Why replace seed oils?

Why replace seed oils? How?


Commonly known as “vegetable oils”, seed oils include corn, cottonseed, soy, canola, peanut, sesame, rice bran, grape seed, safflower, and sunflower seed oils. They are typically refined, bleached, and deodorized. They result from high heat, high pressure, chemical solvents, and deodorization.  They are not “heart healthy“.

In the nineteenth century, cotton seeds were originally used to make soap and candles. Later, unused seeds were obtained as by-products of food processing and the steel rolling press. Then Crisco (lard from pressed seeds) was developed commercially to use the seeds that were otherwise discarded. 

Processed vegetable (seed) oils are used in almost all processed, packaged foods (and most restaurants), because they are cheap, not because they are healthy. Specifically, they are high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as linoleic acid. The processing denatures the oil and makes it inflammatory for many a digestive system. 

By contrast, olive oil and coconut oil are mechanically pressed at room temperature. Coconut oil can resist heat, so it is often used for healthy frying and to cook sautés. You can also use animal fat to cook with.

Other vegetable (seed) oils, such as hemp, flax, and pumpkin seed oils, are eaten cold-pressed and unprocessed. These oils can be healthy. They are not heat-treated nor the result of toxic solvents. Technically, hemp, flax, and pumpkin seed oils have more omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation for many people. They require refrigeration. They are not to be used for cooking. They can go rancid easily.

Saturated fats, such as coconut oil, and animal fats, such as butter, have been blamed in error for many years. The real distinction is between highly processed vegetable oils (industrial seed oils), which tend to be unhealthy for many people, and raw, unprocessed oils and fats, such as coconut oil, butter, olive oil, hemp, pumpkin, and flaxseed oil, which tend to healthy for many people.

What are seed oils? 

Seed oils are vegetable oils obtained from the seeds of plants, usually extracted under heavy pressure and processed with heat and other treatments. To repeat, seed oils include canola, corn, soy, cottonseed, sunflower, grapeseed, ricebran, and safflower. These oils are found in supermarkets. They are used by most restaurants for frying, for example for frying potatoes. They are often found in many processed, packaged foods.

History of processed vegetable oils

How vegetable oils are processed
How vegetable oils are processed

As Dr. Jason Fung MD points out, the production and consumption of cottonseed oil began with the waste product of cotton, which was harvested for fiber and fabrics to make clothes. For every hundred kilos of fiber, there are one hundred and sixty-two kilos of cotton seeds that are largely useless. In 1911, these seeds were processed and marketed as “Crisco”, which was promoted in free recipe books as a “healthy alternative” to lard.

Seventh Day Adventists and other gung-ho vegans promoted abstinence from eating animals, and Crisco took off. In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower had a high-profile heart attack, which was attributed by Ancel Keys, a prominent academic, to eating too much fat. Without proof of cause and effect, animal fat and cholesterol were eagerly blamed for gaining weight and susceptibility to heart attacks. There was little or no distinction between healthy, natural, traditional fats and processed fats in the form of hydrogenated, processed vegetable oils. Lately, there has been a public awareness that these processed vegetable oils contain “trans fats”. They have been modified chemically to try to keep them stable on store shelves, but the processing denatures them, rendering them inflammatory to many a digestive system.

By the 1950s, cottonseed oil itself was becoming expensive. Crisco once again turned to a cheaper alternative, soybean oil. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) declared the switch from lard and other saturated fats to trans-fat laden, partially hydrogenated oils to be “a great boon to Americans’ arteries”. Soybean oil is now the most heavily consumed vegetable oil in the USA. “Do not eat butter”, they said. Instead, replace it with the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (read: trans-fats) known as margarine. That edible tub of plastic was much healthier than the butter that humans had been consuming for at least three thousand years, they said. 

Industrial seed oils, such as cottonseed oil, are high in the omega-six fat linoleic acid, which is also found in eggs, nuts, and seeds, but Crisco introduced an isolated and adulterated type of linoleic acid. These omega-six seed oils can now be found in nearly all processed foods and in grocery aisles in plastic bottles for cooking. These oils are highly susceptible to heat, light, and air, and are exposed to all three during their processing. Again, they can inflame many a digestive system.

The truth is inside you. “Look for the truth, and your health will follow,” as Dr. Herbert Shelton, MD, said.

Fat does not make you fat.

Contrary to the popular belief, healthy fats do not make you fat. It is sugar and refined grains, such as wheat flour and pasta, that make you fat. If you cut the sugar and the refined grains, substituting stevia and either certain vegetables or even meat, then you can lose the fat. “Eat Fat. Get Thin.” is an excellent book by Dr. Mark Hyman about how healthy some fats can be for many people. A related video is here.

Why avoid seed oils?

They are removed from their natural state. They are heat-treated and processed in a way that renders them unhealthy for many people. They contain mostly fats known as omega-six fatty acids, which inflame the digestion of many people.

What are healthy oils and fats?

Your brain is about sixty percent fat. Fats and oils are necessary for the health of the brain.

Healthy oils and fats are not heat-treated, not bleached, and not deodorized. They include coconut oil (for frying and to resist high heat), olive oil, hemp seed oil, flax seed oil, and black seed oil. These oils are pressed from raw food and are not processed nor heat-treated. Coconut oil has other healthy uses than for high-heat cooking.

Black seed oil may be a remedy for many ailments. Unlike industrial seed oils, this oil (from Nigella sativa) is not refined. It has been used since ancient Egypt as medicine. In small amounts, at most half a teaspoon, black seed oil has proven benefits that make it healthy for many people. It is also known as black cumin seed oil. One half to one teaspoon can be used to reduce inflammation, including relieving symptoms of arthritis (inflamed joints) and bronchitis (inflamed lungs), according to both traditional use in northern Africa and modern research.

Dr. Cate Shanahan MD describes healthy fats and oils versus unhealthy

You can make a natural adhesive remover from coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oil of orange.

What if you do not digest any oils well?

The digestive enzyme known as alkaline phosphatase is required to break down oils, fats, nuts, and seeds. According to Dr. Peter D’Adamo, people with blood types A and AB tend to excrete less of this enzyme than those with blood types O and AB. 

This means that if you have blood type A or AB, you may be less able to digest oils, fats, nuts, and seeds. A few peanuts may be healthiest for your digestion. If you have blood type O or B, then you may be able to digest a handful or more of nuts at a time, at the end of a meal or between meals as a snack.

According to blood type eating, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are healthy for both blood types O and A.


Promoters of seed oils point to research that indicates that seed oils can lower cholesterol in the blood. According to this line of thinking, this is evidence that these oils are healthy. In other words, the real reason many people eat so much vegetable oil is not that it’s cheap. It’s that we’re afraid of cholesterol. This fear of cholesterol sustains the seed oil producers.

On the other hand, cholesterol is a lipid (fatty molecule) found naturally on the membrane of all cells in the human body. Cholesterol is produced naturally in the blood. It is necessary to convert sunlight into vitamin D.


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