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Information on Oils and Fats Can be Wrong

Most health advisers now recommend olive oil because it is not easily oxidized. However one Health Letter says it is inferior to corn oil soybean oil and other salad oils because it doesn’t contain omega-6 fatty acids. What?

The American diet already has way too much omega-6 oils, often twenty times as much as the omega-3 oils from fatty fish or flax seed. Ideally it would be a one to one ratio or at most three to one. You could get this from eating nuts. Excess omega-6 oils can become excess arachidonic acid which harms the immune system. Dr. Bob Arnot in his book for the breast cancer survivor advises against any omega-6 oils as well as no sugar to prevent a recurrence of the cancer

Canola oil, another mono-unsaturated oil might not be as healthy as olive oil because it is from a field crop, rape seed. This might contain insecticides. Cotton seed oil should always be avoided because of the many insecticides used in growing cotton. It was one of the first oils hydrogenated to make margarine. When the medical community finally accepted that hydrogenated oils made harmful trans-fats the oil companies kept markets by selling more salad oils. Oils and fats can absorb insecticides. Olive trees have existed for hundreds of years without insecticides.

A reader of another Health Letter asks the question: Are trans-fats from animals as bad as those from oils? Animals produce natural saturated fats, not trans-fats. Animal fats have been used by humans for millennia and caused no harm. Only in the last sixty years have they become harmful—because of their content of insecticides and other toxic substances especially when animals are raised in factory farms.

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Avoid Many Common Salad Oils

Corn oil, cottonseed oil and most other salad oils should be used sparingly by most people and not at all by cancer survivors. These oils, containing the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, are in many other products. Some recipes even suggest using salad oil instead of butter or lard in your baking. Even though they come from plants that does not mean they are superior to animal fats. A healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids should be 1:1 or up to 1:4 but not the 1:20 in the typical American diet. Excess omega-6 fatty acid can cause inflammation, affect allergies and impair your immune system’s ability to fight and destroy pre-cancerous cells. The small amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in most nuts are healthy. Dr. Bob Arnot in his book for avoiding breast cancer advises eating no sugar and no omega-6 salad oils. (Olive oil and canola oil contain mono-unsaturated fatty acids, not the polyunsaturated linoleic acid of other bottled oils.)

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