Seed Oils: the Inflammation Link?

By Tom Seest

Do Seed Oils Cause Inflammation?

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

Seed oils have long been considered an inflammatory food due to the fact they contain oxidized and trans fats; as a result, many have taken to denouncing these cooking oils in the media.
As long as these foods are eaten occasionally and in moderation, eating french fries or salad dressing made with seed oils won’t harm health; what’s of greater concern is an imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats in most Western diets.

Do Seed Oils Cause Inflammation?

Do Seed Oils Cause Inflammation?

Is Omega-6 Fatty Acid Intake Linked to Inflammation?

Seed oils typically contain high concentrations of linoleic acid, a type of fat linked to inflammation. Linoleic acid converts into arachidonic acid, which acts as a building block for compounds known to trigger inflammation in the body.
But omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and some plants help reduce inflammation, so we need a balance of both. Unfortunately, the average American diet contains 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids – leading to inflammation-related conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and obesity.
Opiated omega-6 fatty acids produce aldehydes that can harm cells and accelerate skin aging due to age-related decline of cell regeneration, leading to decreased skin elasticity. Furthermore, too much omega-6 consumption raises oxidative stress levels, which increases cardiovascular risks like atherosclerosis.
Seed oils go through a refining process that strips them of their beneficial antioxidants, diminishing their nutritional value. Furthermore, these oils tend to be high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3s – making them unsuitable choices for most people.
Though some experts may tout these oils as beneficial, most recognize their detrimental health impacts. Instead, it would be wiser to choose healthier cooking oils that contain higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and lower concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids.
Coconut, olive, canola, and avocado oils have high smoke points that reduce their susceptibility to thermal breakdown when exposed to extreme temperatures, making them good choices.
If you must use cooking oil with a high smoke point, unrefined varieties offer some advantages by eliminating trans fats and other toxins typically present in processed vegetable oils.

Is Omega-6 Fatty Acid Intake Linked to Inflammation?

Is Omega-6 Fatty Acid Intake Linked to Inflammation?

Omega-3s: Is This the Key to Reducing Inflammation?

Many health and nutrition experts caution against seed oils, and searching TikTok for “seed oil toxic” will produce hundreds of posts claiming these cooking oils are hazardous to health. But is all of the anti-seed oil rhetoric actually true?
Seed oils have often been refined, which strips them of their beneficial polyunsaturated and makes them seem unhealthy despite containing vital nutrients like Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are vitally important for heart and brain health, having been proven to lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, and other conditions. On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, meaning that they increase inflammation within the body. Unfortunately, modern diets often contain too many omega-6s compared to omega-3s, leading to chronic inflammatory diseases as a result.
Critics of seed oils claim they contain too many omega-6 fatty acids, contributing to inflammation in the body. Furthermore, linoleic acid found in seed oils can be converted to arachidonic acid–an inflammation-inducing metabolite. However, such studies only include rodent studies; most people already consume plenty of linoleic acid through foods like flax seeds and chia seeds in their daily diets.
Seed oils contain trans fats that have been linked with coronary heart disease risk. Although there is some controversy about whether trans fats are entirely harmful, health and nutrition experts agree they should be restricted for the best health and nutrition outcomes.
Important to recognize is the prevalence of seed oils in our modern diets and their widespread use in processed food products. To limit exposure to these unhealthy fats, try cutting back on processed food consumption while replacing it with whole, nutrient-rich options like olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil, for example.

Omega-3s: Is This the Key to Reducing Inflammation?

Omega-3s: Is This the Key to Reducing Inflammation?

Are Trans Fats in Seed Oils Inflammatory?

Seed oils have long been maligned due to a complex history that includes Paleo eating, clean eating, and various conspiracy theories. While consuming too many refined seed oil products can lead to long-term health concerns, they’re not the deadly products they’ve been made out to be.
Evidence indicates that seed oils could actually help prevent heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. Furthermore, seed oils contain both polyunsaturates and monounsaturates that provide anti-inflammatory benefits that can help decrease LDL cholesterol levels in your body.
Seed oils are often used in processed food products like fast food and packaged snack food, which can be detrimental to your health. Consumption of too many of these items will lead to an imbalance between omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats, which has been shown to lead to chronic inflammation.
Seed oils can be an artery-clogging source of unhealthy fats. To avoid their accumulation in your diet, opt for olive, coconut, or avocado oils instead of heavily processed vegetable and seed oils like canola, corn, safflower, and sunflower.
Make an effort to incorporate more unprocessed, high-quality animal fats, such as tallow and butter, into your diet for a better balance of omega-3 to omega-6 ratios, as well as providing an alternative to the inflammatory vegetable oils often present in modern processed food products.
Though eating occasional meals containing inflammatory oils won’t hurt in the short term, eliminating them altogether may help improve long-term health and performance. While toxic oils are readily available through commercially processed snacks such as commercially fried food or processed snacks, whole food such as fresh vegetables or nuts and seeds might provide better options – although high-quality olive oil with multiple clinical studies supporting its use may still be worth trying if that fails!

Are Trans Fats in Seed Oils Inflammatory?

Are Trans Fats in Seed Oils Inflammatory?

Do Antioxidants in Seed Oils Fight Inflammation?

One Internet search will bring up reports alleging that seed oils such as canola, corn, safflower, and peanut oil are toxic and unhealthy – but do these assertions hold up under scientific scrutiny? Or are they more of an example of pseudoscience, guilt-by-association, and conspiracy theories?
At first, seed oils were widely considered safe. Although higher in polyunsaturates than other cooking oils, consuming them in moderation was seen as harmless. But then the food industry started using seed oils in its products, leading to processing that produced trans fats, rancid (oxidized) fats, and chemical residues.
One reason these oils have become an issue is due to their high omega-6 fatty acid content, particularly linoleic acid. Linoleic acid can convert to arachidonic acid in the body, which in turn is converted to compounds that cause inflammation; those critical of these oils cite how linoleic acid contributes to inflammation while being harmful to health.
Modern diets tend to contain too much omega-6 fatty acid and too little omega-3. This imbalance leads to inflammation and increases one’s risk for long-term medical issues; some studies also indicate that eating too much omega-6 increases cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which increases heart disease risk.
However, omega-6 fatty acids may not be harmful. Research conducted to support this claim was performed primarily on rodents; their bodies likely don’t respond as we do to linoleic acid in its various forms.
So, the solution lies in cutting back on processed foods and using cooking oil responsibly at home. Stick with olive, coconut, and avocado oils when creating homemade salad dressings with them; don’t use too much when frying – instead, use shallow-fry only!

Do Antioxidants in Seed Oils Fight Inflammation?

Do Antioxidants in Seed Oils Fight Inflammation?

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