Cottonseed Oil – Is it Good Or Bad For You

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Cooking oils have gained a lot of attention recently due to their numerous benefits and uses. However, people are still trying to understand the difference between good and bad oils. One of the most popular oils nowadays is cottonseed oil. This cooking oil is as the name suggests made out of cottonseeds.

It’s also commonly known as the original vegetable oil in America. However, this oil is considered to be a danger food in America, so let’s take a look at what cottonseed oil is, and if that claim is true.

What is Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed oilLike we mentioned, cottonseed oil is made from the seeds of the cotton plant. It’s placed in the same category as canola oil and safflower oil because it’s considered an inflammatory vegetable oil that’s processed and has the ability to oxidize if there is exposure to heat, light, or air.

Cottonseed oil is purified so it can get rid of gossypol. Gossypol is a toxin that occurs naturally in the seed’s oil and its role is to protect the plant from insects. If eaten, this pesticide can be toxic. That’s why it’s important to always remove it from the seeds used for flour and cooking oil.

Hydrogenated cottonseed oil is a very common ingredient and you can easily find it on the ingredient list in a lot of processed and packaged foods. Salad dressings, baked goods, and cereals all contain this ingredient.

What is Cottonseed Oil Used For?

The reason it’s so frequent in processed foods is due to its ability to extend shelf life. A few examples of these products include potato chips, cookies, and mayonnaise.
It’s also commonly used for baking. Baked goods that are moist and chewy can taste much better combined with this ingredient because it has a nice fat index for shortening. A creamy consistency in icing and whipped toppings can also be easily achieved with this ingredient.

A lot of fast-food chains use cottonseed oil for deep frying because it adds to the flavor of their food. It’s also more budget-friendly compared to other vegetable oils.
Cottonseed oil can also be used for other things aside from food. About 200 years ago, cottonseed oil was normally used for oil lamps and candle making. Today, it can be found in insecticides, detergents, and various cosmetics.
Although this oil has its economic benefits, the fact that it’s saturated fat makes it an unhealthy option compared to other vegetable oils on the market.

Is Cottonseed Oil Good For You?

Here are some benefits that cottonseed oil brings to the table.

Promotes Skin Health

Cottonseed oil is considered good for your skin because it can help with moisturizing and soothing. Cottonseed oil contains vitamin E which is famous for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Although there isn’t concrete evidence to this claim, it is one of the reasons why it’s so commonly used. Remember, if you are using a product that isn’t organic, it may contain pesticides.

Protects Your Hair

Cottonseed oil can help in moisturizing your hair and scalp, and it could reduce or even remove dandruff. Some individuals also use it as a styler because it adds a shiny and tame look to your hair. It’s not a bad alternative compared to products that have chemical additives.
Your hair has less chance of breaking if you use just a tad of cottonseed oil before styling it.

Contains Linoleic Acid

Around 50 percent of refined cottonseed oil comes from polyunsaturated fats such as linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is an omega-6 acid that, if used in lower doses, has shown to be able to reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, enhance brain function and improve the immune system.
Sunflower oil, corn oil and, sesame oil all contain linoleic acid as well.

Omega-6 fatty acids should be combined with omega-3 fatty acids. However, American diets consist of high doses of omega-6 fats, and could negatively impact your health.

Is Cottonseed Oil Bad For You?

Might Contain Pesticides

Cotton isn’t specified as a food crop so it’s likely to have higher levels of pesticides. If you are looking to purchase a cottonseed product, try to find an organic option from a distinguished source. Keep in mind that packaged foods that contain this ingredient usually contain conventional cottonseed oil which is a less healthy alternative.

Gossypol Toxicity

Some researchers came to the conclusion that consuming high doses of gossypol may lead to gossypol poisoning, which can cause respiratory diseases, weakness, apathy, and weight gain.
Aside from these problems related to gossypol poisoning, both males and females could suffer from reproductive issues and it can also disturb your immune system.
Cottonseed oil that’s used for cooking goes through a very detailed refining process to remove the gossypol content safely. To get gossypol poisoning would mean consuming higher doses of it.

Healthier Alternatives to Cotton Oil

Healthier alternatives to cottonseed oilSince cottonseed oil could contain potentially toxic compounds, and because of its high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, you might want to opt for some healthier alternatives on the market.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that have a beneficial role in boosting your metabolism, increasing energy, and expanding brain function. It goes well with smoothies, baked goods, and can be used in different recipes for cooking.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a great choice for high-heat cooking, and a lot of famous chefs speak highly of it. It contains numerous antioxidants, like lutein, and has higher levels of monounsaturated fats compared to cottonseed oil and other vegetable oils.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil is perhaps the best choice if you look at the amount of heart-healthy oleic acid and other monounsaturated fats it contains. It’s beneficial when it comes to reducing inflammation and lowering your chances of getting a cardiovascular disease.
It’s most commonly used as a dressing on top of salads or adding a specific flavor to dips.

Cotton Oil – The Verdict

Although cottonseed oil does have certain health benefits, it might be wiser to choose alternative vegetable oils, such as olive and coconut oil. They provide the same benefits and don’t have the high amounts of saturated fat in them.

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Allison King
Allison holds a PhD in Biology specializing in cell and molecular biology and undergraduate degree in biochemistry with a minor in theoretical physics. She has taught at four universities in Eastern Canada and currently consults masters and doctoral students. She believes that peer-reviewed scientific research is the best source when looking for information on a given subject. Allison also lives a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and enjoys competing in various races including half marathons and triathlons.