Uncovering the Truth About Seed Oils

By Tom Seest

Are Seed Oils Unhealthy In A Diet?

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

Nutrition experts generally concur that seed oils should be part of a healthy diet, since they’re an excellent source of polyunsaturated fat – an essential nutrient.
Critics contend that seed oils promote inflammation, which has been linked to chronic diseases from diabetes to cancer.

Are Seed Oils Unhealthy In A Diet?

Are Seed Oils Unhealthy In A Diet?

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Unhealthy?

If you spend much of your time online, chances are you have come across several individuals claiming that seed oils such as canola, sunflower and rapeseed oil contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids which have been linked with inflammation and heart disease. If that has ever happened to you, take note!
Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence supporting such claims. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential components of human diet; in fact, we rely on food sources like fish to get our supply. Since our bodies cannot produce linolenic acid alone, food should provide it for us.
Eat a balanced diet to optimize our body’s utilization of these fatty acids; but remember to limit their consumption as too much oil intake can increase inflammation in your system.
Reasons behind this observation vary; firstly, many modern diets contain an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids; when this ratio goes haywire, chronic inflammation and other serious health problems arise.
Omega-6 fatty acids may lead to inflammation in the joints, making it harder for people to move freely and even leading to osteoarthritis and joint pain in some instances.
Thirdly, seed oils contain anti-inflammatory substances such as resveratrol that have been proven to reduce inflammation, lower oxidative stress levels, and enhance immune system functioning.
Fourthly, certain omega-6 fatty acids are converted to an even more pro-inflammatory substance known as arachidonic acid in the body – this acid contributes to numerous symptoms associated with inflammation, such as arthritis and cardiovascular diseases.
Fifthly, arachidonic acid consumption has been linked with an increased risk of cancer and obesity; thus, it’s important to bear these considerations in mind when making dietary decisions.
To minimize the harmful effects of seed oils, opt for alternatives high in unsaturated fats like olive, flaxseed and hemp oils instead. Incorporating plenty of omega-3 rich foods like fish and shellfish (wild-caught fatty fish, grass-fed meats nuts and seeds into your diet is also important).

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Unhealthy?

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Unhealthy?

Are Seed Oils’ Calories Too High?

Have you seen many social media influencers and self-proclaimed fitness gurus advise against seed oils — canola, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed and rice bran — because they’re bad for you? Some claim these “hateful eight” oils cause inflammation that leads to weight gain or other health concerns, making their consumption harmful in their overall effect on human health.
Nixers base their claims largely on the fact that most seed oils contain omega-6 fatty acids, which may contribute to chronic inflammation and have adverse impacts on health, such as obesity and heart disease.
As a general guideline, it’s best to consume an appropriate balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats through whole food sources such as seeds, nuts, and avocados.
But if you find yourself eating more processed food than ever, it might be time for an overhaul of your diet. Packaged and fast foods often contain unnecessary calories, sodium, sugar, and other additives that could compromise health.
These unhealthy ingredients — not seed oils — are the true sources of harm. By decreasing consumption of processed food items and replacing them with more healthful options such as olive or extra virgin coconut oils, your health will see significant improvements.
Avoid seed oils because of their highly processed nature; often using chemicals and heat. Over time, this heat depletes nutrients while becoming rancid over time.
Crosby says the refining process can also increase health risks. When used in restaurants or factory deep fryers, repeated exposure to high temperatures exposes unsaturated fats that have yet to fully convert, potentially creating harmful buildup of chemicals that lead to inflammation in the body and even lead to severe complications such as arthritis.
Crosby suggests selecting cold-pressed and expeller-pressed seed oils when selecting seed oils to cook with, both of which are produced without chemicals or heat, for best results. Be sure to only use each batch once.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise getting about two tablespoons of oil daily – which equates to one tablespoon each of canola, corn or soy oil – plus other sources of unsaturated fats in your diet like nuts/seeds/avocados.

Are Seed Oils' Calories Too High?

Are Seed Oils’ Calories Too High?

Are Saturated Fats in Seed Oils Unhealthy?

Seed oils are a type of vegetable oil often used for cooking food. Produced by various seeds like canola, corn, soybean, sunflower and cottonseed. Their fats contain polyunsaturates and monounsaturates as well as small amounts of saturated fats that make up its composition.
Saturated fat, on the other hand, is harmful if consumed excessively; it raises cholesterol levels and increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
One way to reduce saturated fat intake is by eating a diet high in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
An effective way to reduce saturated fat intake is to use oil judiciously and cook below its smoke point when using it for cooking purposes, as this reduces your risk of health complications caused by chemicals produced from high-temperature oil usage.
Seed oils contain high concentrations of saturated fat and omega-6 fatty acids – pro-inflammatory fats which have been linked to chronic diseases like cardiovascular illness and cancer.
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests limiting your consumption of saturated fat to reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly for people who are overweight, have high cholesterol, or have diabetes. This advice is especially important for people who may already be at a higher risk than usual for heart conditions such as high cholesterol or diabetes.
Seed oils often contain high concentrations of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid known to cause inflammation within the body and thus frequently suggested as one reason to avoid seed oils.
If you do choose to consume these fats, it’s best to balance their effects by eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Also, be sure to get adequate omega-3 fatty acid intake from sources like fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
If you’re seeking ways to lower your fat consumption, consult a qualified nutritionist. She can create an individualized plan tailored specifically for you that ensures you eat only appropriate food choices.

Are Saturated Fats in Seed Oils Unhealthy?

Are Saturated Fats in Seed Oils Unhealthy?

Do Seed Oils Pack a Healthy Punch?

Seed oils, used to prepare many of the foods we eat, contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that scavenge free radicals in our bodies and protect us against diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and some forms of cancer.
Food sources of antioxidants include vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytochemicals (plant compounds). Other common sources include lycopene from berries as well as lutein and zeaxanthin from vegetables.
Phenolic acids can also provide important health benefits, including improving eyesight and strengthening immune systems. Phenolic acids found in fruits and vegetables contain these antioxidants in abundance and have many of their own.
These substances function as antioxidants by neutralizing free radicals present in the body and protecting cell DNA from damage, as well as helping prevent inflammation within and protecting against cancer.
Seed oils may play an integral part in cardiovascular wellness, with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats present in seed oils thought to reduce heart attack risk while improving blood lipid levels and lowering blood pressure.
Diet experts typically agree that healthy seed oils can be included in our diets in moderation as part of a balanced approach that includes plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as lean protein options.
Media portrayal of seed oils as harmful is simply inaccurate; in moderation they are perfectly safe when consumed alongside healthy fats like olive oil and avocado.
Concerns have been expressed over the processing of seed oils. Refining strips away beneficial plant compounds while trans fats may form. But research shows that refined oils do not pose as great of a threat to health as many popular theories posit.
Contrary to popular belief, most seed oils contain an ample supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Our bodies cannot produce these essential PUFAs naturally and so need outside sources in order to survive.

Do Seed Oils Pack a Healthy Punch?

Do Seed Oils Pack a Healthy Punch?

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