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MB #011: Get 10x Healthier By Removing Seed Oils

food mission briefing Feb 12, 2023

Read time: ~3 Minutes

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Today I’m going to outline how you can reduce systemic inflammation, which is a root cause of most disease in America.

Seed oils, also known as vegetable oils, are used in basically every restaurant for cooking and are found as ingredients in almost every processed and packaged food (including organic). However, studies over the last decade have shed light on the dangers of seed oils and most specifically, their impact on inflammation. Some examples of seed oils are canola, corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, rice bran, and more.

Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to various health problems such as heart disease, leaky gut and extreme digestive issues, chronic and widespread allergies, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

One study that highlights the link between inflammation and heart disease was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999. The study followed a cohort of elderly men over a period of 12 years and found that individuals with higher levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin-1 had an increased risk of developing myocardial infarction (heart attack) compared to those with lower levels. This study helped to demonstrate the important role that inflammation plays in the development of heart disease and has since been supported by many other studies.

So, here are 3 things to learn and remember about seed oils and inflammation:

  1. High Levels of Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Seed oils contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 will contribute to chronic inflammation when consumed in excessive amounts. A study published in the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry" found this outcome exactly during it’s research. It’s worth noting that the average American diet the last 30 years has been incredibly high in omega-6 fatty acids and incredibly low in omega-3 fatty acids. We need both, but the ratio is important, and the foods we buy and eat throw this ratio totally out of whack.
  2. Heating at High Temperatures: A study published in the "International Journal of Molecular Sciences" found that heated vegetable oils can produce toxic compounds that can even further lead to oxidative stress and inflammation beyond consumption of the non-heated form. i.e. cooking with canola, sunflower, or any other seed or vegetable oil is a huge no-no.
  3. Impact on Gut Microbiome: Seed oils can also further contribute to inflammation through their impact on the gut microbiome. A study published in the "Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology" found that a diet high in seed oils can alter the gut microbiome drastically, causing dysbiosis (throwing off the balance of good bacteria vs bad bacteria in the gut) leading to an increase in inflammation. Dysbiosis also causes issues like chronic fatigue, heartburn, food intolerances, inflammation in joints, acne, rashes, ADHD, brain fog, anxiety, and depression. If you want to know if you struggle with dysbiosis, Viome is a great place to get a test.

In light of all of this, I would focus on limiting seed oils in general but especially for home cooking (that is, assuming you're cooking your own food) and instead choose healthier cooking oils. A study published in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that just from switching from a seed oil to olive oil in cooking at home can drastically reduce inflammation markers in the body.

Another study published in the "Lipids in Health and Disease" found that olive oil, in particular, has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce chronic inflammation and counteract a lot of the inflammatory damage that was done through seed oil consumption. 

Not a fan of olive oil? All good. Try coconut oil or avocado oil instead. Those are the 3 myself and most other health professionals recommend as the most health-promoting oils. Avocado and coconut also have a higher "smoke point" meaning they can take higher heat (around 400-500 degrees) without being denatured and creating oxidative stress. 

The dangers of seed oils and their impact on inflammation are a massively growing concern. More and more literature comes out every day highlighting what we discussed about inflammation as the primary culprit of heart disease, diabetes, and so many other chronic illnesses (and not your former adversary saturated fat, who has been absolved of his role).

It's also just disgusting how seed oils are made - check out the chemical solvent process required to make these seed oils edible

With that, it’s a wrap. See you next Sunday!