In our quest for a healthier life, we often read food labels, shop for organic produce, and opt for whole grains or sourdough than than processed or GMO options. However, hiding in our kitchens are seemingly harmless so- called healthy oils that can set our health on a downward spiral ie.  seed oils, trans fats, and margarine.

These common staples in every grocery store have label copy like Heart-Healthy, Cholesterol-Free, Natural or Pure, Non-GMO, Organic.  They are often marketed as healthier alternatives yet can lead to many health conditions like chronic inflammation to heart disease, brain fog, achy joints, sleepless nights and obesity.

Understanding the hidden dangers of these ingredients is crucial for making informed dietary choices that support long-term well-being.

In this blog, you will uncover the truth about seed oils, trans fats, and margarine plus find out about healthier options

Trans Fats:

Big food companies like to hide trans fats from you because they have earned such a bad rap in recent years. That is why trans fats can appear under various names on food labels. Here are some other names and terms that indicate the presence of trans fats:

  1. Partially Hydrogenated Oils: This is the most  alternative  term used in ingredient lists.
  2. Hydrogenated Oils: Not all hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, but most of them.
  3. Shortening: Usually made with partially hydrogenated oils in baked goods and processed foods.
  4. Margarine: Many traditional margarines  contain trans fats,
  5. Vegetable Shortening: This is often used in baking and may contain trans fats.
  6. Vegetable Oil: Look for the word  hydrogenated, to see if the vegetable oil contains trans fats
  7. Baked Goods: Food like  “baked goods or” “baking mixes,” or “pre-baked products” usually contains trans fats.
  8. Snack Foods: Most snack foods contain trans fat: you can always find them in the middle aisles of grocery stores. Avoid at all costs!

These fats can lead to inflammation plus an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions.

Why? They increase “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and lower “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

Highly Processed Vegetable/Seed Oils:

 Seed oils are  potentially harmful to your health due to their high content of omega-6 fatty acids. This can lead to inflammation that is extremely harmful to your health. Here are some common seed oils that may be detrimental to health and the reasons why:

  1. Corn Oil: Highly processed; may contain trans fats; in most cases GMO. Corn oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids that cause inflamation plus an  imbalance in omega-6 to omega-3 ratios.
  2. Soybean Oil: usually genetically modified (GMO) and heavily processed. Also Rich in omega-6 fatty acids that is also associated with potential disruptions in hormone balance due to phytoestrogens.
  3. Sunflower Oil: Highly refined and stripped of beneficial nutrients. Also contains a high amount of omega-6 fatty acids. Due to its instability at high temperatures, it can lead to oxidative stress
  4. Cottonseed Oil: Usually hydrogenated and may contain gossypol that is a toxin that may affect fertility. Also high in omega-6 fatty acids and more than often contains residues of pesticides used in cotton farming.
  5. Canola Oil (Rapeseed Oil): Usually genetically modified  (GMO) which results in the presence of trans fats in most cases. While it may ne lower in omega-6,  it still can contribute to an imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Plus the refining process may strip away beneficial nutrients.

Hydrogenated oils are often used in food processing because they help extend shelf life and enhance the texture of foods.

Margarine: When margarine was introduced, it was marketed as a healthy alternative to butter…unfortunately margarine may be the worse substitute for butter. In addition to trans fats, margarine also contains:

  1. High Levels of Processed Fats: Margarine is made from vegetable oils that are chemically processed. These oils are often high in omega-6 fatty acids but low in omega-3 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation when consumed in large amounts relative to omega-3s.
  2. Artificial Ingredients: To achieve a butter-like consistency and improve shelf life, margarines often contain additives, artificial flavors, and colorants, which may raise health concerns for some people.
  3. Impact on Heart Health: Some studies suggest that the consumption of certain types of margarine might be linked to a higher risk of heart disease compared to consuming butter or other sources of saturated fats. This is primarily due to the presence of trans fats in some margarines, although many brands have started to reformulate their products to remove these fats.

Reasons for Potential Harm:

  • Inflammation: High omega-6 fatty acid content promotes chronic inflammation that is linked to heart disease, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders.
  • Trans Fats: Processing and hydrogenation creates trans fats that are associated with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
  • Oxidative Stress: Seed oils are unstable at high temperatures that leads to   the formation of harmful free radicals that can destroy your healthy cells
  • Nutrient Stripping: Refining processes often removes the good stuff like beneficial vitamins, minerals and enzymes plus antioxidants.

Conclusion:

Some oils can be very healthy, but you need to do your homework. Check the sources and read the labels

Insiders Health Tip:   Choose alternatives like real butter ( preferably grass fed) or other spreads or oils like Ghee, Tallow, Avocado Oil, and Olive Oil. They are lower in processed fats and free from trans fats.

If you still would like to use some of the traditional oils, choose any of the following:

  • Olive Oil: Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, and less prone to oxidation. However we sure to choose olive oil from one source only. Many of the cheaper versions use oils from different countries and are of much lower quality
  • Avocado Oil: is higher in monounsaturated fats and thus more stable at high temperatures.
  • Coconut Oil: High quality avocado oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that may offer various health benefits, be sure, however to use only in moderation due to its high saturated fat content.
  • Flaxseed Oil: Very high in omega-3 fatty acids that  beneficial for balancing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and great for your heart, joints and brain

References:

(1)https://www.zeroacre.com/blog/are-seed-oils-toxic

(2)https://chriskresser.com/how-industrial-seed-oils-are-making-us-sick/

(3)https://health.clevelandclinic.org/seed-oils-are-they-actually-toxic

(4)https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/scientists-debunk-seed-oil-health-risks/

(5)https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/are-seed-oils-bad-for-you

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