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Wesson All Natural Vegetable Oils: Warning! Slick Road Ahead

Wesson Oil Isn't As All Natural as it claims to be

So do you use Wesson oils?  I know my family did for years.  In fact, I remember the days when Brady Bunch mom Florence Henderson pitched the vegetable oil regularly.  Does this print ad jog your memory?  Yes, Wessonality!

Florence Henderson acting as spokesperson for Wesson Oils

Indeed, the 60’s and 70’s were the heyday for processed food.  I call it the Tang Era.  In those days, processed foods were still new, innovative … and in the case of Tang … space age.  Somehow chemicals, artificial ingredients, preservatives and fortification ruled vs. Mother Nature.  Heck, Chiffon margarine even mocked Mother Nature.  Remember?

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A lot has happened since those days.  Trends like “fat free” and “low carb” have come and gone, and in their place they’ve left a more skeptical consumer.  In many ways, today’s marketplace has taken a complete, 180 degree turn from the 70’s.  Nowadays consumers don’t trust processed food companies, so claims like “natural” and “organic” are driving growth.  A recent report of grocery purchases shows that “U.S. sales of natural/organic food and beverages grew 9%, to nearly $39 billion.”

Never ones to give up, however, many processed food companies have been stretching and abusing the claim “All Natural” to help grow their own business – hence my series “All Natural … Really?”  Now I’m not sure exactly when Wesson hitched itself to the “All Natural” trend, but the fact that they do is alarming for two reasons.  First, most vegetable oils, including Wesson, are processed by chemical extraction.  Solvents like petroleum-derived hexane apparently produce much higher yields than the traditional, mechanical extraction techniques.  Second, Wesson oils are made with genetically-modified ingredients (corn, soybeans, or rapeseed – aka canola) in the manufacturing of their oils.

So in what way is Wesson Oil “natural”?  To be honest, I can’t think of one, and it appears that there are quite a few people that agree with me since ConAgra (owner of Wesson Oil) is now facing two class-action lawsuits recently filed in New York and California.  Perhaps the old Chiffon commercial had the “lesson” right after all … “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”

Now if you are a regular user of Wesson or other popular brands like Crisco or Mazola (both of which also use chemical extraction processes and genetically-modified ingredients) you may be wondering, what should I use instead?  Certainly there are lots of different opinions on this question, but here is what do.  First, I always try to buy organic.  Second, I select from one of the oils on the chart below depending on what I’m making since some oils withstand heat better than others.  Also it’s important to note that although these oils may be “safer” to use than Wesson, you still need to eat a balanced diet where fats and oils are used judiciously.

If you want to share your point of view or add some additional thoughts, please click on the “comment” section below.  Also, thanks go out to Renae Maslonkowski, one of my Facebook page fans, for the idea for this installment of my on-going series “All Natural … Really?”  If you want to suggest a post idea, to keep up with the latest installments of my blog, or to follow the release of my book, FAT PROFIT$, please friend me on Facebookfollow me on Twitter, and sign up for free email updates.

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10 comments… add one

  • Jean Van Effen November 5, 2011, 6:25 pm

    Maybe it’s time for you to look at the truth about saturated fats and the role of fat in our diet. Recommended reading: Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” and watch the movie “Fat Head.” There’s no scientific evidence that natural fats are bad for you, or that the “calories in, calories out” theory is true. Love your blog, but these should be essential reading for everyone who is interested in the science of nutrition.

    Reply
  • David Brown November 8, 2011, 8:51 am

    Oils rich in omega-3s and 6s should be used very judiciously indeed if at all. raypeat.com/articles/articles/fats-degeneration3.shtml Peanut oil is especially rich in omega-6. I used to consume a peanut butter sandwich almost daily at lunch. After four decades or so I began to experience leg pains and was losing mobility. Two months after I stopped eating peanut butter the leg pains were gone. Residual problems remain. Although considerable strength and stamina have returned, I still have problems with muscle stiffness in my legs.
    Google – “David Brown Omega-6″

    Reply
  • John November 9, 2011, 6:50 pm

    Coconut oil is the way to go, all the evidence is there, and all the research demonstrates time and again, MCT’s, as well as the other fats found in coconut oil are VERY good for health.

    Reply
  • Kai November 9, 2011, 8:54 pm

    I use olive oil for all my cooking needs. It’s the only oil I have in my cupboards. If you get a good quality extra virgin olive oil it’s great with anything. It only makes food taste better in my opinion.

    Reply
  • JP November 11, 2011, 9:35 am

    I rarely fry anything, but when I do, I use lard. I’ve been rendering it myself from local, pasture raised pork. It’s easy to do and you can’t beat the taste. Food isn’t greasy, like when I used to fry with oil and it doesn’t leave that disgusting coating in your mouth. I think it’s healthier too. Real food beats food-like substances every time!

    Reply
    • WordVixen November 14, 2011, 7:21 pm

      Oh yes! As much as I love my coconut oil and butter, lard is totally the way to go if you can get it. The farm where I buy my pork and chicken (husband still isn’t quite down with grassfed beef) sells pre-rendered lard at a very reasonable price. Not only pastured, but heritage too!

      I’m trying to convince them to start stocking tallow. :-D

      Reply
  • Charles Cardone November 22, 2012, 10:22 am

    Olive oil is always a good choice. What about vegetable oil blends from Italy. They have blends containing olive oil and sunflower oil.

    Reply
  • Peter B October 6, 2013, 4:51 pm

    Comment on oils – I use only Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for everything. Higher price tag, but has omega 3 fatty acids- very healthy to combat “bad” cholesterol. POINT – I deep fry in this oil with great results. Key is to have a good deep fryer. I use the new FryDaddy – it keeps the oil at 375, perfect. The oil lasts a very long time and can be reused many times. Chicken wings are my favorite thing to fry, and I make my own hot sauce and blue cheese dressing, fresh. When I use the olive oil, I don’t worry much about deep frying. At the correct temperature the food is not greasy – and chicken fat (what is left) with any residual olive oil is healthy in my opinion. I love the olive oil. Last tip- great chefs use extra virgin olive oil mixed with a little REAL butter to saute foods in a hot black skillet. I do this- great tasty results. – PB
    (check out the link below)
    http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil#c9om/olive-oil

    Reply
  • jill February 9, 2014, 12:53 pm

    So…. why is Wesson oil called “vegetable” oil when it is made from 100 percent soybean? (which I never want to eat due to recently educating myself on soy.)

    Reply

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Commenting Policy: Following the advice of a popular blogger, I’m running my blog conversation like it’s my living room. Just so you know, I won’t tolerate bad behavior in my living room, and I won’t tolerate it on here. Critical is fine and differing opinions are encouraged. But if you’re rude … bye bye. And when commenting, please use your PERSONAL name or initials and NOT your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. The bottom line is, be cool, keep it clean, and have fun! Thanks in advance for adding to the conversation!

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