It’s Time to Eliminate Seed Oil From Our Diets. Here’s why23.11.2021
High-quality vegetable oils from sunflower, corn, soy and canola are readily available in grocery stores and home kitchens. However, they have only been in use for a very short time in the human diet. Crisco was not available until the early 1900s when the technology to process these oils became available. It was a cooking oil derived from cottonseed oils that resembled lard. However, it was introduced in 1911 by Procter & Gamble which is made by a chemical process.
The Ohio-based company brought Crisco to market. They then went on an advertising campaign promoting the idea that Crisco’s oil was healthier than the saturated animal fats commonly used in cooking. The marketing campaign worked: Within five years, Crisco was selling tens to millions of pounds. Over the course of the 20th Century, other refined vegetable oils were added. These oils are now known as “seed oils” to make them more universal.
However, seed oils have become a nutritional problem in recent years. Although most mainstream nutritionists don’t consider seed oils to be particularly harmful, nutritionists and doctors claim that certain fatty acids in processed vegetable oils can cause inflammation and other chronic health problems. We spoke with Paul Saladino, a doctor and advocate of the carnivore diet. Cate Shanahan, a board-certified family physician, referred to the most popular seed oils today as the “hateful 8” and advised that they be avoided. What? So, should we give up on all things seed oil?
Although all cooking oils contain fatty acids in some form, it is the higher level of polyunsaturated oils found in seed oils that makes them unsuitable for use by dietitians or other health professionals.
Healthy people have about 2 percent polyunsaturated body fat. On average, people have around 30 percent polyunsaturated fat. Shanahan explains that this is due to the use of seed oils. Increased levels of polyunsaturated oils can cause lower energy and increased inflammation. This can then lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Due to the high processing of seed oils (many steps and chemicals are involved in their production), they are extremely rich in omega-6 fatty acid, which is a key contributor in inflammation. Chris Kresser is the codirector of California Center for Functional Medicine. He says that the human body functions best when it has a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fat acids (the ones found on most fish-oil supplements in grocery stores).
However, Americans have taken this imbalance out of balance. We eat far more omega-6 than omega-3 due to how we cook our meals and our food choices. Kresser says that “seed oils are probably the most important contributor to the imbalanced Omega-6-to-omega-3 proportion” and “play a significant part in chronic inflammatory disease.”
One main reason to avoid seed oils is the fact that they are high in fatty acids, which can cause inflammation. This can lead to chronic diseases we would all prefer not to have. Numerous studies support this conclusion. Many of these focus on omega-6 fatty acid roles in obesity and long-term diseases. STAT reported that the Sydney Diet Heart Study, which was conducted in 1960, also showed that people who replaced saturated fats by polyunsaturated fats rich in linoleic acids (another fatty acid found in many seeds oils) “had a higher chance of dying from coronary heart disease.”
However, there are studies that show the exact opposite. Some studies have shown that polyunsaturated fats do not cause inflammation. According to Abby Langer, registered dietitian, a review of studies found that higher levels linoleic acids were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events.
Keep it simple
It can be difficult to decide what to do with all the conflicting information about seed oils. Some of this is intentional. Back to Crisco. Procter & Gamble has been a major player in the food and beverage industry for many years. Gamble relied heavily on advertisements that claimed processed seeds oils were better than saturated animal fats. However, by the 1990s, it was clear that canola oil and its relatives were a health risk. Many seed oils also contained higher levels of trans fats which are directly linked to heart disease.
You can also switch to a less processed cooking oil. For grilling meat or vegetables, olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil are good choices.
There’s no reason to get lost in all the technical details. It’s important to remember that seed oils are common in processed foods. This includes some obvious dangers such as cookies, candy bars and Twinkies. But there are also other culprits like premade hummus or salad dressing. When you are trying to improve your diet, avoid processed foods. Instead, focus on whole foods and different types of fats. If you have concerns, you can always opt for olive oil or peanut butter.