The Truth About Seed Oils

By Tom Seest

Are Seed Oils Really Harmful?

At SeedOilNews, we help people who are curious about seed oil by collating information and news about seed oils.

Have you seen those posts on social media comparing seed oil consumption with obesity or chronic diseases? While this may be accurate, the imagery can be quite deceiving.
Industrial seed oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, corn and soy are staples of ultra-processed food production – but many of us are sick from eating them!

Are Seed Oils Really Harmful?

Are Seed Oils Really Harmful?

What’s the Deal with Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

Seed oils (also referred to as vegetable oil) are an integral component of modern cuisine, found primarily in seed oils like soy, canola, safflower, sunflower and even rapeseed seeds harvested and heated at high temperatures to oxidize their fatty acids – creating toxic byproducts that could have negative implications on health as they don’t contain as many essential vitamins and nutrients as industrial seed oils can be.
These oils contain omega-6 fatty acids that create an imbalance between our omega-3 and omega-6 ratios and inflammation, leading to health issues like obesity and heart disease. Health experts who warn about omega-6s do not advise us to completely avoid omega-6 oils altogether, but suggest we choose healthier options instead.
Omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid can be converted to arachidonic acid in the body and has been linked with inflammation-related conditions. Research indicates that eating foods rich in omega-6s promotes inflammation and may contribute to chronic health issues like cardiovascular disease and joint pain.
Studies indicate that linoleic acid found in seed oils actually lowers cholesterol levels and decreases the risk for heart disease, with no evidence to support an association between excessive consumption of linoleic acid and depression or anxiety.
Avoiding seed oils is certainly beneficial, but it’s also essential to remember that eating healthily involves considering all aspects of nutrition as a whole. In general, Western diets contain too many omega-6 fats but often lack sufficient amounts of omega-3s and other essential nutrients.
Industrial seed oils not only contain unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids, but are often grown using destructive mono-crop agriculture techniques which deplete soil nutrients and decimate our farmland. Once they’re consumed in ultra-processed food products we eat, they become detrimental to health. Therefore, it’s wiser to opt for whole foods low in fat while limiting processed snacks or meals that contain potentially toxic ingredients.

What's the Deal with Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

What’s the Deal with Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

What Happens During the Processing of Seed Oils?

As soon as you hear reports that seed oils are toxic and responsible for numerous health issues, you might begin to wonder where the information comes from. Unfortunately, most of it comes from social media influencers and wellness experts with dubious credentials – although in reality these nutrient-rich seed oils should be part of a balanced diet and eaten responsibly.
Seed oils are a type of cooking and salad oils made from seeds such as canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower and soy, which contain monounsaturates, polyunsaturates and saturated fatty acids in various ratios. While debate about seed oils often centers on their high concentration of omega-6 fats which promote inflammation within the body and contribute to chronic illness; omega-3s help lower blood pressure while protecting against irregular heartbeats as well as suppress inflammation.
One of the primary complaints against seed oils is their extensive processing and high content of omega-6 fats, specifically linoleic acid which converts into pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid in our bodies, leading to inflammation that has been linked with cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory bowel disorders.
Industrial seed oils are frequently manufactured using toxic chemical additives and solvents such as hexane that pose potential dangers to both people and the environment. Once extracted, seed oils must be further refined in order to remove impurities, improve color, flavor and aroma; unfortunately this process also produces harmful byproducts like trans fats that oxidize during this process.
These byproducts may contribute to inflammation and other health concerns, though experts do not consider them as dangerous as some other commercially produced cooking oils.
Bottom line, seed oils should be replaced by more nutritious options like extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil, according to the Dietary Guidelines. It should also be noted that two tablespoons per day from healthy sources – such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins – is recommended by these guidelines.

What Happens During the Processing of Seed Oils?

What Happens During the Processing of Seed Oils?

How Are Seed Oils Harming Your Health?

Seed oils have recently come under scrutiny as potential culprits in weight gain, disease and leaky gut syndrome. This is most likely due to their high omega-6 content and processing techniques; additionally, many contain harmful contaminants like hexane, synthetic antioxidants and trans fats which contribute to health problems.
Seed oil detractors contend that these cooking and salad oils are inflammatory, damaging to the gut, and contain unwelcome components formed during their refining. As a result, many experts advise their audiences to steer clear. However, not everyone agrees; some believe polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are essential in any healthy diet, while others see them as dangerous in promoting inflammation that could eventually lead to chronic diseases.
Some fitness influencers are going as far as to dub these eight cooking and salad oils the “Hateful Eight,” warning their followers against them at all costs. Their reasoning is that cooking and salad oils made from seeds harvested from plants such as sunflower, canola, safflower, linseed, soybean, corn, and cottonseed before being refined into vegetable oils are made up of these eight sources.
As more consumers turned away from saturated fats like lard and butter, consumption of industrial oils like palm kernel oil soared. This phenomenon coincided with an upsurge in obesity rates, heart disease rates, neurological disorders and cancer cases; though correlation does not necessarily equate to causation; nevertheless it is evident that these trends are related.
Industrialized seed oils differ significantly from their natural plant oils in that they don’t contain many essential vitamins and nutrients, are unstable, and quickly oxidize, producing many harmful byproducts that damage cells and DNA – contributing to what’s known as “oxidative stress”, and ultimately leading to debilitating diseases like cancer, arthritis and diabetes.
Heat can break down these seed oils into harmful aldehydes and polyunsaturated acid oxidation products that are toxic for your health, damaging mitochondria, the source of energy for cells. They may also impede production of ATP molecules essential to respiration of cells.

How Are Seed Oils Harming Your Health?

How Are Seed Oils Harming Your Health?

How Can Seed Oils Lead to Sugar Addiction?

Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and other social media platforms are filled with fitness influencers warning against seed oils derived from seeds like canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower and sunflower. Collectively these oils are known as vegetable oil.
Seed oils contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), but nutrition experts generally do not consider them harmful when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. They can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Seed oils come under scrutiny due to being a major component of ultra-processed foods that contain them, including those high in calories, sugar, salt and additives that make it easy for us to overindulge in them and lead to weight gain, heart disease and other serious health conditions.
Some individuals believe that consuming seed oils may make one sick due to an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Linoleic acid in seed oils can be converted to arachidonic acid, which has been linked to inflammation and chronic diseases.
Seed oils aren’t harmful if consumed in moderation, though other vegetable oils might provide more healthful fatty acid sources like fish, nuts, and avocados.
Cut back on ultra-processed foods to naturally decrease your seed oil consumption, and that will allow you to focus more on getting adequate amounts of fatty acids from other sources and give your body a break from highly processed ingredients that make you sick. Choose natural, non-GMO vegetable oils made without any hexane, trans fats, or chemicals as this will benefit both you and the environment; coconut and safflower oils are popular choices among these natural options; canola oil is often heavily processed using chemical solvents; more information can be found here.

How Can Seed Oils Lead to Sugar Addiction?

How Can Seed Oils Lead to Sugar Addiction?

Be sure to read our other related stories at SeedOilNews to learn more about seed oils.