Disclaimer: Vegetable oils are routinely recommended as “heart healthy.” There is evidence which shows that replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils reduces LDL cholesterol levels. But at this point, there is inconsistent evidence whether this translates into fewer heart attacks.
In my eyes, referring to what accounts for 20% of the average American’s calories as “vegetable oil” is one of the most dangerous and misleading marketing tricks of the 20th century.
By simply using the word “vegetable”, many people are duped into believing this toxic liquid is actually healthy.
Well let me make it clear to you, it’s anything but healthy.
In this article, we’re going to explore exactly why it’s terrible for you, as well as the infinitely healthier options you can use instead.
So, without further ado, let’s see why vegetable oil is public enemy number 1.
5 Reasons Why Vegetable Oil is Bad For You
1. Vegetable Oil is high in Omega 6 fatty acids
First, let me preface this point by saying Omega-6 fatty acids aren’t bad per se.
In fact, both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are essential, meaning that your body can’t produce them so they must be obtained from your diet.
But for a long, long time, us humans have had an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of around 1:1.
Nowadays, thanks to the huge increase in use of vegetable oil, this ratio is believed to be around a whopping 20:1 in favour of Omega-6!
This is bad news as many studies have shown that a high Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation.
Want to reduce inflammation? Then lower your Omega-6 intake and increase your Omega-3 intake.
2. Vegetable Oil is highly processed
I’m fairly certain that if everyone knew how vegetable oil was made, almost no-one would consume the stuff.
Step 1: The seeds are collected from whichever plant is to be used for the oil.
(Generally, either corn, canola, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower or grapeseed.)
Step 2: The seeds are heated to extremely high temperatures and are placed under enormous pressure.
(Just like machine oil would…)
Step 3: For further extraction, Hexane, a Gasoline solvent is added.
Step 4: Since step 3 makes the oil smell so revolting, bleach and deodorant are added to make this toxic gunk actually palatable.
(Apparently, there are 21 stages required to bleach and deodorize the oil so that it’s “fit for consumption”.)
Now I don’t know about you, but I would NEVER touch any food if I knew it had been bleached and/or deodorized.
3. Vegetable Oil is unstable to heat
Vegetable oil is composed primarily of polyunsaturated fatty acids, otherwise known as PUFAs.
At a molecular level, PUFAs have 2 places where oxygen can chemically react, which makes oxygen billions of times more likely to bind to the fat.
In other words, vegetable oil is much more prone to oxidation than monounsaturated or saturated fats.
And this is where it gets ugly…
When fats are oxidized, large quantities of free radicals are formed. These have been shown to damage bodily tissues, as well as promote inflammation.
(It’s actually believed that free radicals are responsible for making fried food crispy. So rather than actually cooking your food, you’re nuking it with free radicals which makes it stiff and inflexible, i.e. crispy. I think I’ll pass on that one.)
4. Vegetable Oil fuels Cancer
Vegetable oil is like plant food to Cancer.
So, with 20% of the average American’s calories coming from vegetable oil, it’s no surprise that cancer rates are increasing year after year.
(In fact, it’s believed that 1 in 2 men will get Cancer over their lifetime. A truly shocking statistic.)
So how does vegetable oil promote Cancer?
Well as we’ve already covered, vegetable oils are full of nasty free radicals.
These free radicals are capable of causing mutations to your genes.
When genes are mutated, this can give rise to Cancer.
(For example, we have tumor suppressor genes which prevent Cancer when they’re working as they should, but mutations can stop them from doing their job properly.)
Don’t just take my word for it though, many studies demonstrate Cancer’s hunger for vegetable oil.
For example, one study analysed the fatty acids present in the subcutaneous fat of 100 Melanoma patients and 100 control subjects.
The results showed that the Melanoma patients had a much higher percentage of PUFAs in their subcutaneous fat compared to the control group.
This suggests that PUFAs (primarily found in vegetable oil) may drive Melanoma.
Another study looked at how different types of fat affected tumor progression in Rats.
The results showed that tumor progression was actually reduced when rats were fed saturated fats (i.e. Lard or Coconut oil), but this reduction was reversed when even a small amount of vegetable oil was added.
In other words, saturated fat slowed down the rate of tumor growth, whereas PUFAs (i.e. vegetable oil) increased the rate of tumor growth.
5. Vegetable Oil causes Heart Disease
It’s well established that eating saturated fat causes heart disease, right?
The war on saturated fat began when Ancel Keys revealed the results from his famous “Six-Countries Study”.
Using all of the available data, the study showed that there was a poor relationship between fat intake and heart disease.
But Keys only published the data for the 6 countries with the highest Margarine use…
(Margarine is made from hydrogenated vegetable oil and is full of trans fat. In other words, it’s just as bad, if not worse than Vegetable Oil.)
As a result of this, we’ve been told to believe that natural saturated fats (i.e. Butter, Lard and Tallow), which humans have been eating for years with minimal fuss, are somehow the cause of heart disease.
Ok then, so what causes heart disease? I hear you ask.
Well, thanks to repeated (ab)use of vegetable oil and sugar, your arterial walls become damaged and “fried” so badly that they can rupture.
Your body tries to fix these damaged sections with protein, calcium and cholesterol, which are known as stable plaques.
When these stable plaques experience even more inflammation and damage from continued vegetable oil use, they become weaker and are now unstable plaques.
These unstable plaques are dangerous because they can burst, bleed and clot.
And that my friend, is how a heart attack happens.
So, it’s a blood clot, not fat, that shuts off the flow of blood, which is why Doctors treat heart attacks with clot busters, not fat busters.
Best Substitutes For Vegetable Oil
Okay, so now that we’ve covered why vegetable oil is so terrible, let’s look at the healthy alternatives you can use.
1. Olive Oil
Olive Oil is made primarily of monounsaturated fatty acids, otherwise known as MUFAs.
These are much less prone to oxidation than PUFAs meaning olive oil can handle the heat involved in processing and cooking.
Unlike vegetable oil, olive oil is extracted fairly naturally and doesn’t need bleached/deodorized to make it edible, since it’s naturally tasty.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is mainly composed of saturated fatty acids, which everyone knows as saturated fat.
(You know, the type of fat that was wrongly demonized for heart disease?)
This makes it great for cooking as saturated fats are the most stable when it comes to heat exposure.
And since it has a neutral taste, you can use it to cook pretty much anything!
By now, you hopefully know just how toxic and unappealing this substance we know as vegetable oil actually is.
And if you think this article is a declaration of war on vegetable oil, then you’re absolutely right.
If you (or a loved one) are currently consuming it (whether that’s cooking with it, or eating processed foods that contain it), do the right thing and stop. Now.
As we’ve just covered, there are natural tasty alternatives that are actually healthy so there’s literally no reason not to.
See you soon.