The Grapevine

Are Vegetable Oils Carcinogenic?

Running counter to prevailing medical orthodoxy, a paper maked the stunning argument using "healthy fats such as lard, butter or coconut oil is a simple way to boost your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer."

The paper also contended these saturated fats, which have long been linked to higher LDL (or bad cholesterol) levels, should replace "dangerous vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil." Doctors agree saturated fat is associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Saturated fats, however, are vital to metabolism and cell function.

These contentions were made by Dr. Joseph Mercola in a paper, "Why Vegetable Oils Are Carcinogenic," published on his website at mercola.com. Dr. Mercola is both a medical doctor and doctor of osteopathic medicine who says his mission is to provide the most up-to-date natural health information and resources "that will most benefit you."

He also makes it his mission to expose corporate, government and mass media hype that "diverts you away from what is truly best for your health and often to a path that leads straight into an early grave."

In his paper, Dr. Mercola contended vegetable oils are a concentrated source of omega-6 linoleic acid. This leads to a severe imbalance between the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in most people’s diets, and appears to be why "vegetable oils promote cancer."

Consumption of saturated animal fats such as butter, lard and beef tallow fell by 27 percent between 1970 and 2014, while consumption of vegetable oils rose by 87 percent.

"Your body metabolizes omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs into eicosanoids (hormone-like substances), and as a general rule, omega-3 eicosanoids are anti-inflammatory while omega-6 eicosanoids have proinflammatory effects," Dr. Mercola wrote. "Part of the benefits of omega-3 fats is that they block the proinflammatory effects of omega-6 eicosanoids."

He claimed mankind has historically consumed omega-3 and omega-6 at a ratio of 1-to-1. Today, however, most people get 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3 in their diets. He then said this imbalance is linked to a variety of illnesses such as heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases and inflammatory conditions. It's also linked to cancer, especially breast, prostate, colon, lung and neuroblastoma.

Dr. Mercola recommended replacing dangerous oils with healthy fats as one simple way to boost health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. He noted the fats that might lead to ill health are the very ones we’ve been told are the healthiest and vice versa.

He claimed among the absolute worst types of fat you can eat are vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower and canola oil, which are found in most processed foods and restaurant meals.

"In my view, processed vegetable oils, rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), are the most dangerous dietary factor of them all, taking a greater toll on human health than high fructose corn syrup even," Dr. Mercola said.

He cited Maria Cross, a nutritionist with a master of science degree, support his contention vegetable oils are carcinogenic. Cross said scientists believe it's not omega-6 per se that's to blame.

"It’s the balance between the two groups of PUFA that is out of kilter and wreaking havoc on our bodies," Cross said.

She also said experimental data supports the theory this skewed balance between omega-6 and omega-3 that influences the development of a tumor.

Dr. Mercola also cited a 2016 paper, "Role of Diets Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 in the Development of Cancer,” which said “several studies have demonstrated that omega-6 PUFAs induce progression in certain types of cancer,” while “omega-3 PUFAs possess a therapeutic role against certain types of cancer.”

Vegetable Oils Vegetable oils contain such high levels of omega-6 fatty acids that they cause imbalances in fat intake. "You want your ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids to be about one-to-one," says Koch. "It's closer to 15-to-one in the American population." Cottonseedoil

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