6. Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils like sunflower, corn, and soybean are rich in linoleic acid, a type of fat that clinical trials have shown can lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Replacing saturated fats with oils that contain linoleic acid is an excellent way to improve your diet but take care when picking your oil, as some of them are made with GMO (genetically modified) ingredients.
No one knows what the long term effects of modifying food genetically will be, though a preliminary study has indicated that GMO foods could have renal and reproductive effects, and may alter immunological parameters. Until more research has been carried out, it’s best to ensure the oil you purchase is GMO free, so check to ensure the ingredients in your oil are from a natural source.
Even if your oil isn’t GMO, you still need to be cautious, as though linoleic acid is beneficial in small amounts, a study from the University of Cincinnati has indicated that consuming too much can be detrimental to health. An excess of linoleic acid can increase levels of inflammation and has been found to promote cancer in animals – and as just one tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories and 10 grams of linoleic acid, it’s important to not overdo it. To be on the safe side, stick to the current recommended daily amounts of linoleic acid, which are 12 grams for women 19-50 and 17 grams for men. Women between 51-70 years of age should consume no more than 11 grams, while men of the same age should aim for around 14.