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Do you know what you’re cooking with? Do you know the impact it could be having on your health? If not, it’s time to take a closer look at vegetable oils.
Most so-called ‘vegetable oils’ are in fact seed oils.
Seed oils have become increasingly popular in recent years, touted as healthy alternatives to other fats and oils. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good for us. In fact, some experts believe that seed oils can be harmful to our health if used in excess. Here’s why you should stop using seed oils right now for improved health.
First of all, let’s start by understanding what seed oils are and why so many people are using them. Seed oils are derived from various seeds such as sunflower, safflower, canola and soybean oil. They have become popular because they offer a variety of benefits including being cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. Both of which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, they provide essential fatty acids which are necessary for proper body functioning and growth.
Why should you avoid seed oils?
However, while there may be some short-term benefits to consuming these types of oil, there is also evidence suggesting that their use can be detrimental to your long-term health if consumed in large quantities or regularly over an extended period of time. Here’s why:
- Seed Oils Are High In Omega-6 Fatty Acids: One of the biggest issues with seed oils is that they contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids (which are polyunsaturated fats). These polyunsaturated fats aren’t bad per se; however, too much consumption can lead to inflammation throughout the body. That has been linked to a range of diseases such as diabetes and cancer. A diet high in omega-6 fatty acids has also been associated with weight gain and obesity due to increased calorie intake without providing any additional nutritional value or satiety (feeling full after eating).
- Seed Oils May Contain Unhealthy Trans Fats: Another issue with seed oils is that some varieties may contain unhealthy trans fats. These have been linked to heart disease and other serious health problems when consumed regularly over an extended period of time. Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts but when processed through hydrogenation (the process used to increase shelf life), higher levels can occur. It is important therefore to check labels carefully before buying products containing seed oil just to make sure there aren’t any unhealthy trans fats present!
- Seed Oils Can Increase Risk Of Oxidative Stress And Free Radicals: Finally, another potential danger associated with consuming large amounts of seed oil is oxidative stress and free radicals. These substances damage cells within our bodies, leading to premature aging and a host of other diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. This occurs because the polyunsaturated fat content found in most seed oils makes them susceptible to oxidation when heated. This means that they break down into free radicals more quickly than other types of fat like monounsaturated or saturated fats do, when exposed to heat or light during cooking processes, like frying or baking.
So what should you do if you want improved health?
Firstly it would be wise limit your intake especially if you already consume a lot due its undoubtedly high omega-6 content – something experts recommend no more than four tablespoons per day for adults on average diets according their dietary guidelines set by relevant national governments.
Secondly it would beneficial replace them with healthier options such as Omega-3 based fats and non-hydrogenated vegetable based spreads such as olive, coconut, avocado, walnut, hazelnut, macadamia nut butter etc., all which provide similar benefits without increasing risk of oxidative stress and free radical damage as mentioned above. You should aim to balance out omega-6 with omega-3 as much as possible. I use coconut oil regularly as I really like the flavour. But my go-to oil is olive oil. It’s important to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil – only this is pressed, rather than extracted using industrial processes and solvents.
Lastly make sure you always read labels to carefully check whether a product contains any unhealthy trans fatty acids before purchase. Avoid these wherever possible and ensure only the highest quality ingredients are used in preparation of foods and meals as said above to improve overall wellbeing in the long term..