Why Vegetable Oils Can Be Harmful

For decades we were all taught by some health advisor that vegetable oils were good and saturated fats & butter were bad.

At a point that some believe that fats like butter and coconut oil caused high cholesterol and clogged arteries, leading to heart disease. And many experts advised us to avoid saturated fat and eat more polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially omega 6 fats.

Vegetable oils contain high oxidized omega 6 fats and typically found at any grocery store and more expensive compared to our palm oil.

Why We Should Not Include Vegetable Oils In Our Diet?

These highly refined, highly processed, highly unstable, highly inflammatory oils have been promoted by some health advisory groups.

But turn out they were completely wrong. 

In a review at Tufts University 2010, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian concluded there is a clear benefit from cutting out saturated fats and increasing our intake of PUFAs. However, in 2014 meta-analysis, the very same scientist reviewed all of the 72 studies, found no benefit to reducing saturated fats or increasing PUFAs, except for omega 3 fats.

This idea that vegetable oils are better than saturated fats (like butter or animal fat) comes from the idea that they lower total and LDL cholesterol, so they presumably reduce our overall risk of heart disease. 

For example, some meta-analyses exclude large RCTs like the Minnesota Coronary Experiment and the Sydney Diet Heart Study. These studies found that diets higher in vegetable oils and lower in saturated fat did indeed lower total blood cholesterol. Yet as we can see the lower cholesterol level did not improve mortality rates.

It’s funny that we used to consume much more omega 3 fats and much less omega 6 fats in the past human history and less heart disease than we currently do. There is no vegetable oil at that time until we have the technology to make them. 

The meat that our great grandparents ate was pasture-raised, organic, grass-fed and contained no hormones or antibiotics. Plus wild animal meat and grass-fed beef contain about 7 times more omega 3 fats compared to industrially raised animals, which have almost none.

Fast forward today this kind of meat become expensive as we start moving away from grass-fed and wild animals which then increased our omega 6 fat intake. 

Vegetable seed oils skyrocketed in a western country, while omega 3 fats have dramatically declined. 

Omega 6 fats not only induce inflammation but also reduce the availability of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats in your tissues, resulting in more inflammation.

Omega 6 also reduces the conversion of plant-based omega 3 fats (called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) into the active forms of omega 3s called EPA and DHA by about 40 percent. Consuming too many omega 6 fats also increases the likelihood of inflammatory diseases and links to mental illness, suicide and homicide. In fact, studies have shown a connection of mental with inflammation in the brain

Dr. Joseph Hibbeln from the National Institutes of Health in US explains that over-consuming omega 6 fats and under-consuming omega 3 fats significantly increases:

  • 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?

What types of oils and fats should we choose that protect our heart and brain and reduce inflammation?

  • Red palm oil 
  • Extra-virgin, cold-pressed, organic coconut oil
  • Extra-virgin, cold-pressed, organic olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Nuts—walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia; not peanuts
  • Fatty fish—sardines, mackerel, herring and wild salmon—that are rich in omega 3 fats

Is olive oil a vegetable oil? What about palm oil and coconut oil? Technically, yes, these oils come from plants, so they are vegetable oils. But they originate from the fruit or nut rather than the seed and are easier to extract.

We are so lucky that Malaysia is one of the biggest suppliers of palm oil. Support our palm oil.