Corn. Peanut. Grapeseed. Soybean. Palm. Safflower. These are just a few of the sources of the vegetable and seed oils that make up an increasingly large proportion of our diets. They have become so common because they’re inexpensive to produce and process, and their stability helps to lengthen the shelf lives of the products they are used in, reducing waste.
For all the benefits they offer, seed and vegetable oils are sometimes seen as “unhealthy.” Let’s unpack some of the controversy for a better understanding.
A changing food supply.
We’ve gone from consuming no vegetable oil, with the exception of olive oil, to eating vegetable oils from grains, corn and soy in many of the foods we have every day. What’s more, the meat we now consume comes from animals fed these same sources. The issue with this change is that we are eating many more omega-6 fatty acids than ever before.
The grass that animals used to graze on contains the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), whereas now they are fed grains that are high in linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid. This has changed the fat composition of the meat we consume. Human diets also used to contain more omega-3s from meat, fish, wild plants, nuts and berries.
The fact that we are consuming meat with more omega-6 and less omega-3, along with vegetable oils that are also high in omega-6, means that our fatty acid balance has been skewed. Humans evolved on a 1:1 balance between the two, but today, the ratio is 16:1 or higher! We just aren’t getting the amount of omega-3 we need to bring this balance in check.
Because our bodies are unable to make them, both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are important to obtain from the diet. These fats play critical roles in brain function, growth and development, bone health and metabolism among many other functions. But balance is critical! Too much omega-6 results in the production of inflammatory molecules in our body that are thought to be central to the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases.
Another concern with vegetable oils is how they are produced. Vegetable oils come from the seed or grain of plants. While the first step to extracting the oil is pressing or crushing the grains, oftentimes chemicals are used to pull out as much oil as possible. While these chemicals are then removed, some residual solvents may remain.
|Nutriterra DHA Canola||Conventional Canola|
|Omega-3 Profile, %|
To address the need for more omega-3 in our diet, Nuseed Nutritional created a canola oil with the long chain omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies require but are not getting from current diets. Nutriterra is always expeller pressed with no harsh chemicals. And, we carefully monitor our oil to ensure it is free from contaminants such as pesticides or heavy metals.
Nutriterra is a convenient, healthy option for providing omega-3 fatty acids to help rebalance the omega6:omega3 ratio.
Citations:Simopoulos AP. An increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity. Nutrients 8, 128; doi:10.3390/nu8030128