There’s a new trend among certain fitness gurus and the mainstream media which consists of labeling completely innocent foods as dangerous, and it seems that plant oils are in the crosshairs.
I already covered how soy, once the rightful darling of the health-conscious, is now being treated as veritable poison by unscrupulous marketers. This underhanded marketing campaign has worked so well that the word “soy” itself has practically become a slur on the Internet.
The power of propaganda in a nutshell.
The new food that is facing the wrath of these people is plant oils.
Yes, like the kind you cook with.
Absurd? You would think so, but we’re living in an age of disinformation and insanity, so it’s not surprising.
Marketers and “gurus” of all shapes and sizes are coming out of the woodwork all of a sudden to declare cooking oils the scourge of humankind. Yes, even flax seed oil, cottonseed oil, and coconut oil.
To these people, even these healthy and harmless substances are stealth terrors that are destroying you from the inside out.
But hold on a second – is there even a remote shard of evidence to believe plant oils like these are dangerous, or even the least bit unhealthy?
Not really. But that’s not stopping the propaganda train.
The entire line of reasoning that plant oils are unhealthy in any way, seemed to begin with reports a few years ago about the nature of polyunsaturated fats (which are abundant in vegetable oils), and how over-consumption of them may lead to cells storing this fat.
The snowball rolls downhill from there, with further and further assumptions based on, to no one’s surprise, unhealthy eating habits.
Of course, once too much fat begins to get stored in your cell membranes, your metabolism will get impaired, and you may begin to take on weight. Other bodily systems may begin to get compromised as well. It’s literally the same process as what happens when gaining too much weight from anything. It’s nothing special.
You may be surprised to know that polyunsaturated fats, when first discovered, were actually touted a way to fight heart disease and other issues. This is because on the whole, these kinds of fats are far healthier (more natural) than the fat that’s in say, beef, which we were never meant to digest, and which is far more acidic than vegetable oil.
Remember, natural fats are not only healthy, they are necessary for proper bodily function.
The Real Problem With Oils
There is an issue in regards to plant oils, but it’s not so much with the oils themselves, but more so the over-reliance on them.
It seems like these days, everything is fried or has some kind of oil in it. Just about anything that’s made in a skillet calls for plant oil as a non-stick element, fried meats are more popular than ever and often use plant oil, and many pastries do as well.
Obviously, we were never meant to consume this much oil. In nature, oil is abundant, but it comes in small amounts.
It would indeed take a lot of sunflower seeds, corn, or flax seeds to equal a tablespoon of oil, far more than what you would typically consume in its unrefined form. This is why plant oils in general are considered “processed,” even though many of the more healthy-branded oils don’t go through too much processing.
Eating too much of these oils, without offsetting it with exercise, alkaline water, and fruit, is of course going to take its toll. After all, your body has to do something with those fatty compounds, and the body only needs so much fat.
This is the only “real” problem with oils, our hyper-consumption of them.
Don’t Follow the Herd
Plant oils are actually extremely healthy. Many are the bases for healthy elixirs and essential oils, while many have healing properties all their own.
Coconut oil, for example, is an amazing natural remedy that can be used to actually increase your metabolism and as a skin creme to reduce inflammation and rashes.
Sunflower seed oil is a natural moisturizer that can revitalize your skin.
Flax seed oil relieves constipation and has been shown to reduce cancer cell growth.
Soybean oil is amazing for hair health and can protect the skin.
Safflower oil has been used for acne treatment and other skin conditions. All of these oils are loaded with plant-based compounds and antioxidants.
The reality is, in moderation, plant oils are actually one of the most healthy natural foods out there.
No, you’re not going to mess up your fine-tuned diet if you consume plant oils. No, you’re not going to develop cancer if you have a teaspoon of salad dressing. You’re not at greater risk for cancer if you consume them (if anything, you’re at lower risk), and they are not contributing to your inability to lose weight or gain muscle.
Try not to listen to hack nutritionists on Twitter who routinely say things like “stop eating vegetable oil” as if it’s some kind of mantra toward wellness. They wholeheartedly have no idea what they are talking about.
The big red flag with a lot of these people is that they recommend eliminating all plant oils but in the same breath have no problem recommending that you increase your red meat intake or insist that carbohydrates are killing you. They know less about health than your average middle schooler, they simply excel at asserting a false opinion and riding it until the wheels fall off.
Just like with the unfounded and nonsensical anti-soy campaign, the anti-plant oil campaign just appeals to a sort of “get rich quick” mentality in health circles right now.
People want easy answers that play to a certain bias.
Don’t be a part of the herd. For people on the typical Western diet, plant-oils are the least of their problems, unless they are just going out and chugging Walmart brand hydrogenated vegetable oil, which I doubt is the case.
Most people, truthfully, could benefit from an influx of oils such as coconut, sunflower, olive, peanut, pumpkin and walnut, to name a few.
As long as you incorporate plant oils in a balanced way, alongside a healthy, primarily alkaline diet, you have nothing to be concerned about. If you are interested in exploring plant oils further, try looking for more natural ones. The less processed the better.
You can cook with raw, unprocessed coconut oil, for example. It works almost just like butter.
In fact, you’ll find that use of raw and unrefined plant oils in your cooking will actually do wonders for your body, especially your skin and hair.
If you are truly concerned about using plant oils for any reason, simply stay away from the overly processed ones. Not that these substances are as bad for you as butter, but processed anything in large amounts is not good for our body. This is due to the high acidity in most processed foods, as well as the fact that the loss of organic plant-based matter and addition of chemicals, often renders it difficult for our body to digest.
Everything else is just marketing or dogma. There are actually real health threats on the market right now, including carcinogenic meat, hormone-laden dairy products, aspartame and other neurotoxins, and high fructose corn syrup. Plant oils are the least of anyone’s problems.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.