The Food Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Feb 26, 2024

Picture this:



It’s lunchtime on a busy weekday and you have to grab some takeout. Instead of choosing fast food, you victoriously opt for one of those trendy new “build your own bowl” joints, and reward yourself for constructing a colorful array of veggies, cauliflower rice, and a muscle-building portion of protein. You’re feeling really good about this meal…you even snap a pic of your luscious lunch for your Instagram wall. Indeed, it would be an A+ lunch, IF the establishment was not cooking with toxic seed oil—which is grilled into the meats, used to saute the vegetables; and creates the base for those delicious dressings that cover every inch of every ingredient in your “healthy” meal. The dirty little secret that restaurant marketers and food manufacturers don’t want to reveal is that they are using cheap, toxic, disease-promoting oils, and YOUR body is paying the price. 



Today I’m talking about seed oils. 



In recent decades, our consumption of seed oils has risen dramatically, especially in regards to soybean oil. Today seed oils have snuck their way into everything from packaged snacks, to marinades, to nut milks, to plant-based meats. 



Seed oils are a type of vegetable oil, usually derived from genetically modified (GM) crops, which are sprayed with harmful herbicides, like glyphosate. Seed oils are highly processed and contain chemical deodorizers, petroleum-based solvents, and synthetic chemicals used to extend shelf life. (Such chemicals have been banned in at least 5 countries, by the way). The processing of these oils creates dangerous trans fats and leads to oxidative stress and free radical damage in the body. Our overconsumption of seed oils today is actually changing the molecular composition of our cells….and not for the better.



Many seed oils are high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), a type of fat that is more molecularly unstable and prone to oxidation, or rancidity. Additionally, industrial seed oils contain high levels of an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. 



This is important to note because to function optimally, the human body needs a diet with a 1:1 ratio of omega 6/omega 3 fatty acids. Today, we’re eating 20 times more omega-6’s than omega 3 fats. Diets higher in omega-6’s, (like linoleic acid) are highly inflammatory and lead to chronic inflammation, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, obesity, diabetes, and other forms of neurological and psychiatric issues. Get this: You would have to eat salmon and other omega-3 rich seafoods at every meal to counter the sky-high amounts of omega-6 in the our diet today.



Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, research has shown that a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids from seed oils leads to chronic inflammation in the large intestine. This inflammation creates dysbiosis, meaning: an increase in harmful gut bacteria and a decrease in beneficial bacteria….and, as you know, gut microbiome dysbiosis is the foundation of all disease. 



Examples of oils with omega 6-fatty acids and linoleic acid are: sunflower, corn, canola, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, grapeseed, rice bran, and peanut. 



Action step: On your next trip to the market, even to a “natural” foods market, take a look at the oils used in 90% of the products on the shelves. And when you are heading out to eat, you’re gonna need to send an SOS! Meaning: be sure to download the “Seed Oil Scout” app. Plug in your location, and get the real lowdown on the types of oils your favorite restaurants are using. 



Back in 1999 when I was just starting out on my wellness journey, I was working with a Functional Medicine doctor who would take his own bottle of salad dressing to a restaurant. But he didn’t stop there. He only chose restaurants that would clean the grill before preparing his meat and then use olive oil or real butter instead of seed oils. And believe me, he literally went back to the kitchen and watched them cook. He certainly had a way of making sure things were done correctly….did I mention that he was a former Navy Seal? Yup. True story. 



I know most of us won’t take it that far, but start by looking for the cleanest options possible when dining out by using the S.O.S app, and be sure to read labels at the grocery store. Next week, we will look at HEALTHY oils, and how to use them in cooking. 



In Good Health,