Oils: The Good, The Bad, and the Fine Line Between Them
Vegetable oils have become a ubiquitous presence in our modern diet, thanks in part to their affordability and availability. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that vegetable oils may not be as healthy as we once thought, and that they may even be harmful to our health.
Vegetable oils have a high content of omega-6 fatty acids, which doesn’t bode well for our health. (Remember: good things come in 3’s; it’s omega-3’s that we want). While our bodies do need some omega-6s for healthy functioning, excessive consumption of these fats can lead to chronic inflammation and may contribute to chronic health issues. Unfortunately, many vegetable oils, especially corn, soybean, and sunflower oil, contain overly high levels of omega-6s.
Vegetable oils also contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which are highly unstable and prone to oxidation. When these oils are heated or exposed to light, they can produce harmful compounds that have been linked to DNA damage and chronic inflammation.. Generally speaking, these vegetable oils are health hazards. 😳
In contrast, there are some oils that can actually be good for us 👀 (I’m looking at you avocado oil and olive oils) That’s right! Olive oil has been shown to have many health benefits when consumed in moderation. According to healthline.com, “Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant. The primary fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which studies have shown may have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.” Funny enough, olive oil and avocado oil shouldn’t even be classified with the other vegetable oils listed above because, well…avocados🥑 and olives 🫒 are fruits. At least, that’s the easy way to distinguish between the types of oils. More on the crux of why vegetable oils aren’t good for our health in contrast to other options, below. But first, let’s just dip into the one of the amazing benefits of olive oil:
It turns out, consuming healthy oils like olive oil can actually help with weight loss goals. (Uhm, 👋 hello Wellness 90 Program from the Youngevity Better Health Movement) Wait!…oil can actually help us LOSE weight? It’s true! 🤯 This is because healthy oils, like olive oil, can help us feel fuller for longer periods of time. When we feel full, we’re less likely to overeat or snack on unhealthy foods, which can help us maintain a calorie deficit and promote healthy, balanced weight loss.
It’s important to note that heating olive oil to high temperatures can cause it to break down and lose some of its health benefits, so it’s best to use it in low-heat cooking, salad dressings, or as a finishing oil. And again, always in moderation.
So what can we do when we need something to cook with, but want to keep a healthful diet? 🤷♂️
The answer might surprise you…it’s butter! 🧈 Cooking with butter can be a healthier alternative to cooking with vegetable oils for a number of reasons. First, butter is natural and minimally processed, which means it contains fewer additives and chemicals compared to many vegetable oils. Secondly, butter has a high smoke point, which means it can withstand higher cooking temperatures without breaking down and producing harmful compounds. This makes butter a great alternative for high-heat cooking methods like pan frying and sauteing! Lastly, butter contains healthy fats that are beneficial for our health. It’s a good source of butyric acid, which has been shown to improve gut health and reduce inflammation. It’s also high in vitamin A and vitamin D, which are important for immune function and bone health.
Now, while butter may be a good solution for cooking, especially at high heat, like most good things in life , it should be used in moderation. As a high calorie food, overconsumption of it can lead to heart health issues .
A good rule of thumb when thinking about the foods we eat is that we want it as close to natural and whole as possible. Anything that falls outside of that, as a result of being moderately processed, try to use in moderation. And anything that’s more highly processed (i.e. further from being recognized by its original form), try to avoid when possible. Note: If you’re interested in a quick primer on the spectrum of processed foods and what defines processed, this article from MSU is great.) Vegetable oils fall into the category of overly processed, so let’s keep those on our avoid list. And if you’re ever wondering whether a certain food is healthy or not, send us an email 📧 to: HealthQuestions@Youngevity.com. We’re happy to help!