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The rise of seeds oils + how they mess with metabolism

Seed oils – have you heard of them? To many they’re a hot button topic while, but for most people they’re still flying under the radar. If you look them up on tiktok they’re either portrayed as poisons that are catastrophic to your health – or nutritional must haves. We delve into why seed oils can be detrimental to your health and how they disrupt metabolism.

 

WHAT ARE SEED OILS?

Seed oils, also known as vegetable oils, are extracted from seeds like soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, rapeseed and cottonseed. They are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly omega-6 fatty acids. While our bodies need a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the modern diet often skews heavily towards omega-6, primarily due to the widespread use of seed oils.

 

POLYUNSATURATED FATS

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-6, are essential fats that our bodies cannot produce and must be obtained from our diet. The argument in favor of seed oils would point to them as a source of these essential fatty acids.

The issue with seeds oils lies in:

1) Processing methods which often include harmful toxins such as bleach.

2) Excessive amounts can lead to health problems, yet they can be found in nearly every processed grocery store food item, and make up 10% of the average American’s daily calorie intake.

THE RISE OF SEED OILS

Cost-effectiveness is the driving factor behind the meteoric rise in popularity of seed oils. Compared to other cooking oils like olive or coconut, which often require specific climates and labor-intensive harvesting processes, seeds such as soybeans and sunflowers can be grown in a wide range of environments, leading to larger yields and lower production costs. This abundance translates into lower prices for consumers and food manufacturers alike, making seed oils a practical choice for large-scale food production and everyday cooking.

In addition to being inexpensive, seed oils offer a neutral flavor profile that blends well with various cuisines and dishes. This versatility has further contributed to their widespread adoption in both household kitchens and industrial food processing.

 

HOW SEED OILS ARE PROCESSED + REFINED

1. Extraction Methods

Seed oils are typically extracted using one of two primary methods: mechanical pressing or solvent extraction.

Mechanical Pressing: Mechanical pressing involves pressing the seeds at high pressure to extract the oil. This method is primarily used for seeds with higher oil content, such as sunflower seeds. It's a straightforward process that does not involve the use of chemicals, making it appealing to those seeking minimally processed oils.

Solvent Extraction: For seeds with lower oil content or when higher yields are required, solvent extraction is employed. The most common solvent used is hexane, a petroleum-derived solvent known for its efficiency in extracting oils. Hexane exposure has been linked to potential health risks such as neurotoxicity and respiratory issues, although levels in food products are regulated and considered safe by authorities.

2. Refining Process

Once the oil is extracted, it undergoes refining processes to improve its quality, stability, and shelf-life.

During refining processes like deodorization (to change color and flavor so the end product is palatable) and bleaching (to remove trace metals and other impurities), oils are exposed to high temperatures and chemical agents (like acids and bleaching earth). While these refining steps are crucial for producing oils that meet quality standards and consumer preferences, they can have potential health implications:

  • Formation of Trans Fats: High-temperature processing methods like deodorization can lead to the formation of trans fats from unsaturated fats, which are linked to metabolic diseases.

  • Oxidation: Exposure to high heat and oxygen during refining can lead to oxidation of the oils, forming free radicals and other toxic compounds that contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress when consumed.

  • Residual Chemicals: Despite efforts to remove solvents and other chemicals, trace amounts may remain in the final oil product, raising concerns about long-term health effects from chronic exposure.

     

    HEALTH IMPACTS

    Seed oils, particularly those high in omega-6 fatty acids like soybean oil, have become dominant in modern diets. The average American's intake of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is estimated to be around 16:1, significantly higher than the recommended ratio of 4:1 or lower for optimal health. This imbalance is associated with extensive negative health impacts, particularly metabolic diseases. Here’s why:

    Inflammation

    An imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio creates chronic inflammation in the body. Omega-6 fatty acids are precursors to pro-inflammatory molecules. When consumed in large amounts, they can tip the balance towards a pro-inflammatory state in the body. Chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and certain cancers.

    Cellular Damage

    A healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is crucial for maintaining proper cellular function. Omega-6 fatty acids are incorporated into cellular membranes, including those of mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell). An imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can alter the composition and fluidity of mitochondrial membranes, impacting their ability to generate energy (ATP) efficiently and maintain cellular homeostasis.

    Oxidative Stress

    Omega 6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are highly susceptible to oxidation. When seed oils are exposed to heat, light, or air, they can form harmful compounds called free radicals. These free radicals can damage mitochondria, cells, proteins, and DNA, contributing to aging and chronic diseases.

    Insulin Resistance

    Excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids can interfere with insulin signaling, leading to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a key feature of metabolic syndrome and a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

    Fat Metabolism

    Seed oils can alter the way our bodies metabolize fats. They can increase the production of triglycerides and lower HDL (good) cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

    Metabolic Hormone Imbalance

    Polyunsaturated fats can affect the production and function of hormones involved in metabolism, such as leptin and adiponectin. Disruptions in these hormones can lead to issues like increased appetite, weight gain, and impaired fat storage and utilization.

    OMEGA 3 SUPER+

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    HOW TO MINIMIZE SEED OIL CONSUMPTION

    Seed oils are found in many processed foods, including salad dressings, sauces, baked goods, and fried foods. Even so-called “healthy” foods often contain seed oils. This widespread use makes it challenging to avoid them, but not impossible.

    Read Labels: Be vigilant about checking ingredient lists on packaged foods. Look for the terms like soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil.

    Cook at Home: Preparing meals at home allows you to control the ingredients you use. Opt for healthier cooking oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.

    Choose Whole Foods: Focus on a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins are less likely to contain hidden seed oils.

    Increase Omega-3 Intake: Balance your omega-6 intake with omega-3-rich foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, and supplement an Omega 3 supplement.

    METABOLISM + OMEGA 3 SET

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    Omega 3 Super+ delivers the foundational nutrients your body needs, EPA, DPA, and DHA in their most pure, natural and freshest forms– to facilitate efficient energy production, blood sugar balance, and ability to build muscle mass – key factors that supercharge the clinically proven weight loss results of Metabolism Ignite.

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    SHOP NOW

    By understanding the negative effects of excessive omega-6 fatty acids and taking steps to minimize seed oil consumption, you can protect your metabolism and overall health. Prioritize a balanced diet with healthier fats to support your body’s needs and promote long-term well-being.

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