What’s Wrong with Vegetable (and Seed) Oils???

what fats and oils are best

Does your favorite restaurant, cereal, energy bar or condiment boast their use of healthy vegetable oil?

Well, don’t do your happy dance for that reason alone…

The major oils used in restaurants, households and in food processing are canola, soybean, peanut, cottonseed, corn, safflower and sunflower oils.  All are high in easily oxidized polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.  Neither of these components are good for you.

Shortening, rich in harmful trans fat, is produced via hydrogenation of the oils.  Margarine is made from these very same processed oils and should be avoided as well.

It’s only in the last century that misguided groups like the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association started promoting these oils as “heart healthy” alternatives to saturated fats, that we have been inundated with them.

Anthropological research shows that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1.  Research also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes (the primary causes of death and morbidity today).  But that’s not all.

The industrial revolution over a century ago was key in the development of the shift into a higher omega 6’s in the diet.  This change was due in part to the advent of the modern vegetable oil industry AND the increase use of cereal grains as feed for domestic livestock.  Grains fed to livestock actually alter their fatty acid profile of the meat that we consume!  Another reason that we should consume “grass fed” beef.

Hence, the 2 Main Reasons to Avoid Industrial Vegetable and Seed Oils….

 Rancidity and Oxidation

Vegetable oils can easily be oxidized due to their high PUFA content. You can sometimes detect that an oil has gone rancid if it develops an unpleasant smell and taste, but some of these highly processed seed oils are deodorized to mask the oxidation that occurs during their processing.

Oxidation decreases the nutritional value as well as produces harmful byproducts and age promoting free radicals.  Free radicals can attack every cell of your body and contribute to low-grade inflammation and the slow and silent development of chronic disease.

 Hi Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio

Both the omega-6 fat linoleic acid and the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid are PUFAs recognized as essential for human health, but an imbalance between the two could compromise their functions.

Humans have evolved eating roughly equal amounts (1:1 ratio) of both omega 6 and 3.  With the advent of processed foods this ratio has been skewed to between 15:1 and 20:1!

Excessive consumption of omega 6 have a pro-inflammatory effect and may be involved in the development in various chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and other inflammatory and auto-immune conditions.

 Tip:  Focus on eating healthier fats such as the ones listed below.

For all culinary uses:

coconut oil (preferably extra-virgin), butter*/**, ghee*, cream*/**, lard*, bacon fat*, tallow*


  •        Use coconut oil to drizzle onto purple sweet potatoes or plantain slices before baking.
  •        Use butter to sauté meat, fish or vegetables.  Finish with chopped fresh herbs.
  •        Use ghee to cook your eggs.  You’ll avoid those brown spots on your ommeletes.  (also works as a great eye make-up remover or as a stand-in for chapstick!)
  •        Use tallow or lard for your occasional French fries splurge.
  •        Use bacon fat as your fat in a heartier spinach or bitter lettuce salad.  Oh boy, made even more scrumptious with a fried or poached egg on top!


For cold use only:

extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, nut oils (except peanut) and coconut manna


  •     Use extra-virgin olive oil too drizzle on salads or anything else.  Great body scrub and cuticle softener as well.
  •     Avocado or nut oils can be used in dressings and marinades.  Use it in your next seafood and avocado salad and toss in some fresh chopped parsley and mint to finish. Mix with honey for a deep conditioning solution to dry hair.  Don’t forget to rinse.
  •    My absolute favorite is coconut manna (coconut flesh in a jar)!  Spoon and mouth.  Simply all you need!  Quite a satisfying snack….

*preferably from grass-fed, pasture-raised and free range animals

**only if tolerant to dairy products

Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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