Even though the name "vegetable" seems like it should be good for you, vegetable oil is one of the most highly processed and least healthy oils available on the market.
Vegetable oil is an umbrella term which can be used to identify canola, corn, peanut, safflower, sunflower, or soybean oils. The word vegetable in the name may make this product seem healthy, but it is actually one of the most highly processed oils available in the grocery store. About 85% of what is currently sold under the name "vegetable oil" in the United States is actually soybean oil, or a soybean oil blend. Vegetable oil emerged onto the market in the early 1900s when the invention of new chemical processes allowed for the extraction of oil from seeds. It has been a popular choice among Americans until now and has even been hydrogenated and turned into margarine and other butter substitutes. The bottom line is, while there are several dangerous implications from early studies, vegetable oils haven't been part of our diet long enough to really know the risks associated with eating them.
What is known for sure, is that vegetable oils go through several chemical and heating processes to be extracted from the seeds and plants they are made from. Compared to their cold-pressed counterparts, processed and heated oils are less natural, and tend to be associated more with heart disease.
Vegetable oils also contain an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are the two fatty acids our bodies do not produce on their own. This makes it vital to consume these fatty acids as part of a healthy diet in order to maintain proper body functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their importance in maintaining healthy brain function, and while omega-6 fatty acids are key in preventing heart disease, these "essential" fatty acids should be consumed at a specific ratio to be used effectively by the body. Too much omega-6 can make omega-3 levels too low, leading to brain damage and structural changes within cell membranes all over the body.
Furthermore, omega-6 fatty acids are believed to be linked to systemic inflammation, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, depression, cancer, and other diseases.This inflammation is caused particularly by eicosanoids that come from omega-6 fatty acids.
Possible short-term side effects
- bodily inflammation
Possible long-term side effects
- cardiovascular disease
- brain damage
- cell damage
Ingredients to be aware of
Healthy oils (GMO-free, organic) (what is this?)
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Written by Leah Bolton | 01-28-2016
Written by Leah Bolton
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