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January 19, 2022 •

Is soybean oil healthy? What about corn oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil?

Is soybean oil healthy? What about corn oil, safflower oil, or sunflower oil? Today I want to remind you why and how to limit your omega 6 oils!

Omega 6 oils have flooded the American food supply over the past 60 years. They include soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. These “refined vegetable oils” as they are typically referred, are found in almost all processed foods. Indeed, the consumption of soybean oil, the processed food industry’s pet oil, has increased 1000 fold since 1909!

Unfortunately, Omega 6 oils feed into the pro-inflammatory pathways in the body. Too much omega 6 fat is bad thing. When we consume excessive amounts of omega 6 oils, our pro-inflammatory pathways go on overdrive.

To add insult to injury, omega 6 fats are in a direct, one to one competition with the anti-inflammatory and super-important omega 3 fats. For every omega 6 fat in your system that is one less opportunity for omega 3 fats to do their good deeds. Optimal ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 fats are estimated to be about 2/1. Sadly, the average American consumes a ratio closer to 14-20/1! No wonder inflammatory-based diseases are rampant!

In addition to  the plethora of omega 6 laden processed foods, the meat of conventionally raised livestock (not grass fed or free range) are an additional source of these ubiquitous fats – thanks to the corn and soybeans industrial farmers use as feed. 

Here is your Plan of Action for Limiting Your Intake of Omega 6 Oils

  1. Do not buy soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or corn oil. 
  2. In leu of the oils above, choose extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). This anti-inflammatory oil should be your oil of choice for room temp  and moderate heat food preparation. For high heat food prep (above 400 degrees) choose organic expeller pressed canola oil, avocado oil, or sesame oil. 
  3. Avoid processed foods that lists one of the omega 6 oils  as the first or second ingredient. Most bottled salad dressings & mayonnaise are notoriously high in omega 6 oils. Make your own salad dressing with EVOO and look for mayo made with canola oil, olive oil or avocado oil. Thankfully, these varieties are now widely available in standard grocery stores. Snack foods and classic junk foods are yet another infamous source of omega 6 oils. Check the ingredients list for these oils if you are purchasing a processed, snack food (which I hope you rarely do). 
  4. Avoid fried foods, especially in restaurants and  from Fast Food outlets. Omega 6 oils are favored oils for restaurant-based fried foods. 
  5. Minimize your intake of conventionally raised red meat – beef, pork and lamb. For your red meat, choose grass fed or free range varieties or wild game if available and within your budget.

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