History of Vegetable Oil Production and Consumption
As mentioned previously, vegetable oil was practically non-existent in its current form in the early 1900s. Until that time, most people got their fats from animal sources like meat, tallow, lard, butter, cream, etc.
The overall amount of fat consumed has not changed much since then (it has decreased slightly) but the type has changed dramatically. In 1900 the amount of vegetable based oils that people consumed was basically none.
Today, people consume, on average, about 70 lbs of vegetable oils throughout the year!
Add to this the fact that the animals we eat are also often fed genetically modified pesticide treated seeds and grains (cows are supposed to eat grass by the way!) and the amount of omega-6 rich oils and seeds in our diets is really high!
Though vegetable oil existed in the early 1900s, its use increase that much until the 1950s, when a governmental campaign was launched to convince people to eat vegetable oils and margarine and avoid “artery clogging saturated fats.”
Check out the rise of Canola Oil since then:
And the rise in soybean oil production and consumption:
And corn oil:
As an interesting correlation, check out the rates of heart disease and cancer since then. As this article notes:
All one has to do is look at the statistics to know that it isn’t true. Butter consumption at the turn of the century was eighteen pounds per person per year, and the use of vegetable oils almost nonexistent. Yet cancer and heart disease were rare. Today butter consumption hovers just above four pounds per person per year while vegetable oil consumption has soared–and cancer and heart disease are endemic.
Since the 1950′s these vegetable oils and their derivatives have been increasingly used in processed foods and for frying or cooking.