Seed oils: what are they? What you should know about the “Hateful Eight” Food Group

Seed oils: what are they? What you should know about the “Hateful Eight” Food Group

It’s likely that if you’ve heard anything about seed oils, it was in the context of how bad they are for you.

A number of restaurant chains declared last year that they would stop using seed oils. Sweetgreen has shifted to utilizing just olive oil. Shake Shack stopped using soy oil. Hopdoddy, a burger brand with headquarters in Texas, was the first to abandon seed oil. Certain sauces and condiments are now available without seed oils.

Seed Oils: What are they?

Canola, corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, soybean, sunflower, rice bran, and peanut oils are examples of seed oils. This group is sometimes called the “hateful eight” and is held accountable for an extensive range of health issues.

“Seed oils are typically high in omega-6, which on their own are not inherently inflammatory,” registered dietitian Caroline Thomason tells. But, she adds, “most Americans already consume enough omega-6s and do not get enough of omega-3 fatty acids. This imbalance of too many omega-6 fatty acids and too few omega-3 fatty acids is the bigger problem at play here.”

Regarding the consumption of seed oils, Thomason suggests that high-oleic sunflower oil is a better choice. “And make sure that you also get plenty of omega-3 in your diet by choosing fatty fish like salmon — Alaskan salmon has the highest omega-3 content — walnuts or chia seeds,” she continues.

Olive Oil: Is it a Seed Oil?

Certain vegetable-based oils, such as sunflower, grapeseed, and canola oils, are also categorized as members of the seed oil family if they are derived from vegetable seeds. However, olive oil isn’t regarded as a seed oil.

Which Oil is the Healthiest?

Thomason would argue that olive oil is the finest because it has “the most positive research and the least negative research behind it for our health.” Numerous studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory and heart disease-prevention properties of olive oil.

Overall, nevertheless, the term “healthy” in nutrition is laden. Nutrition experts emphasize that there is no one best food; rather, there is no one size fits all solution.

“If you think of your nutrition choices as a bank account, where you make daily deposits and withdrawals, choosing nutrient dense options the majority of the time will ultimately compound on itself for your health,” Thomason says. “A healthy diet is made up of our collective choices over time. Thus, one single diet choice cannot worsen your health, and similarly, one nutrition choice cannot improve your health. Using language like ‘the healthiest’ doesn’t help us understand the complexities of nutrition and choosing balanced choices the majority of the time.”

Sanchita Patil

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