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Is Oleic Acid Bad For You?



Short answer

Foods high in oleic acid are typically very healthy, as long as you choose the right food source.



Long answer

If you notice the ingredient “high oleic acid” in your foods, understand that can mean a few different foods, typically oils. Sunflower, olive, and canola oils are very high in oleic acid. Foods cooked in these oils will also transfer the oleic acid to you as will cheese, poultry, and nuts which contain oleic acid naturally.

Oleic acid is as known as omega 9 fatty acid. Unlike omega 3 and omega 6, omega 9 can be made in the body as well as consumed in foods. Foods high in oleic acid can provide many health benefits, as long as they are consumed from healthy foods.

The American diet is rich in oleic acid food sources, and they aren’t all the best options of things to put in your body. Avocado, olive oil, and canola oil are among some of the richest sources of healthy oleic acid, but the majority of Americans don’t consume much of these foods unless on a diet or some other health craze. The more common sources of oleic acid in their diets comes from potato chips, desserts, sausage, pizza, burgers, dairy products, salad dressings and bread. These foods ultimately are more harmful to your body then fatty acids are beneficial considering the extra saturated fats, calorie content, sugar, preservatives, and that terrible bliss point that keeps you eating them after you’re already full.

If you choose less processed foods like yogurt, nuts, seeds and avocado for your oleic acid you will see a ton of benefits in your health. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat – a good fat! It can help to reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase the HDL (good cholesterol) in your blood which in turn lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke by eliminating plaque build-up in your arteries.

Oleic acid can also be beneficial to those with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Oleic acid can improve fasting plasma glucose, insulin sensitivity and circulation, which helps better control diabetes and prevent other related diseases. Be careful not to overdo it with oleic acid, though, as it is not a miracle cure. Oleic acid is high in calories and overconsumption can lead to weight gain – a back-step for diabetics.

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain

Commonly found in

  • avocado
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • poultry
  • olive, sunflower, and canola oils
  • processed foods
  • dairy products

Ingredients to be aware of

  • calories


  • reduces bad cholesterol
  • decreases risk of heart disease and stroke
  • improves fasting plasma glucose and insulin sensitivity
  • improves blood flow

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 07-23-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 07-23-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

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