Are Seed Oils Bad?

Picture of Seed Oil

Are Seed Oils Bad?

Ah, seed oils. They’ve become the latest villain in our quest for the perfect diet. As an acupuncturist, I’ve heard countless patients complain about feeling awful after eating out. They often point the finger at seed oils. But are seed oils truly to blame? Or is there more to the story?

The Seed Oil Saga

Seed oils, like sunflower, peanut, and canola oil, have been used for decades. They are a staple in many households and restaurants. Yet, some people claim these oils are the root of all evil. From causing inflammation to chronic diseases, seed oils have been accused of it all.

Downsides of Seed Oils

Seed oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation if consumed in excess relative to omega-3s.
The typical Western diet is already too high in omega-6s compared to omega-3s.
Many seed oils undergo heavy processing involving high heat, which can create harmful compounds.
Previous slide
Next slide

Upsides of Seed Oils

Seed oils provide polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar control when consumed in moderation.
Seed oils have a high smoke point, making them suitable for high-heat cooking methods like frying.
Previous slide
Next slide

My Personal Nerd Safari

I was having a hard time reconciling the overwhelming evidence that seed oils are not harmful with the stories of my patients who feel terrible after eating them. So, I went on a nerd safari and found something that I think will help a lot of you.

For context, patients almost always tell me they feel worse after eating at restaurants. And I think that is the culprit is oxidation.

The Culprit Is Oxidation

The hypothesis here is that it isn’t the seed oils themselves that are the problem. It’s the oxidation of those oils. Restaurants often save cooking oil and use it repeatedly. The fastest way to make any kind of oil oxidize is to expose it to light, heat, and oxygen by cooking.

And that’s what a fascinating study in India looked at. They bought some vegetable oil (likely sunflower or peanut oil) and tested it on rats. The rats were fed unheated oil, single-heated oil, and oil that was heated three times. The results were eye-opening.

The Study

According to the study, repeatedly heating oil increases its oxidative stress. This leads to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are harmful compounds known to cause cancer, deplete glutathione, and feed chronic inflammation.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are highly reactive molecules derived from oxygen. They include free radicals.Their levels are tightly regulated by antioxidant systems. An imbalance leading to excessive ROS causes oxidative stress, which contributes to aging, cancer, and various diseases

Picture of ROS

Rats fed triple-heated oil gained more weight, had larger livers and colons, and, most dangerously, developed dramatically more colon polyps. These polyps can turn into cancer. Clinical analysis of blood samples revealed increased levels of glucose, cholesterol, and creatinine in these rats, indicating significant health risks.

What I See in My Clinic

In my clinic, I see patients who feel bloated, sluggish, and generally unwell after dining out. This aligns with the study’s findings. It’s not just the seed oils, but how they are used and abused in cooking that makes a difference.


Aucklandiae Radix

The herb  Mu Xiang in Chorus is known to affect bile. It promotes bile secretion and improves gallbladder function and oil digestion.

About the Author

Brehan Crawford in the Snow
For more insights, collaborations, or to reach out to Brehan, you can connect with him through his online platforms:

Brehan Crawford, based in McMinnville, Oregon, is a distinguished clinician specializing in the treatment of chronic conditions, particularly Lyme Disease and its coinfections. After earning his Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in 2009, he deepened his expertise with a 5-year residency under the mentorship of the renowned Dr. Heiner Fruehauf at the Hai Shan Clinic. A Diplomate of Oriental Medicine from the NCCAOM, Brehan has pioneered innovative methods using Traditional Chinese Medicine for chronic infections. Known for mentoring other professionals, he regularly imparts knowledge on advanced Chinese herbal medicine applications. Beyond his clinical pursuits, Brehan enjoys singing, cooking, and hiking.

Recent Posts

Picture of Seed Oil
Digestive Disorders

Are Seed Oils Bad?

Are Seed Oils Bad? Ah, seed oils. They’ve become the latest villain in our quest for the perfect diet. As an acupuncturist, I’ve heard countless

Digestive Disorders

3 Secrets About Your Tongue Coating

TONGUE COATING Do you ever notice a thick, white coating on your tongue that looks like it’s wearing a fuzzy coat? This might seem trivial,

One Bottle of Chorus Herbal Supplement
Lyme Disease

Is Chorus Supplement Right for You?

Is Chorus Right for You? Are you constantly battling stomach issues and wondering if an herbal supplement could help? Chorus might be what you need,

Ready to Start Your Journey Towards Better Health?

Crawford Wellness provides effective solutions for chronic conditions using Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in McMinnville, Oregon. Are you ready to live a healthier life and experience better health?