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The Real Deal with Vegetable and Seed Oils

By Sara Butler

Over the last 100 years or so, vegetable oils have become a common ingredient in cooking. We’re now starting to understand that vegetable oils may not always be the best choice and can lead to health problems. Here’s what you need to know about vegetable and seed oils, when it’s safe to use them, and when it’s not!

Oils High in Omega-6

Nearly everyone has heard of omega-3 fatty acids and their health benefits, so omega-6 should be twice as nice, right? Nope! While omega-6 is an essential fatty acid that you need to eat because your body can’t produce it, you must maintain a certain ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 to stay health – about 1:1.

But because vegetable oil consumption has decreased so dramatically over the past century, it’s not uncommon for a person to get 20 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3. Too much omega-6 can contribute to problems with chronic inflammation, which researchers now believe contribute to cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Cooking oils high in omega-6 fatty acids are:

  • Corn oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice bran oil

If you’re looking for an oil low in omega-6, then olive oil is a great choice.

High in Trans Fat

You should know by now that trans fat is something you need to avoid in your diet at all costs. Trans fat is used to make liquid vegetable oil stay solid at room temperature so it can be used in products such as margarine.

Trans fat has been associated with chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. So, avoid anything with hydrogenated vegetable oils -- read the ingredients list on the nutrition label!

In the End

Vegetable oils as a whole are generally a healthy source of fat in the diet, but you have to be careful what kind of vegetable and seed oils you’re eating. If you want to try to stay healthy, then coconut oil is a good alternative as long as you pay attention to how much you’re eating. Butter is in the same boat -- all good things in moderation!

Oil can be a great tool in the kitchen, you simply need to know when and where it works best -- and what to stay away from! Following these simple guidelines is a great start. Just watch out for that trans fat!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Gahanna, Ohio.

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