EAT YOUR VEGGIES (But not vegetable oil!)

*Photo credit: Cottonseed Oil (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)

~By Sheila Garcia

Many people think that vegetable oil is healthy, but consumption of vegetable oil can actually lead to structural changes within our fat storage and within our very cell membranes. How is it that so many people are fooled into ingesting large amounts of processed and pesticide-contaminated oils that are killing them slowly? Is it because of the word vegetable or is it because of the term ‘all natural’ that the uneducated people population pour in the hydrogenated rapeseed oil and the hexane vapor-laden polyunsaturated “dirty fuel”?

But wait!  Vegetables are good for you, right?  Shouldn’t vegetable oil be good for your organs and your blood? What if it’s cold-pressed!? What’s if it’s “extra-virgin”? What if you don’t cook it at high heat? What if you do? These are the pressing questions that have Americans confused and running on saturated toxic fat and empty calories.

Vegetable oils contribute to inflammation – Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are used to make substances called eicosanoids in the body. These are modified fatty acids that sit in the cell membranes. There, they play a crucial role in bodily functions like cellular messaging, immunity and inflammation. If you’ve ever taken aspirin or ibuprofen and noticed relief from headache or some kind of pain, then that’s because these drugs inhibit the eicosanoid pathways and reduce inflammation.

Whereas acute inflammation is good and helps your body heal from damage (such as when you step on a lego), having chronic, systemic inflammation all over your body is very bad.  Generally speaking, eicosanoids made from Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while those made from Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.These different fatty acids compete with each other. The more Omega-6 you have, the more Omega-3 you need. The less Omega-6 you have, the less Omega-3 you need.  Having high Omega-6 AND low Omega-3 is a recipe for disaster, but this is the case for people eating a Western diet.

Put simply, a diet that is high in Omega-6 but low in Omega-3 contributes to inflammation. A diet that has balanced amounts of both Omega-6 and Omega-3 reduces inflammation.  It is now believed that increased inflammation can contribute to various serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, depression and even cancer.

Vegetable oils are loaded with trans fats – Trans fats are unsaturated fats that are modified to be solid at room temperature.  These fats are highly toxic and are associated with an increased risk of various diseases, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.  They are so bad that even the governments around the world have started taking action, setting laws that command food manufacturers to reduce the trans fat content of their foods.

However, a little known fact is that vegetable oils often contain massive amounts of trans fats.

In one study that looked at soybean and canola oils found on store shelves in the U.S., about 0.56% to 4.2% of the fatty acids in them were toxic trans fats.  If you want to reduce your exposure to trans fats (you should) then it’s not enough to avoid common trans fat sources like cookies and processed baked goods, you also need to avoid vegetable oils.

So what should you eat instead of dangerous, rancid, GMO laden vegetable oils? Healthy, traditional fats.

That means:

Tropical Oils (organic, unrefined forms are best)
Palm (sustainably sourced only)

Animal Fats (from pastured/grass-fed, organic sources)
Butter or Ghee
Lard (pig fat)
Tallow (beef fat)
Schmaltz (chicken fat)
Duck fat
Full fat dairy
Fat found in pastured meats, eggs
High-fat seafood (wild caught)

Healthy Oils from Vegetable Sources
organic, extra virgin, cold-pressed

olive oil (can be used at low to medium heat for light sauteeing)
sesame oil
flaxseed oil (in very small amounts)
nut oils (walnut, pecan, macadamia)
nuts & seeds(including nut & seed butters)

canola oil
corn oil
cottonseed oil
vegetable blend oil
soybean oil
safflower oil
grapeseed oil
sunflower oil
rice bran oil
margarine and other “buttery” spreads
hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils

Ultimately, the choice is yours.  How do you want to build your legacy in life?  Do you want to be healthy from the inside-out?  Do you want to pass along better choices to your friends, family, and loved ones?  It starts with how you prepare the food you ingest.  So eat your veggies!  Just be careful about the oil you prepare them in……you’ll notice the difference in how you feel, and even how much more clearly you think!

Veg up, oil down!

Some sources for this article:
Natural Sciences Program