• Apr03
  • 5 Cottonseed Oil Myths That Need an Overhaul

    Right now, you have vastly more information at your fingertips than your forebears at any point in human history. But instant access to the oceanic stores of human knowledge isn’t the same thing as access to pure truth. After all, facts and figures can be spun in any number of ways, and otherwise well-meaning people are always looking to tout their own self-interest. Sometimes, spinning and self-interest can lead to the creation of myths that fail to capture the real story. These five cottonseed oil myths are a great example.

    1. Cottonseed Oil Has an Unhealthy Mix of Fats

    This is a common complaint about edible oils, and it’s certainly not limited to cottonseed oil. Still, the benefits of cottonseed oil’s unique mix of fats — especially in comparison to other types of oil — rarely get the press they deserve. For instance, cottonseed oil is about 75 percent unsaturated fat, a more favorable mix than competitors like canola and coconut oil. It also boasts a favorable blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, both of which offer benefits for the musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular systems. And cottonseed oil has fewer inflammation-causing lipids (fat molecules) than many other oils.

    2. Cottonseed Oil Doesn’t Have Many Nutrients

    No one’s saying cottonseed oil is a miracle health food, but the topic of cottonseed oil nutrition has long failed to get the press it deserves. In particular, the oil is compared unfavorably to peanut oil, olive oil and other vegetable oils with high densities of specific nutrients. That’s unwarranted: Studies show that cottonseed oil has a high concentration of vitamin E — nearly as high as peanut oil, which is often cited as the gold standard for vitamin E content.

    3. Cottonseed Oil Isn’t Suitable for Use Outside the Fryer

    Cottonseed oil has long been pigeonholed as a “frying oil,” and it’s true that it’s very useful in commercial cooking applications. But it’s also a great substitute for other vegetable oils in baking recipes, potato dishes and even salads. In fact, taste tests that compare CSO and olive oil produce similar outcomes in salad dressings.

    4. Cottonseed Oil Has an Unpleasant Taste

    More on the taste point: Cottonseed oil was once decried as an “industrial” oil whose bitter taste made it unsuitable for use in high-quality culinary applications. That’s no longer true, if it ever was. Modern refining techniques impart a crisp, neutral flavor to bottled cottonseed oil, dramatically increasing its versatility and ensuring that it doesn’t overwhelm other ingredients.

    5. Cottonseed Oil Is Bad for the Environment

    Cotton farming has gotten significantly more sustainable since the late 20th century, putting the old argument that cotton (and other crops) are bad for the environment when grown en masse. In particular, cotton farming uses fewer pesticides and less water, and depletes soil nutrients at a slower pace, than at any time in history.

    Public opinion might not change overnight, but at least it can change. The next time you hear something that doesn’t quite sound right, whether about cottonseed oil or anything else, don’t be afraid to call it out. Your voice might be louder than you realize.