Episode #32 Choosing a Healthy Cooking Oil - An Important Part of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet with Jeff Nobbs

Body of Wonder Podcast

Vegetable oils are the most consumed food in the world second only to rice and wheat. Cooking oil now accounts for 20% of our daily calories, representing the greatest increase in the sources of calories since the globalization era.

Today, cooking oils are a staple in our diets, with canola, sunflower, soy, peanut, and palm oil being the most consumed. A growing number of studies demonstrate that many vegetable oils are pro-inflammatory and linked to disease. Research has shown that they are particularly harmful when heated or consumed in large quantities.

Our guest this episode is Jeff Nobbs a food and technology entrepreneur. Jeff is the co-founder and CEO of Zero Acre Farms, a company producing cooking oils made by fermentation, called “cultured oil.”

In this episode, we explore the best and worst oils for health, as well as other important considerations like taste, smoke-point, and sustainability.

Jeff discusses the challenges of conventional oils and the exciting possibilities of cultured oils. Dr. Weil explains why certain oils are pro-inflammatory and carcinogenic. Dr. Maizes points to food policy to understand why these vegetable oils dominates commercial food production. We discuss the good oils, the emerging world of cultured oils, and which oils to avoid.

Please note, the show will not advise, diagnose, or treat medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider for questions regarding your health.

Play Episode


Andrew Weil, MD and Victoria Maizes, MD


Jeff Nobbs

Jeff Nobbs is an entrepreneur(he likes being called that because it allows him to occasionally be unemployed while still sounding like he?s on top of everything)and thinker(his wife calls him a robot programmed to act human, but he thinks ?thinker? sounds more profound than ?robot?, and the title allows him to lounge around doing nothing claiming to be ?thinking?).

In 2006, Jeff co-founded cash back shopping website Extrabux.?Naively started? may be a better description, as ?co-founded? is something people do when they have some sort of plan, whereas Jeff was still a teenager and had no plan or experience as a CEO and probably did everything wrong and made a lot of investors and employees nervous for long periods of time. Because the founders? parents were still paying for their rent, Extrabux survived long enough to get lucky, not lose money, and find success overseas, where the market was too small and complicated for US competitors to care. When they finally started caring,the largest competitor acquired Extrabux, in a demonstration of overvaluing international expansion and youthful energy.

In 2015, Jeff should have taken a vacation, but decided to immediatelystart another business. Jeff had begun eating like one of those really annoying friends who embarrasses you at dinner because they ask the server (who couldn?t care less) questions about the food like the name, diet, and personality traits of the chicken they?re considering ordering.Finally realizing he was being annoying, Jeff started his own food company so that he could eat without judgment and talk to customers who also want to know weird things about their food.

In 2017 in San Francisco, things like that were becoming less weird, so that food company became arestaurant called Kitava, serving weird-but-becoming-normal things like cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, and kombucha and using words like ?regenerative,? ?organic,? and ?biodynamic?. He didn?t hire enough people to run this restaurant and was obsessed with gross margins, so he ended up spending a lot of time in the kitchen chopping onions and learning about basic culinary things that his chef couldn?t believe he didn?t know.

When his chef requested he stop ?helping? in the kitchen,the restaurant became much more successfuland Jeff returned to life in front of a computer screen, where hebuilt trish.ioto help him come up with things to say at cocktail parties, like, ?Did you know that kiwis are the most nutritious fruit, and that a cup of coffee has more antioxidants than three cups of grapes?? He also began helping his friends' burgeoning company, and when those friends asked him to be theChief Operating Officer of Perfect Keto, Jeff thought that sounded like a title with lots of responsibilities that he wasn?t so sure about, but Jeff hates vegetable oils and thinks people should eat less refined sugar and so did Perfect Keto so it worked out fine.

Once COVID hit, food insecurity in America seemed like a thing that probably shouldn't exist and so Jeff, along with a few other entrepreneurs suffering from savior complexes,co-founded HelpKitchen, which has since served millions of free meals to people in need.

Now it?s 2022 and Jeff has decided, of all things, to enter the oil business. After realizing that nobody else was insane enough to try and replace one of the most consumed foods in the world, Jeffco-founded a new food startup called Zero Acre Farmswith exactly that mission:to remove destructive vegetable oils from the food system.

Jeff has realized that he gets very frustrated when there are very important problems that aren?t being addressed or solved in the way that he thinks they should be. He usually underestimates the gravity and complexity of the problem, but decides to charge forward anyway and try to solve the problem himself with the naive optimism that he cansave the world.

See more