Seity Collective Wellbeing made simple

16th march 2023

Demystifying Seed Oils: Separating Fact from Fiction in Health and Nutrition


The health implications of seed oils have been a subject of debate among nutrition experts for quite some time. Many argue that seed oils are harmful, leading to inflammation, gut damage, and containing undesirable byproducts from the refining process. However, a closer examination of the research surrounding seed oils reveals that refined seed oils may not be as detrimental as some sources suggest.


It is essential to acknowledge that during the refining process, phytochemicals (plant compounds) with antioxidant and other beneficial properties are lost, and minimal amounts of trans fats are formed. For this reason, whole foods such as seeds, nuts, and avocados are considered the superior sources of healthy fats. These whole foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect the fats from becoming rancid.


Seed oils are extracted from various seed types, including canola (rapeseed), grape-seed, corn, rice bran, safflower, soy, and sunflower seeds. These oils are rich in polyunsaturated fats, which are essential for human health. Seed oils contain two critical polyunsaturated fatty acids - linoleic acid, an omega-6 fat that has been unfairly criticized, and the widely-celebrated omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid. Canola oil, in particular, is an abundant source of omega-3 fat.


The fats present in seed oils offer numerous cardiovascular health benefits. These fats are primarily poly- and monounsaturated, and consuming these types of fats reduces blood cholesterol levels. When individuals consume a canola oil-rich diet, their LDL cholesterol decreases. High blood cholesterol, in conjunction with inflammation, is a significant contributor to arterial disease. Thus, it is logical that consuming the types of fats found in seed oils reduces the risk of heart attacks.


Contrary to popular belief, seed oil consumption is also linked to reduced inflammation. Some may argue that seed oils promote inflammation due to their omega-6 fats; however, this is not the case. Numerous clinical studies have found a correlation between higher omega-6 fat consumption from oils and lower inflammation rates. Omega-6 fats, when consumed in appropriate amounts, possess anti-inflammatory properties. It is crucial to maintain a balanced diet of omega-6 and omega-3 fats to prevent inflammation.

The assertion that seed oils negatively impact gut health lacks research support. Some studies have demonstrated that seed oil consumption can improve gut health. For instance, a study on rats found that canola oil consumption increased beneficial gut bacteria, leading to reduced gut inflammation. Another study discovered that a diet high in polyunsaturated fats, like those found in seed oils, resulted in an increased number of beneficial gut bacteria, subsequently enhancing gut health.

The notion that seed oils become toxic to the human body is unfounded. Although polyunsaturated fats can react with oxygen and become rancid, proper storage and usage of seed oils can easily prevent this. Seed oils should be stored in a cool, dark place and used within a few months of opening. Moreover, seed oils should be used at the appropriate temperature; high heat can cause seed oils to smoke and produce harmful compounds. Low to medium heat is recommended for cooking with seed oils.

Some individuals may propose that coconut oil and butter are superior to seed oils. However, research does not support this claim. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, coconut oil does not provide essential fatty acids, such as linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid, which are abundant in seed oils. Butter, on the other hand, contains high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol, which can adversely affect cardiovascular health.

It is also important to note that some oat milks may contain rapeseed oil, a type of seed oil. Although refined seed oils are not as desirable as the whole foods from which they are derived, there is no evidence to suggest that consuming small amounts of seed oils in oat milk is harmful. In fact, as previously mentioned, seed oil consumption can have a positive impact on health.

In conclusion, the controversy surrounding seed oils in the health and nutrition field may be overblown. A deeper examination of the research has not found evidence that refined seed oils are as harmful as some claim. Seed oils are high in essential polyunsaturated fats, which offer benefits for cardiovascular health and are associated with reduced inflammation. Claims that seed oils are detrimental to gut health and that they become toxic to the human body are not supported by research.

Moreover, it is essential to use seed oils properly by storing them in a cool, dark place, using them within a few months of opening the bottle, and using them at the right temperature for cooking. While whole foods like seeds, nuts, and avocados are the best ways to consume healthy fats, consuming small amounts of seed oils in products like oat milk is not harmful. It is crucial to consider the context and use seed oils appropriately to maximize their health benefits