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Is Corn Oil Healthy? Nutrition and Calories
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Is Corn Oil Healthy? Nutrition and Calories

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 29
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5 min

There are a lot of misconceptions about corn oil’s benefits and side effects, leaving many undecided about whether to use it for cooking. Are you one of them? We’ve got the right answer for you.

is corn oil healthy

Choosing the right oil for your cooking may leave you confused.

Corn oil is widely used because it is cheap, flavorless, and has a high smoke point, which makes it a good choice for deep frying. But is it safe to consume corn oil?

In this article, you are going to find out its production process, benefits, disadvantages, and nutrition content.

Let’s get straight into it.

How Is Corn Oil Made?

Corn oil is extracted from the germ of corn by either a hydraulic or a screw pass. It is valued for its neutral and light color.

It is regarded as one of the refined vegetable oils due to the lengthy process it passes through before being sold in the market. The process starts with corn kernels undergoing methods like pressing, hexane extraction, deodorization, and winterization to improve the taste, look, and smell.

An expeller machine where the seeds are put is placed on high heat. The seeds pass through a barrel cage that separates the oil from the waste. It leads to the production of unrefined oil, which is then treated with a solvent to extract pure corn oil.

Then, the pure oil is refined to eliminate some chemical compounds and deodorized to remove any odor and also lighten the color.

Finally, the winterization process gets rid of any leftover waxes and solids from processing, which is normally done under high heat.

Is Corn Oil Healthy?

Yes, corn oil is considered healthy. Although corn oil isn’t generally regarded as a healthy fat, it contains vitamin E and phytosterols, which are healthy components.

In a typical Western diet, omega-6 fats are not meant to be much. Unfortunately, corn oil is high in these fats, and it is also highly refined.

Is Mazola Oil Healthy?

Mazola oil is a healthy, cholesterol-free, natural oil that promotes heart health. You also get to lower your “bad” cholesterol as twice as you could with extra-virgin olive oil.

Aside from all these health benefits, Mazola oil is an excellent choice for cooking because of its neutral taste. It is also safe from breaking down in almost anything you prepare, which makes it a versatile and cost-effective oil for your pantry.

Corn Oil Benefits and Disadvantages

It is rich in phytosterols

Corn oil majorly contains phytosterols, which are derived from plants. It contains a higher phytosterol content than several other cooking oils, such as canola oil. They may help reduce high cholesterol levels, known to be a risk factor for heart disease.

Also, compared to all other cooking oils, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil, corn oil is significantly rich in phytosterol content, especially phytosterol beta-sitosterol.

It promotes vision health

There are ingredients contained inside corn oil, including flavonoids and antioxidants like lutein, which can reduce free radical activity in the body. Lutein may help protect vision health and prevent the development of cataracts.

It promotes heart health

Corn oil is made up of heart-healthy compounds, like vitamin E, phytosterols, and linoleic acid. This composition may help decrease the occurrence of heart disease.

Vitamin E is a highly effective antioxidant; therefore, eating a diet high in this nutrient may help prevent oxidative damage to your heart and blood vessels caused by excess free radicals.

It also plays a role in promoting immune function, skin health, cardiovascular function, eye health, and other important body functions.

Disadvantages of Corn Oil

It leads to obesity

The linoleic acid content of corn oil is a precursor to arachidonic acid, and this acid causes weight gain by activating the endocannabinoid system.

Due to corn oil being high in calories, excessive use can typically increase your daily caloric intake, which will easily compromise your weight loss goals.

With obesity comes other health issues such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, diabetes, etc.

It may contain toxicity

There may be a chance of toxicity in corn oil because of high levels of pesticides and herbicides in agricultural practices in various countries.

This may have a bad effect on your liver and kidneys. It is advisable to know where your purchased corn oil is coming from.

It promotes cancer

Omega-3 and omega-6 (linoleic acid) fatty acids are vital components of one’s diet since the body can’t produce them on its own. Theoretically, they are meant to be consumed in a 1:1 ratio.

A research report published by The Center for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health, Washington, revealed that the ratio might have shifted significantly in the Western diet over the years to nearly 20:1.

However, the National Institutes of Health, USA, explained that too much omega-6 could lead to chronic inflammation, which could cause some types of cancers.

Nutritional Facts

It is imperative to read the nutritional labels on any products purchased, especially edibles like vegetable oil.

The nutritional value of corn oil is listed below.

Nutritional table (per 100g)

Calories/NutrientAmount
Calories (kcal)900
Net Carbs (g)0
Fiber (g)0
Sugar (g)0
Fats (Total)100
Cholesterol (mg)0

Low in vitamins and minerals

In 100g of corn oil, there is 14.3mg of vitamin E, which is just 95% of the required dose (15mg) for an adult, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. There are only limited levels of vitamin A.

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, so a diet high in this nutrient may protect the heart and blood vessels.

High in fats and calories

Corn oil is 100% fat, which is 153% of the daily value for consumption. This contains 13.6g of saturated fat and 1.9g of unsaturated fat per 100g serving.

Most of the fatty acid molecules in corn oil are polyunsaturated fatty acids, while the rest are composed of monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids.

Low in cholesterol

With 0mg of cholesterol in 100g, corn oil is safe for your consumption.

In fact, corn oil has a great amount of cholesterol-blocking plant sterols, and it can help lower cholesterol two times more for adults with high cholesterol levels when consumed daily as part of a low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol diet.

FAQs

Is corn oil good for frying?

Corn oil is good for frying due to its high smoke point of 450 degrees.

Is corn oil better than olive oil?

Corn oil and olive oil both help lower LDL cholesterol in the body. Although olive oil has been originally regarded as the healthiest oil, recent research proved that corn oil is more effective and faster at reducing LDL cholesterol.

Is corn oil saturated or unsaturated fat?

Corn oil is composed of various kinds of fatty acid molecules, both saturated and unsaturated. The largest percentage of fatty acid molecules in corn oil are polyunsaturated fatty acids, while the others are composed of monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Corn oil is composed of high amounts of polyunsaturated fats, which lower cholesterol and are regarded as a key part of heart health.

Although, this oil can also cause inflammation and damage to your liver. Just like other vegetable oils such as soybean oil, it is linked to obesity and potential toxicity.

Typical Western and North American diets are high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, as well as highly refined cooking oils. Instead of going for corn oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil, other healthy options you can go for include avocado oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil.

Conclusion

Corn oil has healthy components like phytosterols and vitamin E, and it can help oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.

But just because corn oil is full of some good components doesn’t mean you should consume it regularly. This is because it also contains a lot of fat and calories.

It is recommended to use a small amount of the oil when cooking, as well as to measure it to confirm the portion.

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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