Seed oils are just about everywhere—even at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Most people don’t even know about the dangers they pose, yet they’re unbelievably common in all kinds of foods many people buy every single day.
Today, we’re going to dive into seed oils—the reasons that seed oils can cause inflammation (and what that even is), how that can affect our weight, chronic conditions and mood, and what we can do to avoid them in our day-to-day shopping.
What are seed oils?
Seed oils include soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, and peanut oil. Cate Shanahan calls these oils the “hateful 8.” The extreme process they go through to be ready for consumption is extreme, involving several chemical solvents. And seed oils are found everywhere, from oat milk, packaged foods, roasted nuts, salad dressings, in most restaurants, and more. And the main reason they’re so bad for you is because they cause serious levels of inflammation in the body.
What is inflammation?
There are two main types of inflammation: Acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is when it’s noticeable via redness or swelling, as if from a cut or a sore throat. Chronic inflammation is in some ways more subtle or rather difficult to detect. It happens when this response lingers, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Over time, chronic inflammation may have a negative impact on your tissues and organs. It also plays a role in a range of conditions, from cancer, to heart disease, to diabetes – basically all chronic diseases.
Food can be can anti-inflammatory, such as salmon and other omega-3 foods. They can also be inflammatory, with omega-6 fats being the opposite.
What should you do?
Decrease seed oils where you can. Be mindful to ask what oil is used in the dressing or what fish is cooked in when you’re eating out, especially if it’s a regular for you. You can also increase your omega-3 intake via fish, chia, hemp, and walnuts.