The Ugly Truth about Seed Oils

The Ugly Truth about Seed Oils

Are seed oils bad?

In a nutshell – yes!


Read on as we break down the reasons why you should say "no" to seed oils! Find out about the potential side-effects and disastrous health consequences associated with this type of oil, and we’ll reveal the alternatives that are much better for you.


The 101 on Seed Oils

You may well have spotted all sorts of seed oils during your grocery shop. They are usually lurid yellow and are extracted from the seeds of certain fruits or vegetables. Examples include rapeseed, sunflower, corn, soybean, peanut, and canola oils which are usually used in cooking and as salad dressings. In years gone by, we were told that seed oils were a healthier alternative to other forms of fat, but more recent research indicates that this is far from the truth and in fact, they have been proven to be the cause of a plethora of health issues.


The Ugly Truth about Seed Oils

You might be thinking seeds are healthy, right? So why are they so bad in oil form?


This is because they are highly concentrated seeds that are super refined and have been through processes that lead to a great deal of oxidisation, which is harmful to us. On top of this, they contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been proven to trigger chronic inflammation and even insulin resistance. They have also been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Not to mention potential side effects like headaches, nausea, skin irritation, fatigue – the list goes on! It doesn’t take a genius to recognise that it’s important to seriously limit your intake of seed oils or, better still, find healthier alternatives.


Seed oils are often hydrogenated, which means they’ve been treated with a process that makes them viscous, smooth, clear, and long-lasting - ideal for prolonging the shelf life of processed foods but not necessarily good for your health. When you’re browsing the supermarket shelves, check out the ingredients on the labels of the processed products you’re placing in your basket. You may well be surprised that seed oils often appear on the ingredients labels when you wouldn’t expect them to be there at all.


Let’s Break down the Production

It’s often said that ‘you wouldn’t want to eat a certain food if you know how it is made…’ well, seed oils are a perfect example of one of these types of food!


You’d probably agree that a highly unnatural process generally equates with a highly unnatural food.


And just to emphasise our point, let’s take Canola oil production:


  1. Have you heard of Canola seeds? We haven’t either, and that’s because they don’t actually exist. Canola oil is made from a hybrid version of rapeseed.
  2. The rapeseeds are heated at unnaturally high temperatures so that they oxidise.
  3. They are then processed with a petroleum solvent to extract the oils (already sounding appealing, right?)
  4. The heating process is continued and some acid is thrown in for good measure to remove any wax solids that are formed during the first stage of processing.
  5. Chemicals are added to the oil to make the colour look slightly more edible.
  6. Finally, the oil is deodorised to mask the ghastly stench omitted from the chemical processing.


    On top of this, Canola oil production has environmental issues, including significant land use, pesticide usage, and the use of large amounts of fertilisers and other chemicals. Plus, the CO₂ emissions from other seed oil crops are a whopping 5–25 times higher than most other agricultural crops.


    If all the above doesn’t deter you from buying seed oils, we don’t think anything will!


    Choose these Instead!

    Fortunately, there are many healthier options readily available for cooking and baking. Opt for unrefined coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil whenever possible, as they contain healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids) that can promote good heart health, amongst many other benefits. In contrast to seed oils containing omega-6 fatty acids, the likes of olive oil contain omega-3 fatty acids which have a proven anti-inflammatory effect, amongst many other health benefits. If you’re looking for a plant-based alternative to dairy butter, try nut butters such as almond butter or peanut butter, which are much healthier alternatives.


    Healthier Alternatives to Seed Oil Products

    Whilst it can be tempting to reach for convenience foods when you’re short of time, they have been highly processed and contain seed oils, you can improve your diet by making meals from scratch that don’t include processed seed oil products in them. Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients like nuts, legumes, seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables, so you always have nutritious ingredients on hand when cooking. It’s amazing how quickly you can prepare healthy meals using basic ingredients that you have in your cupboards/fridge with just a small amount of planning.


    Seed Oils: The Bottom Line

    So just to reiterate our key point, for the sake of your health (and the environment!) we recommend that you avoid seed oils like the plague. Opt for healthier non seed alternatives and you’ll be grand!


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