The Quick Answer
No. Corn oil is not considered paleo.
Table of Contents
Why Isn’t Corn Oil Paleo?
Corn oil is not paleo for three main reasons:
- It is made from corn, which is not paleo.
- It is an oil that is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and omega-6s.
- It’s prone to rancidity and oxidation when it’s cooked.
In this way it is similar to other vegetable oils that are not paleo for the same reasons, like grape seed, soybean, and peanut oils.
Because corn oil contains a high amount of omegas-6 fatty acids and not a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, it does not have the ratio that we look for on the paleo diet when choosing oils. People who eat a standard, pretty poor diet with lots of processed foods already get plenty of omega-6s, however, they often lack omega-3s in their diets, and these are equally, if not more, important. Consuming any oil that has a high amount of omega-6s only adds to the poor ratio of these fatty acids in most people’s diets.
Corn oil is obviously made from corn, which is almost always genetically modified (unless you are very careful about buying corn that is labeled non-GMO and organic). Genetically modified corn has been linked to a range of problems including allergies, hormonal disruption, and autoimmune responses.
Corn oil is also a very highly processed food. It takes a lot of modern, chemical engineering-type work to get corn to go from a kernel to an oil. This involves mixing the corn with harmful solvents, preservatives, and enzymes. Corn itself is a food found in nature, but humans did not start making oil out of it in laboratory settings until the last century or so. The high-tech process of creating corn oil was not something that Paleolithic people would have been able to carry out, obviously, so this is another reason as to why corn oil is not considered a natural food or one that’s paleo.
Finally, yet another problem with corn oil is that it goes bad quickly and becomes rancid when cooked, due to its high PUFA content. PUFAs are prone to rancidity and oxidation when exposed to high heats, so this means cooking with corn oil using any method that exposes it to high temperatures, like frying, roasting, and blackening, is going to make the fat molecules oxidize, and you are going to be left with an even less healthy meal than you began with. Oxidized oils can damage your arteries and mess with your cholesterol levels. It’s a much better idea to cook with oils that are more shelf stable, like coconut oil, which can stand up to high heats.
Is There Any Confusion When It Comes To Corn Oil Being Paleo?
No. Most people today agree that corn oil is not paleo. It has an unhealthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, is almost always GMO and mixed with other nasty substances, and it spoils easily.
So Is Corn Oil Paleo?
No. Corn oil is not paleo. Instead of having corn oil, go with one of the many oil options that are far healthier and that are paleo: flaxseed, walnut, olive, macadamia, coconut, and avocado oils. Or, better yet, get your fats from healthy whole food sources like seafood, avocados, nuts, and coconuts.
How To Know What Is And Isn’t Paleo
Check out Paleo.io, the mobile app that answers the question, “is __ paleo?” Paleo.io comes with the most comprehensive paleo diet food list out there, so no matter which food you’re confused about, you’ll always be able to find out whether or not it’s paleo.
Photo credit: Mike Mozart
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