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Is Vegetable Oil Bad For You?
Vegetable oils are oils extracted from the seeds and parts of a plant. Most of the vegetable oils you find today have been extracted from canola, corn, soybean, palm, or coconuts. Up until a few years ago, experts believed that vegetable oil was relatively healthy and should be used as an alternative to saturated fats such as butter or lard.
However, recent advanced research has uncovered contradictions to this claim. There may be some proven benefits of vegetable oil, but there are also equally disturbing negative health effects we must not avoid.
Is vegetable oil bad for you? Let’s find out!
Negative Health Effects of Vegetable Oil
1.) Increased Risk of Heart Disease
Previous research showed that individuals who consumed more vegetable oil had lower cholesterol levels than those who intake larger amounts of saturated fats; this, in turn, led to a reduced risk of heart disease. However, recent studies show that this association is not correct. Instead, the consumption of vegetable oil, while it does lower cholesterol, may still increase the risk of heart disease and resulting death from coronary heart diseases.
But why does this happen? Why are seed oils bad?
Research has linked the increased risk of heart disease to the presence of omega-6 polyunsaturated fat linoleic acids in vegetable oils. When vegetable oils are exposed to heat, light, or even oxygen, the omega-6 fatty acids can oxidize. The oxidized linoleic acids can then induce toxic effects on your endothelium (the inner cellular lining of blood vessels), leading to an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
2.) Increased Risk of Arthritis
As we discussed above, vegetable oils, such as corn, sunflower, soy, and safflower, tend to have larger amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids. The excess consumption of omega-6 fatty acids, especially when oxidized, can lead to an increased risk of arthritis. Arthritis, in simple terms, is the swelling of joints of the body; this can happen due to inflammation in your blood vessels.
According to the Arthritis Organization, when consumed in moderation, omega-6 fatty acids won’t do you any harm, but if you consume too much, they may trigger pro-inflammatory chemicals.
3.) Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is one of the most common underlying factors recognized in diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. This type of inflammation usually lasts for prolonged periods, and the longer it is left unaddressed, the more adverse effects it has on your body. It may damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs and promote illnesses such as those mentioned above.
Recent studies have uncovered that the intake of omega-6 seed oils may lead to chronic inflammation in the body.
4.) Trans Fats in Vegetable Oils
Another risk you need to consider is the presence of trans fat, usually as a result of hydrogenation in vegetable oils. Traditionally, the content of trans fat in vegetable oil is lower than in other food products such as butter or margarine, but many studies uncover that this is not always the case, even for non-hydrogenated oils.
One study showed that the trans-fat content in non-hydrogenated vegetable oils was anywhere between 0.56% to 4.2% of the total fatty acids. Excessive intake of trans fats has strongly been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
5.) Risk of Cancer
There is not enough research present to directly link the intake of vegetable oil to death by cancer, but we do know that effects such as oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and genetic damage can result due to vegetable oil intake. These factors are also commonly associated with cancer.
One research analyzed the effects of consuming repeatedly heated vegetable oils on mice after injecting them with breast cancer cells. The study showed that the cancer tumors had grown to nearly 4 times that of mice that consumed fresh oil. This rapid proliferation of cells showed that oxidation in oils due to reheating might be associated with cancer.
So What Oil(s) Should I Use and cook with for Good Health?
After studying the various adverse effects of vegetable oil, you may be worried about your dietary intake. Are all oils to be avoided then?
The answer is, no! Not all oils are bad for you, and certainly not all vegetable oils. There are still some healthier alternatives that do not carry the same adverse health effects. Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, is a strong candidate you should consider for your diet. A high-quality virgin olive oil (extra) is the healthiest olive oil.
One important question to ask and understand is “is olive oil a seed oil?” Olive oil comes under the umbrellas of vegetable oils, but it is not seed oil as it is not extracted from the seeds of the olive so it is not considered a harmful seed oil.
Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Why should you adopt a diet that incorporates extra virgin olive oil? Take a look at the many health benefits it offers and decide for yourself!
1.) Protection Against Inflammation
We have already discussed how information can be a deadly factor for heart disease, arthritis, and increased risk of cancer.
Unlike vegetable oils, extra virgin olive oil tends to reduce inflammation markers. Oleic acid, one of the primary building blocks of olive oil, has been shown to reduce inflammation markers in the body.
2.) Lowered Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of death globally. The intake of vegetable oils has been associated with an increase in this risk.
EVOO oil, on the other hand, shows promising results. Research has also shown that the intake of extra virgin olive oils may lead to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases in human health.
3.) Lowered Risk of Cancer
Extra virgin olive oil (pure olive oil) is rich in oleocanthal. This powerful compound is popularly known to be toxic to cancer cells and can help eliminate cancer cells without affecting healthy cells.
Apart from this, research has also shown that individuals with high levels of olive oil consumption tend to have a 31% lower chance of developing any type of cancer.
4.) Lowered Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Extra virgin olive oil may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among individuals. One study uncovered that those who adopt a diet rich in EVOO tend to have a reduced level of postprandial glucose and LDL-cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol), which are major factors that lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
In short, you can acheive a healthier lifestyle by avoiding Vegetable Oils in your diet and also in cooking. One of the best healthy alternatives is Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOOs)
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