Uncovering the Truth About Seed Oils

By Tom Seest

Are Seed Oils Really Unhealthy?

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

Many individuals report feeling better after cutting seed oils out of their diet, which are used in highly processed and fried foods that also contain high amounts of sodium, sugar, and refined carbohydrates.
But if these other components are to blame, there’s no reason to reduce consumption of foods with omega-6 fatty acids like nuts and seeds.

Are Seed Oils Really Unhealthy?

Are Seed Oils Really Unhealthy?

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Unhealthy?

Many have been spreading the misperception that seed oils like canola, cottonseed, safflower, and sunflower are harmful to your health, often through social media influencers or due to a lack of knowledge of how these oils are made. While seed oils may seem like toxic sources, social media influencers and a lack of knowledge regarding how these oils are made might cause people to believe this. In reality, however, seed oils contain beneficial omega-6 and omega-3 fats that aid the body; even the CDC advises using small amounts in your cooking if heart health is an issue for you.
Seed oils differ from other fats in that they consist of mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, which have been proven to reduce cholesterol while also providing antioxidant protection to combat cell damage and prevent further oxidation.
However, one issue with these oils is their high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio; omega-6 fats have pro-inflammatory effects while omega-3s act anti-inflammatoryly; this imbalance may contribute to chronic inflammation as well as cardiovascular disease risk.
For the lowest omega-6 intake, opt for cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils, as these contain less processing and boast higher levels of beneficial nutrients compared to refined ones. Also, try increasing omega-3 fat intake through foods like fish, walnuts, and flax seeds.

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Unhealthy?

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Unhealthy?

Is Saturated Fat in Seed Oils Unhealthy?

Though seed oils contain saturated fats that may be unhealthy, some experts argue it might not be as detrimental as commonly perceived. Saturated fats have the ability to increase good cholesterol while simultaneously decreasing bad cholesterol, thus helping lower heart disease risk. Furthermore, certain saturated fats may even provide benefits by helping keep triglyceride levels at bay.
Seed oils contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as some rancid byproducts from their metabolism, some of which may be pro-inflammatory and cause damage to cardiovascular and brain health. On the flip side, seed oils also provide ample amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may benefit both heart health and brain functioning.
Experts agree that in order to combat oxidized fats found in seed oil, it’s essential to limit our consumption of ultra-processed foods that often contain these fats. Instead, focus on eating whole foods that provide essential omega-3 and omega-6 fats, such as fish, walnuts, peanut butter, tofu, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and eggs.
Seed oils present an inordinate risk in modern diets due to their abundance of unhealthy omega-6 fats; their consumption often outweighs that of omega-3s and can lead to chronic illnesses.
Though most of the fat found in an average American diet comes from seed oils, it is important to remember that they should not be their sole source. Most Americans should aim to increase their consumption of healthy and nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins in addition to unsaturated rather than saturated and trans fats whenever possible – it would be beneficial if you talked with a Baptist Health primary care provider about what’s best for your health and weight!

Is Saturated Fat in Seed Oils Unhealthy?

Is Saturated Fat in Seed Oils Unhealthy?

Are Seed Oils Really High in Calories?

While seed oils like canola, safflower, and generic “vegetable oil” contain high caloric intakes, they provide vital vitamins like A and thiamine as well as essential niacin for health benefits. When consumed in moderation, they can make for an effective addition to any healthy diet plan.
Problematic industrial vegetable oils contain mostly omega-6 polyunsaturated fats that have been identified as pro-inflammatory. While your body does require omega-6s for proper function, they must also be balanced out by omega-3 fatty acids to avoid inflammation and other potential health concerns.
Unfortunately, most individuals consume an imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats from eating food with seed oils, such as fast food, pastries, and fried snacks, leading to increased risks for heart disease, obesity, and other health conditions. This causes an unhealthy imbalance that puts them at greater risk.
Though these oils may be heavily processed, experts do not agree they are harmful or toxic to human health. “Olive oil can be part of a well-rounded and nutritious diet when combined with other sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish or walnuts,” Kitchens notes.
These oils also feature high heat tolerance and long shelf lives, making them suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying. Unfortunately, overusing these oils is harmful, particularly if combined with ultra-processed foods like chips and donuts containing high amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy additives that could contribute to weight gain, inflammation, and other health problems.

Are Seed Oils Really High in Calories?

Are Seed Oils Really High in Calories?

Are Seed Oils High in Cholesterol?

People on social media, such as TikTok, often make statements that seed oils are unhealthy for them, yet many of those claims lack scientific basis. Seed oils are commonly used in fast foods like fries and packaged snacks with lots of salt, sugar, and processed carbs; regularly eating these can contribute to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Seed oils are refined using heat and chemical solvents such as hexane, which may introduce harmful chemicals and trans fats into the oil and create trans fatty acids that could pose potential dangers to health if inhaled or consumed through cooking with seed oils. Furthermore, cooking seed oils creates harmful fumes and byproducts, which could further deteriorate health risks.
People claim that seed oils are unhealthy due to their content of omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid, which your body converts into arachidonic acid through inflammation processes and can contribute to health issues in various ways.
People who eliminate seed oils from their diet often report feeling healthier and less bloated. It’s important to remember, though, that most seed oils used in fried foods and packaged snacks contain large quantities of sodium, sugar, and trans fats – simply cutting these out will not guarantee your health; adding in more whole seeds, nuts, fish, etc may do just as much!

Are Seed Oils High in Cholesterol?

Are Seed Oils High in Cholesterol?

Is Linoleic Acid Making Seed Oils Unhealthy?

As many have pointed out, seed oils like canola (rapeseed oil in the UK), corn, cottonseed, peanut, soybean, sunflower, and vegetables contain too many omega-6 fatty acids – something many foods use these oils in excessive quantities – including deep-fried pastries, snacks like chips and donuts as well as salad dressings, pasta sauces and “healthy” packaged snacks containing them. When consumed excessively these oils may contribute to weight gain as well as heart disease.
Why do some experts advise against seed oils? Because they contain too many omega-6 fatty acids – particularly linoleic acid – while not providing enough omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Since our bodies can’t produce omega-3 fats themselves, eating enough sources may reduce chronic inflammation that has been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fat found in plant oils. At room temperature, it appears liquid with an amber hue; once rancid, it develops a bitter flavor and may even develop a high smoke point for use when frying food.
However, one major drawback of linoleic acid is its conversion by human bodies into arachidonic acid, which can trigger inflammation and raise your risk for heart disease and other illnesses. Critics of seed oils have pointed to studies done on mice and rats showing this; however, results with humans remain inconclusive; some research indicates consuming linoleic acid may actually decrease inflammation while lowering risk, but more research needs to be conducted into this theory.

Is Linoleic Acid Making Seed Oils Unhealthy?

Is Linoleic Acid Making Seed Oils Unhealthy?

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