One thing oils are used for today in the US is frying: french fries, chicken, and so on. And you will be admonished by doctors and health professionals alike not to eat fried food because its bad. Bad, of course, because frying with oil will stuff you veins full of cholesterol and you will die.
Now in Spain doctors, knowing how bad frying is, conducted a study over twelve years of those eating fried food (now remember this Spain where they use good oils for frying.) Low and behold there was not increased chance of death from heart failure (study described here).
According to the MedPage article "This result may seem surprising because frying is generally considered an unhealthy way of preparing food..."
Except in this case this is not so.
No detectable increase in coronary deaths due to frying, none.
You see, the convention wisdom in my book is totally wrong. The problem with fried food in the US is how its prepared and what its fried in - not the fact that its fried. (Certainly fried food has a lot of calories but so do a lot of other things - that's not the issue because eating too many calories regardless of where they come from is bad - studies show this as well).
No on seriously studied consumption of fried foods like before this because everyone knew they were bad.
Or, er, rather, they must be bad, right?
After all frying is evil, like cigarette smoking...
I believe that most researchers today have grown up with all sorts of "truisms" - smoking is bad, frying is bad, this is bad, that is bad... and they are taken simply as fact in the sense that no one thinks to question them. They sky is blue, after all, so there is no need to study it.
This is a problem in modern science today because its preventing science from seeing the real problem in this case: manufactured oils are killing us.
The Spaniards in the linked study ate on average 5 oz of fried food each day - potatoes, meat, fish.
However, these folks used things like olive oil and were careful not to degrade the oils by heating them too much - something else that's common in the USA. (They use a Mediterranean Diet there - see this. There is also the Paleo type of diet which uses similar ideas.)
In December of 2010 I wrote this in part:
Personally I plan to acquire some guaranteed unrefined oils immediately and add them to my diet.
The healingmatters.com fats link (again here) is particularly disconcerting because it describes how triglycerides, cholesterol, and all these usual modern medical obesity and diabetes "suspects" are systematically and routinely contorted into false and misleading information.
Some other topics touched in this article:
Cooking: "When cooking with fats and oils it is important to do so in a manner that does not destroy them. Use only butter, Coconut oil and animal fat for cooking." and "Margarine, artificial shortenings, refined oils and all Hydrogenated edible products are long term toxic to the human metabolism".
Manufacturing Cooking Oils: "It is the high temperatures used in the refining process that ruins even previously good oils."
Cholesterol: "by excluding high Cholesterol foods from our diet, our liver simply makes more Cholesterol in an attempt to maintain a homeostasis (normal level) of Cholesterol in our blood stream."
Now in the Wolf household we changed our use of oils to only healthy oils - mostly coconut and olive - though we do use animal fat as well on occasion. No more vegetable oils. No margarine.
(BTW, one of the things I think is that 30 years or so of modern TV-based margarine sales has contributed greatly to our health problems as Americans - on the scale of cigarette problems. But because margarine is considered to be "healthy" its okay that it kills us...)
This was not very easy to do because, among other things, it means you cannot buy salad dressing from a store because virtually all of them, including things like Newman's Own with Olive Oil are full of soybean oil. (Soybean is bad and its virtually all from Roundup Ready genetically modified plants.) Today we make our own with only olive oil.
But we've managed to do it. Its also more expensive because vegetable oil is far cheaper.
Manufactured oils appeared in the 1920's and their rise in the American diet coincides nicely with the rise of "obesity" and Type 2 diabetes.
(Why are "manufactured oils" bad, you ask? Read this - after which you will not use these oils either. Among other things because they are processed with petroleum-based solvents, bleached, filtered and heated to 450 degrees.)