The Verdict on Vegetable Oil: Eat Up!

The war on oil doesn't have to do with natural resources.

The real oil predicament – at least in nutrition circles – is one that has to do with good fats, bad fats and how much oil is really OK to consume.

While vegetable oil made from canola, corn or soy has been said to possess heart-healthy properties that can reduce cholesterol levels, recently experts have been worried that we're eating too much of it.

Not so, reveals a new study from the University of Missouri.

Linoleic acid and health

An earlier animal study found that a diet rich in linoleic acid – a compound found in vegetable oils – increased inflammation. But the new MU study reveals that vegetable oil consumption isn't linked to inflammation indicators in humans.

"In the field of nutrition and health, animals aren't people," Kevin Fritsche, a MU professor of animal science and nutrition in the Division of Animal Sciences, said in a press release. "We're not saying that you should just go out and consume vegetable oil freely. However, our evidence does suggest that you can achieve a heart-healthy diet by using soybean, canola, corn and sunflower oils instead of animal-based fats when cooking."

As an omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid is an essential nutrient and, according to health experts, actually plays a role in helping the body prevent certain types of chronic disease – especially those that disrupt hormone balance or cause weight gain.

Fats are OK

After studying about 500 adults who consumed various types of fats, including vegetable oils, the researchers concluded that there was no evidence linking vegetable oils to inflammation. Based on this, they suggest following the current recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association about using vegetable oil for cooking.

Between two and four tablespoons of vegetable oil a day will provide the amount of linoleic acid needed for heart health, the study concluded.

"We know that animal fats can encourage inflammation, but in this study, we've been able to rule out vegetable oil as a cause," Fritsche said.

Source: Science Daily

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