Most Americans today use soybean oil for cooking, baking, and drizzling. In 2019, Americans consumed 11 metric tons of soybean oil!!! Today we’ll explore how soybean oil can be hazardous for your health and what to use instead.
Using traditional animal fats nowadays seem to be unwelcome. You see, people have replaced these fats–lard, tallow, and butter–with plant-based oils because people have been misguided into thinking that animal fats are unhealthy and plant-based oils are far healthier.
I can see why it’s confusing.
Soybean oil is low in saturated fat, so most Americans see this as a healthy option. But saturated fats are, in fact, healthy and are much better than unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) oils–most especially in cooking.
Soybean Oil is Unstable
Soybean oil is high in unstable PUFAs. Well, PUFAs are not all bad for you. Actually, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are good. But not all PUFAs are created equal. There are types that are highly unstable, easily oxidized (damaged by oxygen), and pro-inflammatory.
I’m talking about linoleic acid–a bad fat. And soybean oil is half linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid is already bad news, but when you heat it, it’s worse! It generates oxidized lipids (fats) which cause inflammation in the bloodstream, leading to heart diseases and the hardening of your arteries (atherosclerosis).
Soy, Digestion, & Thyroid
Soy products are not easily digested which can cause gas, bloating, and damage to your gut (which can weaken your immune response). Soy can also interfere with proper thyroid function (your metabolic regulator). And… 93% of soy is genetically modified and while we won’t truly know the long-term effects on health for years to come, preliminary data shows that GMO foods interfere with the healthy balance of your gut flora.
Soy, Obesity & Diabetes
The massive use of soybean oil has led to an increase in the number of people suffering from obesity and diabetes as well.
This occurs, in part, because soybean oil disrupts normal hypothalamus function.
By that, I mean soybean oil manages to alter the genes of the hypothalamus, impairing the healthy functions of your organs and hormones.
The hypothalamus is a small region at the base of the brain that is responsible for many functions, such as regulating hormones through your pituitary gland, regulating your temperature, controlling your appetite, and managing your sexual behavior among other roles.
In other words, the hypothalamus is the control center of the brain. And the soybean oil which many believe to be healthy is disturbing its function.
One of the genes that soybean alter is the OXT gene, the one that makes oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as your love hormone, but it is also critically important to your gut health. Oxytocin regulates motility (lack of oxytocin can contribute to constipation, for example), inflammation, and gut lining maintenance.
So what does this all mean?
Long-term intake of soybean oil leads to chronic illnesses by interfering with proper gut function, immune function, thyroid function, and brain function.
I encourage you to intentionally reduce your consumption of soybean oil–read labels at the grocery store and go through your pantry and freezer. Many sauces, dressings, baked and canned goods contain soybean oil.
Most restaurants also use soybean oil, so that’s another reason you may steer away from fried foods when eating out.
When cooking at home, choose natural fats like tallow, lard, duck fat, grass-fed butter and ghee. If you want plant-based oils, have coconut, avocado oil, and olive oil.
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