April 25, 2018 0

The Problems With Refined Vegetable Oils

Posted by:Dr. Brian Mowll onApril 25, 2018

If you’ve always believed vegetable oils were good for you, you’re not alone. First, they’ve got the word vegetable right in there, so you’re kind of tricked into thinking these oils are healthy.

Then there was all the advertising that hypnotized us into believing traditional fats like butter, lard and coconut oil were bad while canola, corn, cottonseed, and soybean oils were good. We were told by “health experts” that saturated fats would clog our arteries and give us heart attacks, and that we should avoid them at all costs.

Many of us did, turning instead to the highly-refined and processed oils that line grocery shelves. But what happened when we began cooking with corn, canola, soybean and safflower oil? Incidents of diabetes [1] and heart disease [2] skyrocketed.

And yet big organizations like The American Heart Association and even our own government’s dietary guidelines continued to push the narrative that saturated fats like butter were bad while highly-unstable and oxidative oils like canola were good.

“These highly unstable, highly inflammatory oils were given a gigantic push by advisory groups we trusted, including the American Heart Association, the National Education Cholesterol Program, the National Institutes of Health and even our government’s own dietary guidelines. Many well-respected scientists and our doctors told us to stop using saturated fats and use the polyunsaturated fats instead.” – Dr. Mark Hyman

It’s no wonder so many people are still confused about all of this.

Why Vegetable Oils Should Not Be Part of Your Diet

How did the myth that vegetable oils were healthier than animal fats even get started? This old idea comes from the belief that eating cholesterol, like the kind found in lard and butter, raises your total and LDL (the lousy kind) cholesterol, leading to disease like heart disease and diabetes. But that theory has been blown out of the water.

What everyone should have been talking about was the importance of a balanced omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. You see, our ancestors, who lived primarily on animal protein and fats, consumed far more omega-3 fats than they did omega-6 fats found in vegetable oils. The meat your grandparents and their parents ate was pasture-raised, organic, grass-fed and contained no hormones or antibiotics. There was simply no other kind of meat to eat. Imagine.

But then the “experts” began to tell us we needed to move away from the diet we had eaten for thousands of years of evolution and begin eating something man-made (never a good idea!). And so, we began to eat far more omega-6 than omega-3, the proverbial cow patty hit the fan, and we began to become sicker and sicker.

What’s the Deal with Omega-6?

Omega-6 and omega-3 are sort of the yin and yang of polyunsaturated fatty acids. While omega-3s, found in fish and wild game meats, decrease inflammation throughout the body, omega-6 fuels your body’s inflammatory pathways while at the same time, reduces the availability of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats in your tissues. This results in, you guessed it, even more inflammation!

So, when your omega-3 and omega-6 ratios are off and you are eating far more omega-6 than omega-3, it’s like you’re not eating any omega-3. The omega-6 simply strips your body of all omega-3 benefits.

“Most Americans consume too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s. It’s important to balance omega-6 and omega-3 intake to keep the ratios in balance.” – Dr. Josh Axe

The bottom line is, when we eat too many omega-6 fats found in vegetable oils, we increase our chances of developing inflammatory diseases like:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Macular degeneration (eye damage and blindness)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Autoimmune disease

What Fats and Oils Should You Eat?

We need to go back to our natural way of eating. Our grandparents and their grandparents were far healthier than we are today. There simply were no where near the rates of obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease or diabetes that there are today, thanks to our modern diet laden with hidden sugar and vegetable oils!

So, what types of fat and oils should we be eating?

Extra-Virgin, Cold-Pressed, Organic Coconut Oil

This oil not only makes food taste extra delicious, it is an excellent source of fuel for the body and is highly anti-inflammatory.

Extra-Virgin, Cold-Pressed, Organic Olive Oil

You’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet that relies heavily on olive oil as a healthy fat. Olive oil contains 73% of a fatty acid called oleic acid, which reduces inflammation and may have beneficial effects [3] on genes linked to cancer.

Grass-Fed Meats and Butter

Commercially-raised cattle are fed mostly corn and corn byproducts that raise the omega-6 ratio of the resulting meat. Our ancestors ate free-range, grass-fed meats and eggs. This ensures we get more of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids in our diet.


These green gems are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids as well as fiber. Try to eat one or two a week. They are excellent tossed in a salad or added to a veggie sandwich.

Fatty Fish

Cold water fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fats, and we now know the many health benefits [4] of omega-3s.

The Bottom Line:

Do your best to reduce or avoid any refined vegetable oils. They are unstable and incredibly poor for your health. Make a choice to instead use organic coconut or extra virgin olive oils, along with grass-fed butter. Yes, these may cost a bit more than the cheap vegetable oils, but isn’t your health worth it?


[1] Journal Article

Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, PHD12 and Leila Azadbakht, PHD12, Consumption of Hydrogenated Versus Nonhydrogenated Vegetable Oils and Risk of Insulin Resistance and the Metabolic Syndrome Among Iranian Adult Women;  Diabetes Care 2008 Feb; 31(2): 223-226

[2] Journal Article

Drs. Richard Bazinet, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto and Michael Chu, Lawson Health Research Institute and Division of Cardiac Surgery, Western University, London, Ontario;  Some ‘healthy’ vegetable oils may actually increase risk of heart disease;  Canadian Medical Association Journal

[3] Journal Article

Arpita Basu, Sridevi Devaraj, Ishwarlal Jialal, Dietary Factors That Promote or Retard Inflammation;  Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2006;26:995-1001

[4] Journal Article

Danielle SwansonRobert Block, and Shaker A. Mousa, Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life; Adv Nutr. 2012 Jan; 3(1): 1–7.

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