Seed Oil

The History of Cottonseed Oil: A Waste Product Converted Into Food

by Mike Mutzel


Cottonseed oil, once considered a waste product in the cotton industry, was transformed into ‘food' in the early 1900s by refining and hydrogenation. The acceptance of cottonseed oil as a suitable replacement for butter and animal fat was made possibly by effective propaganda and marketing strategies employed by Proctor and Gamble. Lets discuss more of these details and prevent history from repeating itself again in the nutrition space.




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Studies Mentioned:

Veit, H. Z. Eating Cotton: Cottonseed, Crisco, and Consumer Ignorance. J. Gilded Age Progress. Era 18, 397–421 (2019).
Liu, Y. et al. Multiple strategies to detoxify cottonseed as human food source. Front. Plant Sci. 13, 1080407 (2022).


Episode Time Stamps:

00:00 Crisco is hydrogenated cotton seed oil, originally a waste product.

00:57 Hydrogenated oils increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and possibly cancer.

01:20 Plant-based doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

02:22 There is a toxic to humans and animals, natural insecticide in cotton seed.

05:00 Proctor and Gamble convinced Americans that industrial processing was more like purification.

06:15 Hydrogenated oils make foods crispier and more palatable.

07:45 Doctors, dietitians, health experts, media, and influencers of the day were paid to promote Crisco as a superior food.

10:25 80 years later, we learned that animal fat is superior and more health promoting.

11:50 Focus on ingredients and how humans historically ate.

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