Cottonseed Oil Facts
Cottonseed oil is an unsaturated lipid chemically extracted from the seeds of the cotton plant. As a crude oil, it is dark and cloudy brown; when refined, it is a yellowish, high-grade edible oil. Although there are some negative health effects associated with cottonseed, it is once again gaining popularity as a cooking oil.
Flavor and Smell
Cottonseed oil has a slightly nutty taste and mild odor. This provides a favorable contrast with many well-known oils like canola and soybean.
In the United States, cottonseed oil is used primarily as a culinary oil. Because it has a high smoking point and neutral flavor, it is popular for deep frying. Cottonseed oil shows some promise as a future biofuel; however, this is still a fairly uncommon use of the product.
Nutrition expert Dr. Andrew Weil reports that cottonseed oil contains too many omega-6 and monounsaturated oils to be considered a healthy food. Cottonseed oil may also contain naturally occurring toxins and harmful byproducts of the chemical extraction process.
By United States law, cotton is not considered to be a food crop. It may be produced with massive amounts of pesticides, many of which would not be used on food crops. Those pesticides are on the seeds when cottonseed oil is extracted.
Cottonseed oil is commonly advertised as “naturally trans fat free,” but this label is somewhat deceptive since all non-hydrogenated plant-based oils are free of trans fats.