Vegetable Oils: a Hidden Health Risk?

By Tom Seest

Are Vegetable Oils Endangering Our Health?

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

Vegetable oils are extracted from seeds or other parts of plants and contain complex mixtures of triglycerides at room temperature.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils contain particularly high concentrations of trans fats, making them particularly dangerous to our health. Hydrogenated vegetable oils are especially high in trans-fat content and commonly found in processed food products.

Are Vegetable Oils Endangering Our Health?

Are Vegetable Oils Endangering Our Health?

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Harmful?

Human bodies don’t produce omega-6 fatty acids on their own, so we must acquire them through food sources. Vegetable oils typically contain more omega-6 than omega-3 fats, hence why many of us consume more of them than necessary.
Vegetable oils are an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs. These essential fatty acids contain at least two double bonds with missing hydrogen atoms and, therefore, qualify as polyunsaturated or EFAs.
There are three types of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): omega-3, omega-6 and linolenic acid. Omega-3s such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can be found in fish oil while alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) come from plant sources like flaxseed and canola.
Linoleic acid (LA), one of several omega-6 fatty acids, can be found in most vegetable oils, such as canola, sunflower, soybean, grapeseed, and peanut oils. GLA promotes heart health by increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol while decreasing harmful LDL cholesterol, according to Dana Ellis Hunnes, Ph.D. MPH RDN adjunct assistant professor from UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
If you’re seeking an improved source of omega-6 fatty acids, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds, all provide an ideal ratio between omega-3s and omega-6s – helping maintain an appropriate fatty acid balance in your diet.
Omega-6 fatty acids have many health advantages, from helping maintain optimal heart function to controlling blood sugar by improving how efficiently insulin is metabolized and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
Vegetable oils can provide more than just omega-6 to the diet; they’re also rich sources of other vital vitamins and minerals like vitamin E and magnesium, plus low saturated fat and high fiber content.
Vegetable oils provide numerous health advantages, including improving skin and hair health, reducing inflammation, and decreasing the risk of heart disease. But it’s essential that vegetable oils be consumed in moderation – too much can have negative consequences for our wellbeing.

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Harmful?

Are Omega-6 Fatty Acids Harmful?

Oxidation: How is it Affecting Our Health?

Vegetable oils may seem heart-healthy, but their exposure to light or heat can cause them to oxidize and turn rancid over time. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid cooking with them if possible and store them away from light and heat to minimize their oxidization.
Oxidized fats are an especially dangerous type of free radical. Once they become oxidized, they can disrupt metabolic processes in your body, damage cells, and contribute to inflammation – as well as drain your energy levels and diminish vibrant living.
Most unsaturated fats (such as those found in olive oil) oxidize easily when exposed to air, heat, or light due to their carbon chain structure, which lacks two or more hydrogen atoms.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, making them vulnerable to oxidation when exposed to heat. Therefore, only use vegetable oils that have been processed safely for consumption.
Saturated fats don’t oxidize when heated and can safely be used in cooking applications – such as butter, ghee, and coconut oil.
Multiple factors can contribute to an oil’s oxidative stability, including its level of natural antioxidants, the type of fats it contains, and how it is produced and packaged. Refined oils tend to be processed using high heat, pressure, or chemicals that strip them of their antioxidants; this means they oxidize faster than naturally occurring vegetable oils.
Additionally, some commercial vegetable oils are partially or fully hydrogenated to become more solid, like butter at room temperature – this process adds trans-fats that may be harmful to heart health.
Individuals need to make their own judgment on which vegetable oils are safe for consumption and which should be avoided, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize oneself with all common vegetable oils’ fatty acid profiles and which ones are susceptible to oxidization.

Oxidation: How is it Affecting Our Health?

Oxidation: How is it Affecting Our Health?

What Processed Foods Contain Vegetable Oils?

Vegetable oils are an integral component of processed food in the US. From cooking oil and margarine to spreads and granola bars, vegetable oils can be found everywhere, from salad dressings and beverages to most restaurant menus.
Vegetable oils are extracted from seeds like soybeans, canola (rapeseed), corn, sunflower, and cottonseed and are typically extracted through chemical processes rather than pressing or separating the seeds directly.
Heavy processing does more than remove nutrients from seed oils — it also generates harmful chemicals. A substance known as hexane is often employed when extracting edible oils from plants and seeds without taking into account environmental concerns.
Chemicals found in our environment are dangerous to both people and animals alike, contributing to serious diseases and health conditions in both species. They have even been known to cause liver diseases and cancer among animal kingdom species.
One of the primary culprits in our diets is partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which have been linked with heart disease and other chronic illnesses like diabetes. These fatty acids form when liquid oils are heated until their molecules solidify at room temperature through hydrogenation – a process called hydrogenation.
Unfortunately, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are increasingly being used as healthy alternatives to butter or other saturated fats in products like margarine. Unfortunately, this process can result in human health risks, such as an increase in LDL cholesterol and inflammation.
An additional issue associated with partially hydrogenated oils is their high content of artificial trans fats, which have been linked to serious health conditions. Trans fats have been known to lower HDL levels while simultaneously raising triglyceride levels in the blood.
Furthermore, these oils contain high concentrations of Omega-6 fatty acids, which may increase risks for cardiovascular disease and other modern illnesses, making them more inflammatory than natural alternatives like olive oil, avocado, and coconut oils.
This is particularly troubling given that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines advocate replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils. Studies indicate this helps lower both total and LDL cholesterol levels, with evidence provided as proof by randomized control trials.

What Processed Foods Contain Vegetable Oils?

What Processed Foods Contain Vegetable Oils?

The Cost of Cheap: Vegetable Oils?

Vegetable oils are affordable to produce and can be used in numerous applications ranging from salad dressings to airplane snacks, providing delicious flavor and texture enhancement for food on a budget.
Vegetable oil may be detrimental to our health as it’s processed and refined in unnatural ways, with chemicals like hexane that could potentially have devastating effects.
As such, it is vital that when cooking with oils, only use cold-pressed oils rather than processed versions of these fats. Furthermore, be sure to read labels carefully and look for oils stored in dark glass bottles; sunlight can quickly make oils rancid, so storing them somewhere cool, dry, and free from heat sources is recommended for best results.
Vegetable oil contains both saturated and trans fats in abundance. These harmful fats have been linked with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, among others.
There are many healthier alternative oils that don’t contain as many toxins as vegetable oil, including ghee (clarified butter), tallow, lard, coconut oil, and olive oil.
Though not as high in saturated fat content as animal fats, plant oils still contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids as well as Vitamin E and other antioxidants that provide health benefits.
Citrus oils are well known for their high smoke point, making them the perfect ingredient to use when sauteing, grilling, or deep-frying food. You can also use them as baking ingredients or even dressings and sauces.
Zero Acre Farms’ Cultured Oil provides one such alternative. Crafted by fermenting and aging sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, and rapeseed seeds into an oil suitable for sauteing, frying, or dressings – while using 85% less land than canola oil, emitting 86% less CO2 emissions and needing 99% less water resources!
Although it is true that there have been individuals who have converted their vehicles to run on vegetable oil, most people do not see it as a feasible fuel option and cannot realize cost savings when compared with petroleum-based fuels. Furthermore, vegetable oil fuel is unregulated or tested by environmental agencies.

The Cost of Cheap: Vegetable Oils?

The Cost of Cheap: Vegetable Oils?

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