Heart Health

Are Seed Oils Killing Us, or Are Diet Influencers Just Trying to Scare Us? | by Haley Singer | ILLUMINATION | Feb, 2024

Canola oil can’t be that bad… can it?

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels

I can’t be the only one who has noticed the recent uproar of proclaimed nutrition experts on social media.

EEvery other day, a new diet influencer seems to be telling me what not to eat.

There is no shortage of fear-inducing nutrition content. Recently, an emerging debate on the use of seed oils has surfaced. Let’s see if these influencers are onto something or if they are fear-mongering.

What makes an oil inflammatory?

It all boils down to the fat content. There are three main types of Fat I will be referring to:

  1. Saturated Fat (bad Fat)
  2. Trans Fat (evil Fat)
  3. Unsaturated Fats (the good guys)

Saturated Fats:

Oils high in saturated fats are considered inflammatory, while oils high in unsaturated fats are considered anti-inflammatory.

Studies show that saturated fats can lead to elevated LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, creating inflammation in the body and increasing our risk for heart disease. Henceforth, we can deduce that oils high in saturated fat may not be the best for everyday use.

Examples: Coconut oil, palm oil, and animal fats such as butter and lard

Trans Fats:

Heating oils create trans fats in the presence of hydrogen to make them more stable (less likely to become rancid). This process is called hydrogenation. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned hydrogenated oils from being added to packaged goods.

Even though these oils have been banned, that does not mean we are free of trans fats. Trans fats can be found in fried foods, cookies, donuts, sweet rolls, margarine, and beef.

Trans fats have been shown to increase LDL cholesterol and lead to inflammation.

Unsaturated Fats

These types of Fat have been shown to improve good cholesterol levels while lowering bad cholesterol.

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