Is Sunflower Oil Really Bad For You?


Years ago, the general perception was that animal fats such as lard and butter were unhealthier than vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, but recent studies have proved the exact opposite.

Sunflower oil can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease as it contains 20 times more harmful chemical compounds than is recommended by the World Health Organisation. Butter and olive oil, for example, are richer in saturated and monounsaturated fats, and are more stable when heated and produce less damaging chemical compounds.

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Sunflower Oil Is Highly Processed

When oils and fats are heated to 356 degrees Fahrenheit, the molecular structure changes with oxidation and then produces harmful chemicals. Sunflower oils release a great number of harmful chemical compounds when reaching high temperatures. Also, the longer the oils get heated, the more chemicals are produced.

If any oil or fat has been deodorized, bleached, altered or heated, the integrity of the fat gets damaged. It then turns rancid and can be extremely toxic and inflammatory to the body. Sunflower oil, specifically, is mostly polyunsaturated making it an unstable oil. Where saturated fats don’t have double bonds and monounsaturated fats have one double bond, polyunsaturated fats have multiple bonds.

Also, if sunflower oil has been used in a packaged item, the chance is good that it has been exposed to some kind of altering or high heats. The seeds of plants are usually heavily processed as mechanical pressing, bleach, harsh solvents are used.

Is It Okay To Use Sunflower Oil Completely Unprocessed?

If the oil is completely unprocessed and stored in a dark container, it is still not ideal to consume sunflower oil. We often get too much of these types of oils in our diets.

The ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are supposed to be 1:1, but nowadays we have far too many omega-6, resulting in a ratio close to 1:2. When there are too many omega-6 fatty acids in the body, inflammation can occur. Inflammation is linked to all kinds of chronic illnesses and it can even alter your immune function.

Is It Only Sunflower Oil That I Should Avoid?

Most seed-based and vegetable oils are grown using GMO seeds and they undergo a chemical process that is quite harsh. Here are a few more oils that you should try to avoid:

  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Rice bran oil

What Oils Are Okay To Use?

  • Extra virgin olive-oil can lower blood pressure and boost your immune system as it is rich in antioxidants. Click here to read about the benefits of olive oil.
  • Avocado oil stabilizes blood pressure and boosts nutrient absorption.
  • Coconut oil aids with detoxification and reduces inflammation.

How To Store Your Oils

Oil can easily turn rancid when exposed to heat, light or oxygen. In general, it is important to keep your oils out of direct sunlight and heat and to seal it tightly.

Olive oil’s optimal temperature is 57 degrees – not a temperature that is common in a kitchen. It is therefore important not to store your olive oil close to the oven for example. The nutrients can easily oxidize as it also easily gets damaged by light. Place it in the darkest, coolest place possible. Even though it is not necessary to store your olive oil in the fridge, it will probably make it last a little bit longer. Pure or refined olive has a longer shelf life and is less sensitive to light and heat, but it is also less nutritious and less tasty.

Delicate oils such as hazelnut, truffle, grape seed, walnut, and avocado are very prone to going rancid if exposed to heat or light. These types of oils should be refrigerated after they have been opened. If they are refrigerated, they can be kept for about six months. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is very stable and can be kept at room temperature for two years or more.

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