Unpacking the Dangers Of Seed Oils

By Tom Seest

Are Seed Oils Really Worth the Risk?

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

Some individuals are quick to point out that seed oils contain omega-6 fatty acids that may promote inflammation. Furthermore, these fats can become rancid and produce toxic compounds when exposed to heat or oxygen.
Seed oils found in ultra-processed food such as french fries, cookies and other processed snacks and meals tend to be harmful, since these items are frequently fried using industrial seed oils at extremely high temperatures.

Are Seed Oils Really Worth the Risk?

Are Seed Oils Really Worth the Risk?

Why should you be wary of Omega-6 fats?

Seed oils tend to contain higher concentrations of omega-6 fats compared to other cooking oils, which poses a health risk when consumed by ingestion. Omega-6s increase inflammation risk and can contribute to heart disease and obesity. They also contain less anti-inflammatory omega-3s; the ideal ratio is 1:1 between omega-6s and omega-3s to protect health while keeping weight under control.
Consuming too many omega-6 fats causes problems when your body can’t convert them to the anti-inflammatory omega-3s needed, leading to an imbalance of anti-inflammatory nutrients such as those needed by Crohn’s disease patients. According to some experts, an excessively high consumption can contribute to inflammation causing conditions like Crohn’s.
Some experts have even gone as far as labeling certain seed oils “toxic,” leading to confusion as to which ones are actually healthy for our bodies. A small amount of oil, however, can actually be beneficial, when consumed sparingly – like omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), for instance. This can lower cholesterol levels and potentially decrease heart disease risk.
However, ALA can become toxic when heated to high temperatures; thus it’s vital that you use cooking oils with low smoke points. Reheating oils to high temperatures (such as in restaurant deep fryers) may result in the formation of harmful compounds; to minimize this risk, it’s also best to cook at home so as not to have to reheat oil again and again.
The final consideration is that some seed oils are processed with hexane, which has the potential to harm livers and kidneys. Luckily, most cooking oils used in the US and UK undergo stringent quality controls that identify any potentially hazardous ingredients and eliminate them before being sold as cooking oils.
At its core, choosing healthy cooking oils involves selecting minimally processed and additive-free varieties. Instead, look for organic cold-pressed oils that don’t contain trans fats – opt for cold-pressed organic oils if possible and avoid trans-fatty oils altogether. It is also wise to incorporate whole food sources of healthy fats such as nuts with sprouted seeds, avocado, coconut, wild-caught fatty fish and grass-fed meats into your diet regularly for an additional source of healthy lipids.

Why should you be wary of Omega-6 fats?

Why should you be wary of Omega-6 fats?

Are You Adding Years to Your Life with Seed Oils?

Seed oils’ detractors claim that linoleic acid, an omega-6 found in these types of oils, gets converted to arachidonic acid through laboratory research on mice and rats; however, there’s little clinical proof of this theory – in fact human studies have actually discovered that linoleic acid reduces inflammation both within the heart and elsewhere.
One major concern regarding seed oils is their toxic production using heat and chemical solvents like hexane. According to experts, this process releases unhealthy byproducts which turn polyunsaturated fats in seed oils into trans fatty acids that could then turn polyunsaturates into harmful trans fats – yet many nutrition experts have dismissed this claim, noting that imbalanced omega-3 to omega-6 fat ratios in most diets is actually the culprit, not seed oils themselves.
Seed oils often face criticism for being high in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. This claim, however, is misleading; there’s no evidence to support such claims; in fact, the saturated fats found in seed oils tend to be monounsaturated fats which have proven their ability to lower cholesterol.
Many people who cut back on seed oils report feeling better, likely as they reduce consumption of foods made with these oils like fried chicken, pizza, cookies and ice cream which contain many calories, sugar and sodium.
If you’re hesitant to part with your bottles of canola, corn, cottonseed, soybean, peanut and safflower oil, it is important to remember that seed oils make up only a small part of most diets. Instead, focus on cutting back on processed and fast foods while increasing consumption of whole, nutrient-rich foods instead when cooking choose healthier oils such as olive or extra virgin coconut oil as they have been more thoroughly researched and will less likely harm your health.

Are You Adding Years to Your Life with Seed Oils?

Are You Adding Years to Your Life with Seed Oils?

What Happens When You Consume Seed Oils?

Although eating too many ultra-processed foods is associated with negative health outcomes, seed oils have not been proven to be a major contributor. On the contrary, when used moderately they’ve actually proven quite beneficial; but as so many are seeking quick fixes fitness influencers have gone as far as to compile a “hate list” of seed oils they consider detrimental to gut health; creating even further confusion.
Canola, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soy oils are often maligned for being some of the most frequently used cooking oils and used in various processed food applications. Their high heat tolerance makes these oils suitable for deep frying applications which leads to higher levels of trans fats in finished product products.
High PUFA content can contribute to inflammation in the body and is considered by some experts to contribute to heart disease and inflammatory bowel diseases. Others, however, believe that omega-6 fatty acids present in seed oils do not promote chronic inflammation but instead possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Unanimously, experts agree that diets high in olive and avocado oils are much healthier than ones rich in seed oils, due to the positive health outcomes these oils bring such as lower rates of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Seed oils should be consumed sparingly and as an alternative to less healthy fats like tallow and butter, though the key is avoiding ultra-processed foods containing these cooking oils and opting instead for whole food options such as fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
As much as possible, it’s best to cook at home whenever possible. Not only will this reduce processed food consumption, but you will have greater control over which kinds of fats you use in meals and snacks; for example extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil could serve as primary cooking oils – helping limit seed oil intake while contributing towards creating a healthier gut-friendly diet.

What Happens When You Consume Seed Oils?

What Happens When You Consume Seed Oils?

Are Seed Oils Increasing Your Risk of Heart Disease?

Internet, podcasts, and social media can provide a myriad of nutritional advice. One piece that’s been making its rounds lately is to avoid seed oils which allegedly are bad for your health causing leaky gut, heart disease, brain fog.
Seed oils are natural oils extracted from seeds that contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Common uses for seed oils include making salad dressings or sauteing vegetables at home; commercial use includes food processing. Some popular seed oils include canola, corn, safflower, sunflower cottonseed soybean and grapeseed oils – though the term can also refer to soy and corn oils which don’t come directly from seeds!
GMO seed oils have become increasingly common to increase crop yield and resist herbicides, often at the cost of toxic side-effects to both people and the environment. Furthermore, their processing typically uses high heat that generates free radicals that damage our bodies in turn.
Food experts agree that overeating of any kind of fat is unhealthy, with seed oils often contributing to an imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids – pro-inflammatory compounds. But chronic disease in modern diets is often caused by overreliance on ultra-processed food while failing to include whole nutrient dense foods.
Some may claim that seed oils contain toxic compounds, but this is false. Any harmful by-products associated with oil processing (e.g. hexane) are removed through refining; any trace amounts remain only at minimal levels. These toxic compounds typically only accumulate when oil is reused repeatedly, such as in restaurants with industrial deep fryers, or heated to high temperatures repeatedly at home. However, these risks are greatly diminished if oil is used sparingly and instead prepared using extra virgin olive oil as a cooking medium. Instead, focus on replacing highly processed and fried foods with healthy alternatives like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean proteins for the greatest impactful change.

Are Seed Oils Increasing Your Risk of Heart Disease?

Are Seed Oils Increasing Your Risk of Heart Disease?

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