Yes, many varieties of soybean oil are bad for you. Partially hydrogenated soybean oil contains harmful trans fats. The majority of soybeans are genetically engineered, which raises other health concerns. Additionally, soy is a common allergy.
Every year, Americans consume somewhere around 28 billion pounds of edible oils. Even more impressive, soybean oil accounts for over half of that (about 65 percent). It’s by far the most popular vegetable oil—and about half of all soybean oil is hydrogenated.
Soybean oil itself is too unstable to be readily used in food manufacturing. That is why it must be hydrogenated: to raise the melting point and prolong product shelf life. But while hydrogenating the oil makes it more “manufacturer-friendly”... the process can have harmful effects on human beings. Chemically, it alters the composition of essential fatty acids, which yields man-made trans fats.
Trans fats are dangerous—regular consumption can lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other serious health issues. That’s why the FDA issued a preliminary determination that trans fats are not "generally recognized as safe" in 2013. Just last year, the FDA took the next step by enacting a ruling which will require all food prepared in the United States to be trans fat-free by 2018.
It is possible to fully hydrogenate soybean oil (rather than partially hydrogenate), which does not produce any trans fats. However, this still does not make soybean oil 100% safe. The majority of US-grown soy has been genetically engineered (GE)—the long-term effects of these modifications are still unknown in humans. In 2010, a Russian animal study revealed progressive infertility with GE soybean consumption. After two generations of being raised on GE soy, infant mortality rates were five times higher. By the next generation, virtually all animal test subjects were infertile.
Soy is also a common allergy. Odds are good that you could be allergic to soybean oil if you are allergic to peanuts, soybeans or other plants stemming from the Fabaceae or Leguminosea family.
So are any types of soybean oil safe?
Because it contains essential fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin K, soybean oil may be considered healthy if it has not been hydrogenated and it’s been certified organic. These nutrients have been shown to boost your immune system, regulate cholesterol levels, promote healthy skin and eyes and even help fight Alzheimer’s disease. However, soybean oil is also notably high in omega-6—which may cause health complications if not properly balanced with omega-3 and other nutrients.
Consult your physician before adding soybean oil to your diet, particularly if you suffer from food allergies.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction
Possible long-term side effects
- increased blood pressure
- heart disease
- infant mortality
Ingredients to be aware of
- trans fats “ge” or genetically engineered
- boosts immune system
- regulates cholesterol
- promotes skin, eye health
- fights alzheimer’s disease