The intake of seed oils such as corn and canola has dramatically increased over the past century. While many health experts consider them generally healthy, some of these seed oils may lead to health issues. Their health benefits vary depending on the kinds of fatty acids, the oil content, the plant they were extracted from, as well as how they were processed. 1
What are the common seed oils on the market?
Common seed oils include soybean, corn, sunflower, canola, safflower, cottonseed, and rice bran. Although you may not be using any of these oils in your daily cooking, the majority of them are found in many packaged goods, and processed foods that many of us tend to think are healthy foods. 2
Are seed oils harmful to my health?
Seed oils have been found to contribute to the risks of heart health and other life-changing conditions. Without a proper approach, seed oils can affect your health negatively. In addition to moderating the use of these oils in the kitchen, one should also consider ingredients in some popular household processed foods such as white bread, granola bars, baked chips, and dried fruits. 3
Many nutritionists and doctors state that the particular fatty acids found in processed seed oils may lead to chronic health conditions and inflammation. Popular podcaster Joe Rogan interviewed doctor Paul Saladino for over three hours about the effects of seed oils, while certified family doctor Cate Shanahan claimed the most popular seed oil on the market today should be avoided. 4
Studies have indicated that people who consume seed oils may have lower cholesterol than those who consume plenty of saturated fats. But other studies where researchers re-analyzed previous studies revealed that too much consumption of seed oil could actually lead to an increased risk of heart problems –instead of reducing it. 5
What are the negative health impacts of seed oils?
While lowering cholesterol (caused by eating seed oils) generally means fewer heart issues, unsaturated fats found in many of these seed oils usually oxidize when heated. And when this happens, they are more harmful to body tissues and can stimulate inflammation, a widely known risk factor for forming unstable blood-vessel plaques, which may result in high blood pressure or heart attacks. 6
In other words, many seed oils are hydrogenated and may contain high levels of trans fats. This chemical process usually occurs during processing to make the oils shelf-stable. Vegan cheeses and butter tend to form trans fat when seed oils are hardened to form margarine. 7 This type of fat is known for clogging the arteries, which can lead to heart ailments. Trans fat formed from seed oils is usually found in fried foods like fried chicken, French fries, cookies, doughnuts, crackers, and pastries. 8
Although there are a lot of question marks over the majority of seed oils currently on the market, more studies need to be done to reach a conclusion backed by evidence. But until then, seed oils should be consumed in moderation.