People don't want to study, people don't want to go to school.

A little bit of education goes a long way. It'll make your food taste better, it'll make your dishes looks better. Everything will be brighter, you'll feel healthier. And it's better for you. Glad that we busted some of the myths having to do with oils.