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The Skinny on Soybean Oil

Did you know that the average American now consumes 10% of their daily calories from soybean oil?! Many of you might be wondering… “How could this be? For one, I’ve never heard of soybean oil and secondly I certainly don’t have any in my kitchen cabinet.”

What is Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is a highly processed oil made from…you guessed it- soybeans. It often has a dark yellow color and is one of the oils along with corn oil, safflower oil and palm oil to make up vegetable oil.

Where is Soybean Oil Found

Soybean oil is the predominant oil found in restaurant’s kitchens, especially fast food restaurants. This is how Americans are consuming so much of this stuff without really knowing it! For the first time in history, we (Americans) are now spending more money at restaurants than on groceries for our home.

Soybean oil is also found in many of our processed foods including, but not limited to:

  • Cereals
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Baked goods
  • Sauces
  • Dressings
  • Marinades
  • Infant formulas
  • Canned broths and soups
  • Canned tuna and meat
  • High-protein energy bars and snacks
  • Low-fat peanut butter
  • Pet food
  • Processed meats
  • Soaps and moisturizers

Why Should We Avoid It

Thankfully soybean oil no long contains trans fats (fats linked to heart disease banned in 2015 by the FDA after it was no longer generally recognized as safe), however, that does not mean we are now in the clear.

Soybean oil, despite no longer containing trans fats, is high in Omega 6’s which are highly inflammatory especially when consumed without or with very little Omega 3’s. This inflammation is linked to heart disease, weight gain, disruptions in the gut micro biome, diabetes and cancer.

For the biology majors reading this, remember the cell membrane? No? That’s okay, here a reminder. Every single one of our cells has what is called a phospholipid bilayer that surrounds the cell to act as the fence controlling what is allowed in and out of each cell. This phospholipid bilayer is made up of fat which we get from our diet to build each cell. Because soybean oil is a major source of fat for many Americans, their bodies are using that fat source to build these phospholipid bilayers. The problem with that is it is like trying to use foam bricks to build a house. We are setting ourselves up for disease at a cellular level by using this highly inflammatory, unnatural fat to help build our cells.

What Kind of Oil Should We Consume Instead

Obviously when eating out, we don’t have much of a choice on the type of oil our food is cooked in, however, we can control how often we are eating out. When possible, choose to make food in your own kitchen, that way you can be sure of all of the ingredients!

Healthy oils to have in your own kitchen cabinets:

  • Coconut oil: Stable at high temperatures. Good for coating pans, baking and/or adding flavor to roasted veggies.
  • Avocado oil: Stable at high temperatures. Great for marinades or coating pans and the perfect replacement for vegetable oil in any baking recipe.
  • Olive oil: Less stable at high temperatures. Good for salad dressings.
  • Butter: Stable at high temperatures. Good for coating pans, adding flavor to veggies and great for baking.
  • Ghee: A dairy free substitute for butter. Stable at high temperatures.