The Standard American Diet is filled with processed ingredients and chemicals that slowly deteriorate overall bodily health. Aggressive marketing campaigns aim to convince people to buy foods, which people know are not good for them. Despite not being able to pronounce ingredients or understanding what is actually in dangerous food products, people continue to eat them happily and continue about their day.
One of the most recent debates in the food world is whether or not soybean oil is healthy. Several research studies have revealed that it is harmful to the human body, but it is one of the most common ingredients in foods that are especially popular for children and adolescents. Soybean oil is commonly in chips, crackers, candies, and more, and it has been thought to be a heart-healthy oil like extra virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil.
How Is Soybean Oil Made?
Understanding how soybean oil is made reveals how unhealthy it is for the body. Unlike extra virgin olive oil or other heart-healthy oils, soybean oil is not cold-pressed; rather, it undergoes a high heat and bleaching process, and contains chemical solvents and deodorizers. All of this is done during the process of extracting edible oil from soybeans.
- Mechanical pressing (using heat and pressure to obtain oil)
- Residual oil left in soybean meal is extracted (using a solvent known as hexane)
- Hexane is a toxic solvent that has to be removed from the oil (by way of using steam and vacuums)
- Soybean oil is then bleached to remove impurities
- The last step is a high-temperature deodorization process to remove oxidation products (found in the oil)
According to scientists, soybean oil should be the last oil you choose to cook with or eat. The reason for this is because soybean oil (and actual soybeans) is not recommended for human consumption, due to the fact that soybean oil provokes steroid hormone production, ultimately increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Regular consumption of soybeans or soybean oil can lead to imbalanced sexual hormones in men and women, in addition to premature puberty in younger children.
On top of all the negatives surrounding soybean oil, soy products are some of the most GMO-rich food products on the planet. Roughly 94% of soy products contain GMOs! Additionally, soybean oil contains a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids, meaning that is has poor oxidative stability compared to avocado or extra virgin olive oils, both of which have a higher degree of saturation. Consuming too many of these fatty acids can lead to chronic inflammation or excess free radical damage, which can lead to cancer development.
One of the most common denominators for illnesses like chronic inflammation, cancer, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes is diet. While the average person can speculate that meat is to blame for the obesity epidemic, it is more accurate to say that processed foods, a high percentage of which contain soybean oil, are helping to drive up obesity rates. A lot of these foods contain excess calories, and soybean oil contributes a hefty amount of calories to the average American’s diet. This is not to say that soybean oil is the sole cause of obesity in the world; rather, it plays a role.
The more important takeaway is that soybean oil consumption can lead to an unhealthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6s are beneficial for the body, but omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, meaning that an overabundance of omega-6s in the body causes it to be in a constant inflammatory state. This leads to chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for a variety of illnesses. Omega-6s aren’t unique to soybean oil. Other unhealthy oils have the same problems, but soybean oil is just much more present in the foods we eat.