Unhealthy oils often have healthy sounding names, and healthy oils are often unfairly villainized. In this blog post, I show you what to look for so you can avoid unhealthy oils and get the right fats into your low-carb or ketogenic diet.
Avoid Unhealthy Oils – At-A-Glance
- Vegetable oils are composed of unstable, polyunsaturated fatty acids that degrade when exposed to heat.
- Examples of vegetable oils to avoid include, soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil.
- Examples of oils that can be included in a healthy low carb or keto diet are olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil
How to Avoid Unhealthy Oils on a Low Carb or Keto Diet [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Why vegetable oils are unhealthy.
- Which vegetable oils you should avoid.
- Which oils are healthy!
Why Vegetable Oils are Unhealthy
The ingredient list is where I go find out about the health value of a product. What I don’t want to see is a type of vegetable oil. That sounds somewhat ironic because vegetables are healthy. However, vegetable oils are unstable fats. When they are exposed to heat from things like cooking or processing, they oxidize and become toxic.
This toxicity does many bad things to your body, chief among them is the creation of inflammation. Inflammation increases your risk of serious chronic diseases, like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and gastrointestinal damage.
The effect on the gut can make it hard to lose weight and compromise the function of your immune system. The heavy use of vegetable oils by our society could be one of the factors that is contributing to the rise in autoimmune diseases that we’ve seen over the years.
Vegetable Oils Replaced Saturated Fats
When saturated fats, like butter and lard, were labeled as unhealthy, restaurants and package food manufacturers switched to using vegetable oils. Today, these easily oxidized fats are seemingly everywhere.
If you go to your pantry right now, you are likely to find many foods with soybean oil or other vegetable oils listed prominently on the ingredient label. Even foods that are promoted as healthy like salad dressing, crackers, peanut butter, and packaged diet foods contain them making it hard to avoid unhealthy oils.
Common Vegetable Oils to Avoid
There are healthy oils that you can include in your diet. I will share which ones you can use later in this post!
These oils are not recommended because they are either unstable, polyunsaturated fats that break down when subjected to heat or they contain a lot of omega 6 fatty acids which increases inflammation in the body.
Vegetable Oils, Omega-6s, Inflammation
The vegetable oils listed above are often used to make packaged foods and restaurants rely on them heavily for frying foods. If you consume a lot of these foods, your body is flooded with omega-6 fatty acids.
The effects of this high intake is made worse if the inflammatory fatty acids are not offset by foods high in omega-3s, like wild-caught fish, raw nuts and seeds, and high-quality meats. You cannot outrun the health impact of chronic inflammation in your body. It will eventually lead to disease.
Oils to Include in Your Healthy Diet
A high-quality extra virgin olive oil contains a good amount of monounsaturated fats, which makes it more stable than polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Olive oil does not have a particularly high smoke point, so I do not recommend it for cooking. However, it is relatively low in omega-6 fatty acids, making it a good oil to use for non-cooking purposes like salad dressing.
An oil that I use often is avocado oil. It contains a lot of monounsaturated fats, much like olive oil. However, it has a higher smoke point, which makes it a good cooking oil.
Tropical oils, like coconut oil and palm oil contain a lot of saturated fatty acids, which remain stable when subjected to heat, making them acceptable choices for cooking.
This stability is thanks to their chemical structure. Unlike unsaturated fats, saturated fatty acids have no double-bonds, which means that there are no available bonds that can react with oxygen and breakdown or oxidize the molecule.
There is research that has exonerated saturated fats from their unhealthy label. However, labels die hard and it is tough to change the perception that consuming saturated fats will cause you to have a heart attack.
It is true that a high-fat diet can be done in an unhealthy way. But, when you consume healthy fats, like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil along with a good amount of vegetables and foods high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll find that your weight loss and health are enhanced.
About the Author:
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.