Two of my favourite people, on one amazing podcast. What’s not to love about this wide ranging discussion about anything and everything nutrition, and how to live your most genius life.
For this blog, I am going to focus on the part from the 58th minute when Joe asks Max about the industrial seed oil process. This is one of Max’s overriding theories on human health degeneration, and why these highly processed seed oils are bad for us.
They get into the conversation through grape seed oil. This oil is produced from the waste of the wine making process, when some industrious people realised a lot of money was being left on the table by throwing away the seeds of grapes used in wine making.
All seeds are rich in oil. So if you can extract the oil and get rid of all the noxious aromas and flavours, you are left with an oil which can be sold.
“Grape seed oil, like any of these grain and seed oils like corn, canola (which comes from the rape seed plant), soya bean oil etc are sometimes referred to within the industry as RBD oils: Refined, Bleached, Deodorised.” This tells you all you need to know about the process.
“These seeds have harsh bitter flavours in their natural form. Some of them like rape seed contains toxins such as erucic acid.”
“Humans are averse to seeds for a reason. If you’ve ever tried to chew a grape seed, it’s bitter, you spit it out. Which is why these seed oils didn’t exist in our food supply less than 100 years ago. We didn’t have the chemistry labs required to extract this oil and run them through the myriad of processes to make them palatable”. These oils “used to be used as engine lubricants”, and were nowhere near the human food system.
“To produce 237ml/8oz fluid of grape seed oil, you need one ton of grapes.” “So if you’re cooking in grape seed oil, it’s a crime against nature.”
What are the Negative Effects of Industrial Seed Oils
“For one, they all undergo the deodorisation step which removes the noxious odours and aromas to make them palatable. Which is basically the food industry’s equivalent of a witness protection program. Because it takes an oil and makes it so bland and free of any kind of character that it can be used to roast nuts, to make granola bars, and to fry any food in.”
“One of the problems with that deodorisation step is it creates a small but significant amount of trans fats. And we know there is no safe level of trans fat. They’re most recognisable form was in partially hydrated vegetable oils which were outlawed in 2015.”
“But you can still find man made trans fats on the market in the form of these grain and seed oils.”
“The dose likely makes the poison. But your average American today is over consuming these oils. Remember these oils did not exist in the human food supply until less than 100 years ago. And the usage of these oils has increased in the range of 1000%.”
“We are over consuming these oils which harbour trans fats. So when we cook with them in particular, when we expose them to high heat especially for prolonged periods of time, they generate poisons called aldehydes. And some of these aldehydes are really toxic. They’re neurotoxic. They’re mutagenic, meaning they’re cancer causing.”
“One such aldehyde is acrolein which is found in cigarette smoke, and all kinds of industrial pollutants. We can see it in the brains of people with Alzhemiers disease.”
What About Seed Oils If They Are Not Heated
“Another big fear with regards to these oils is that they might not be acutely inflammatory (and this tends to be pushed back amongst the evidence based crowd on social media), but they may be chronically inflammatory. Because they provide the precursors to our body’s inflammation pathways, particularly Omega 6 fats.”
“Omega 3 fats are, generally speaking, anti-inflammatory.” “But Omega 6 fats provide the backbone to pro-inflammatory signalling molecules which are responsible for heat, pain, redness, swelling etc.” “When inflammation is chronic and low grade, it’s associated with all of the chronic illnesses. Certainly Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. But also cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and the like.”
“Are they going to stimulate an anti-inflammatory response (without heat)”. Max doesn’t necessarily think so. But because of the oxidation process they go through just by being old and sitting on the shelf, (oils only degrade with time), there is a very strong likelihood that they could be damaged even in their non heated forms.
“With extra virgin olive oil as an example, you never see a good quality EVOO in plastic bottles because the manufacturers know what they have liquid gold”
But with these seed cooking oils in plastic bottles “we leave them in our warm kitchens next to the cooking facilities where these oils are highly prone to oxidation. Which is essentially a damaged oil. You wouldn’t see a piece of rotting food on the counter and intuitively think that’s good. You can’t necessarily see it happening in these oils.” But it is. These oils are certainly further oxidised through age which make them ever more damaging to the human body.
And now we find these oils in our food system everywhere. Throughout human history we have consumed Omega 6 to 3 oils in about a ratio of 4 to 1. With the industrial seed oil complex in full swing, the average human now consumes this in a ratio of more than 25 to one. And that simply cannot be good for anybody.
Based on the above, it would be smart to apply the precautionary principle approach. Indeed we may not yet have all of the science and all the proof we need to say that these industrial seed oils are bad for us. But the facts speak for themselves, and surely we have to question the validity of “safety” when it comes to our consumption, and not just trust what the authorities tell us.
Remember, trans fats were only outlawed a few years ago, and were apparently safe to consume according to authorities for 50 years.
Bearing in mind none of us are probably deep frying food at home these days. And light frying is rare. I strongly suggest you use extra virgin olive, coconut or avocado oil for salad dressing and all forms of cooking.
Yes, these oils are substantially more expensive. But when they are used sparingly, they are not so expensive on a per meal basis.
These are the most naturally available oils on the planet. Think about the process of squeezing oils out of olives, coconuts or avocados. They are basically just pressed to release the oils with no chemical process required.
Stick with evolutionary science, and use only the most natural forms of oil in your food for a healthy well-oiled body and brain.