As you peruse the various aisles at your supermarket, it doesn’t take long to find various types of cooking oil, or oil based products (such as margarine) that calls itself the “healthy” choice because of the specific oil that was used to make it. The word “healthy” is a favorite of many products that want to stand out from the rest. After all, when we want to make the best food choices for ourselves and we see two products that look similar, but one says that it is healthy on its label, the choice seems easy. Or is it?
Should You Trust Oils That Call Themselves Healthy?
Oils that call themselves healthy have given themselves this name because they are based on unsaturated fats, instead of the saturated fats that are known to be artery cloggers. This can mean that they are a better alternative to those that are known to be damaging to our cardiovascular systems. That said, does this truly mean that you can trust oils that call themselves healthy?
According to recent research, many unsaturated fats shouldn’t necessarily be called “healthy”, even if they are the lesser of two evils under certain circumstances. Even though oils that call themselves healthy are known to be able to help to lower cholesterol levels, certain vegetable oils contain polyunsaturated fats that can still contribute to the risk of death as a result of coronary artery disease. This was the conclusion made following an analysis of over 20 different studies by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Is There Such Thing as Healthy and Unhealthy Fats?
The problem isn’t whether we should be eating certain types of fats. The problem is actually in the language used to describe them. Oils that call themselves healthy may indeed be good for you…but only when consumed properly. There are some oils that are better for you than others. That’s very clear from considerable research that has been conducted over the years.
Yes, good quality olive oil is most certainly better for you than other types of fat such as those in most types of margarine. However, if you have too much of it, it can still lead to unwanted health issues, particularly if you do this on a regular basis.
Fat is a necessary part of your nutrition. It is not a poison or a problem. The key is to make the right choices and to make sure you consume them in the right limited amounts. This way, you’ll be giving your body what it needs for overall health and fat-soluble nutrient absorption.
How Can Healthy Fats Be Bad for You?
The reason is that while reducing cholesterol can help to lower the risk of heart disease, it is not the only factor to be considered. Therefore, just because a fat claims to be healthy because it lowers cholesterol levels, that’s not all there is too it. There are many different contributors to this risk, including obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and oxidative stress. This is according to Richard Bazinet, Ph.D., the author of the study, who is also a University of Toronto professor of nutritional sciences.
The analysis revealed that there are certain types of polyunsaturated fats that can oxidize within the body quite quickly. These are typically the forms that are low in omega-3 while being high in omega-6 fatty acids. Those include safflower oil and corn oil, for example. Comparatively, canola and soybean oils are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and don’t oxidize as easily. Olive oil is also considered to be a good option because it has monounsaturated fats that not only have a healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6, but also contain omega-9, which don’t impact that balance at all.
Bazinet explained that “Experts recommend we should consume omega-6s to omega-3s in a 10:1 or 5:1 ratio, but most of us are closer to 20:1.” Therefore, by consuming cooking oil that is high in omega-6 and that is low in omega-3, on top of all of the other products that are manufactured with vegetable oils (which include everything from energy bars to frozen foods, cereal, crackers, and many other items), the problem is only worsened.
Foods that are rich in omega-3 have to be consumed in order to help to regain the balance that is needed for a healthy body. Oils that are higher in omega-3 fatty acids have better protective effects and studies indicate that they can help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease deaths. This is the exact opposite effect of oils that have low or no omega-3. Before assuming that those oils that call themselves healthy actually are, be sure to really look into the types of fat involved. Then, don’t forget to be reasonable about how much you eat, as it is just as important!