You may have heard by now that “seed oils” are something to be aware of for your health. And if you’re experiencing adverse health effects such as IBS, high blood pressure, infertility, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you especially need to learn more about this subject.
These seed oils include canola, soybean, cottonseed, safflower, corn and rapeseeds. There has been a rise on this subject since the original study (in the 1950’s) on cholesterol and saturated fat labeled animal fats “unhealthy” and these new oils (which then got a nice label of “vegetable oils”) as “heart healthy”. We now can look back and can recognize that his studies were faulty, and were made popular by the AHA, and have stuck since. We now have the research done that these oils are actually wreaking havoc on our health now, and we are here to explain why, and what you can do about it.
WHY are seed oils damaging? There are 3 big reasons that we’ll start with…
- For optimal health and levels of inflammation, our body needs a balance of omega-3’s to omega-6’s (omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory, and 6’s are pro-inflammatory). Seed oils are an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. A reason why we talk often about seed oils is because you’ll start to notice that that are in SO many things. From frozen veggies, to your favorite chips or crackers, to bread, to cookies, sauces and dressings. And when we are getting too many of these omega-6’s (even the “healthy” ones like nuts/seeds), our body can start to become more inflammed. And since our culture bought in to Key’s study and the AHA’s recommendations based off that, the actually quality fats (like lard, coconut oil, real butter, etc) have been striped, and replaced with all these omega-6 oils. If you eat out or eat any packaged foods, its hard NOT to consume them in excess.
2. The way these oils are processed (exposed to light, heat and chemicals) causes them to be oxidized. When we consume oxidized oils, that forms trans fats and lipid peroxides – and these 2 things are linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Too many peroxides accumulated in the body promote aging, and chronic diseases.
3. They are not just the oil – they have chemical additives (synthetic antioxidants) in an attempt to minimize oxidation and rancidity. These additives are now known to be endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic, and increase IgE, which is what can lead to food allergies and an increase in antibodies.
Now in addition to those top 3 reasons why seed oils are damaging, know that they also come from genetically modified crops (safety is still unknown and leaning towards unsafe), and these seed oils are often reheated in restaurants (and manufacturing plants) to use over and over again, which makes the oils even more toxic (decreases vitamin E and presents free radicals) which leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, and intestinal and liver damage.
So what can we do to avoid the effects? Simple! Start avoiding or minimizing them by looking at ingredient labels in the foods you buy and consume. Here is the full list of seed oils to start looking out for so you can avoid or minimize:
- Canola oil
- Soybean oil
- Rapeseed oil
- sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Peanut oil
- Rice bran oil
- Wheat germ oil
Also, we recommend you eat out less often (or use the app Seed Oil Scout to find oil friendly restaurants), and/or ask the server what oils they use, or if they can use pure olive oil or butter instead to cook your food in.
Many companies are catching on and instead using oils that are stable, more nutrient dense, and add benefit. Here is the list of oils we like seeing used in restaurants and in foods:
- Olive oil
- Grassfed ghee/butter
- Coconut oil
- Palm oil
- Pasture-raised lard
- Pasture-raised tallow
- Cultured oil
- Dairy fat
- Macadamia nut oil
Now, there are oils we recommend to have in moderation, for reasons explained here:
- Nut butters
- Almond oil
- Sesame oil
- Walnut oil
- Pecan oil
If you want a full history and more in depth explanation of seed oils, read all about it here. And if you want to learn more about what actually causes problems with cholesterol, learn more here. Lastly, if you already have “bad” or “high” cholesterol, read on here to learn how to help improve it from a root cause approach.