The Truth About Seed Oils

By Tom Seest

Are Seed Oils Really Making Us Sick?

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

Industrial seed oils such as canola (rapeseed), corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower and sunflower oils pose a considerable health threat for most foodies. When heated at high temperatures for prolonged periods, their unsaturated fats oxidize, creating harmful byproducts that harm our bodies and the environment.
An internet search of these oils on TikTok will yield videos warning that they are toxic and detrimental to our health. But is this really the case?

Are Seed Oils Really Making Us Sick?

Are Seed Oils Really Making Us Sick?

Are Seed Oils Sabotaging Your Diet?

Seed oils are one of the most frequently used vegetable-based cooking fats, used in everything from fast food to salad dressings. Unfortunately, their lack of nutritional benefits means they often receive negative attention; in particular, omega-6 containing seed oils have been known to promote inflammation and increase your risk for chronic diseases – no wonder these cooking fats have such an unfavorable reputation!
Seed oil critics are accusing it of being toxic and linking it with weight gain, heart disease, cancer and other health problems. But is there really cause for alarm? Let’s do some research into what the science actually has revealed.
Nutritionist Cate Shanahan recently identified eight seed oils (canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower cottonseed, and peanut) as “The Hateful Eight.” Shanahan claimed these oils contain omega-6 polyunsaturated, which causes inflammation.
However, many experts have come forward and challenged her claims. They say refined seed oils aren’t as inflammatory as whole foods such as avocados and nuts and can even help us meet the recommended daily amount of healthy fats in our diets.
Seed oils do undergo chemical processing, which exposes them to potentially toxic substances like hexane and synthetic antioxidants; however, most of this material will likely be removed prior to reaching your pantry and provided you don’t heat them to extremely high temperatures, it won’t produce trans fats either.
To remove seed oils from your diet, it is best to reduce consumption of processed food that contain them and instead focus on increasing consumption of more nutrient-dense fats such as seeds, nuts, and avocados.
Olive, coconut and other healthy oils can be used to create homemade salad dressings and sauces, just remember to limit your daily oil consumption to two tablespoons or so. Your goal should be primarily derived from unsaturated sources like whole foods.

Are Seed Oils Sabotaging Your Diet?

Are Seed Oils Sabotaging Your Diet?

Why Do Seed Oils Cause Inflammation?

As a nutrition coach, I hear numerous claims regarding the dangers of industrial seed oils–one of the most ubiquitous fats found in packaged and restaurant dishes. While cooking oils remain their most commonly used form of consumption, industrial seed oils have also become ubiquitous additions to baked goods, protein bars, salad dressings, etc. In fact, some experts blame these ultra-processed food staples for inflammation issues as well as diabetes symptoms.
Seed oils’ primary downside lies in their high concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids. Our bodies use these inflammatory compounds, known as arachidonic acid, for everything from joint pain relief to depression – so it comes as no surprise that seed oils are being demonized as “toxic”, an often misinterpreted claim based on unfounded assumptions or guilt by association.
Worse still, these oils can often be heated and reheated during their processing, leading to their oxidization and subsequent production of harmful byproducts like trans fats that could compromise heart health and brain functioning.
Seed oils are notoriously unstable, meaning that they disintegrate easily when exposed to heat, light and air. This poses a problem in restaurants as these oils are frequently used for quickly cooking or frying foods.
Another major downside of processed oils is their nutritional deficiency; lacking fiber or any essential vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, these fats don’t resist oxidation well and often have shorter shelf lives than other fats. But you have some easy solutions available to you for replacing unhealthy fats with more nutritious ones.
Substituting more unprocessed foods such as whole seeds, nuts and avocados with processed ones will help decrease your seed oil intake. But it’s also essential to be aware of food labels to spot products with these inflammatory oils; look out for “natural” and “sustainably sourced” labels to identify food items without genetically modified seeds used as well as any added salt, sugar or chemicals in them.

Why Do Seed Oils Cause Inflammation?

Why Do Seed Oils Cause Inflammation?

What Harmful Effects Do Trans Fats Have?

Internet claims of seed oils as toxic are widespread, from headaches to heart disease. Yet most of these claims are made up out of thin air; most often social media influencers’ opinions rather than science are used. Oils found in foods like olives, canola and avocado should actually form part of a balanced diet and the Dietary Guidelines recommend getting two tablespoons daily from sources like these foods.
Seed oils (also referred to as vegetable oils) are created from the seeds of various plants. Common uses for them include frying, sauteing and roasting – with many offering high smoke points and long shelf lives for easier preparation of highly processed food items like baked goods and packaged snacks that often include high amounts of sugar, salt and food additives.
Industrial seed oils are refined using harsh chemicals in order to remove impurities and improve their taste. Unfortunately, they also contain trans fats and other unhealthy byproducts which are dangerous to our health – contributing to public anxiety regarding seed oils.
Although all oils contain both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, seed oils with their high levels of omega-6 fats present particular concern as excess amounts can convert to pro-inflammatory compounds in our bodies. On the other hand, omega-3 rich whole food such as fish, nuts and seeds provide important support for cardiovascular wellbeing.
Consumer Reports recently quoted experts who disproved the notion that seed oils are toxic. According to them, while seed oils may lead to health problems in certain people, many other food factors cause health issues instead. For instance, eating too many packaged snacks high in salt, sugar and saturated fat can increase weight gain as well as heart disease risks.
Although some individuals may be sensitive to certain seed oils, others should not worry too much. There are healthier alternatives available, such as rapeseed, coconut, and peanut oil, which provide essential vitamins and minerals while being more cost-effective than their processed versions.

What Harmful Effects Do Trans Fats Have?

What Harmful Effects Do Trans Fats Have?

Why are Seed Oils so Ubiquitous?

Seed oils are a type of cooking oil derived from plant seeds and extracted using chemical extraction processes, then refined further to remove phytochemicals and contaminants that make the cooking oil less healthy.
Cooking oils have one major downside in that they contain high concentrations of omega-6 fats that may cause chronic inflammation in the body. For optimal results, omega-3s should come from whole food sources like fish, nuts and seeds.
Cooking oils also present another potential hazard: rancid fats may oxidize quickly when exposed to oxygen and heat, potentially occurring during refining, in frying pan use or storage on shelves. Rancid fats have been linked with various health conditions including heart disease and weight gain.
Concerns have led some individuals to demonize seed oils. This stems from factors including paleo and clean eating movements as well as conspiracy theories; yet none of their fears are supported by scientific data.
Cooking oils derived from seed crops offer many nutritional benefits, one being their ability to help lower cholesterol levels – poly- and monounsaturated fats present in these oils are known to significantly decrease blood cholesterol, an indicator of heart disease risk.
Other advantages of these oils include their higher smoke points, making them suitable for high-heat frying methods. Furthermore, these oils are an excellent source of vitamin E which helps maintain soft and supple skin.
Though seed oils offer many advantages, it is still best to opt for more nutritious oils like olive oil when choosing seed oils for consumption. If this is not feasible, try to limit their use as much as possible and only purchase organic or non-GMO varieties.

Why are Seed Oils so Ubiquitous?

Why are Seed Oils so Ubiquitous?

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