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What are seed oils?

Seed oils are types of vegtable oils derived from seeds of plants. The main types of seed oils are Canola, Sunflower, Palm, Soybean, Grapeseed, Corn, Safflower, and Cottonseed. These oils contain particularly high levels of an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. While humans do need some linoleic acid, we're consuming it from these oils more than we ever have in history because it's in most food we eat.

1. High in Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Modern diets tend to be high in Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega-3 fatty acids. While both are essential, the imbalance can lead to inflammation, which is believed to play a role in many chronic diseases. Seed oils like soybean, sunflower, and corn oils are particularly high in Omega-6.

2. Oxidative Stability Issues

Polyunsaturated fats, which are abundant in seed oils, are more prone to oxidation than saturated or monounsaturated fats. Oxidation can produce harmful compounds that can lead to cellular damage in the body.

3. Potential Trans Fat Content

Most seed oils undergo a process called hydrogenation, which can produce trans fats. Trans fats have been linked to increased risk of heart disease, inflammation, and other health issues.

4. Processing and Contaminants

Many seed oils are refined, bleached, and deodorized, processes which can introduce or concentrate undesirable compounds like pesticides and solvents.

5. Link to Chronic Diseases

High consumption of seed oils has been associated in some research with an increased risk of various diseases, including heart disease, though more research is needed to fully understand these links.

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