Summary: Now is the time to be wary of and consider eliminating polyunsaturated fatty acids soybean oil and corn oil (as well as vegetable oil —since this typically contains soybean oil) as they were found to:
- Link to diabetes and metabolic syndrome. In the US, metabolic syndrome is estimated to be present in 20–30% of adults and 3–10% of children [100,101].
- Significantly affect the expression of many genes that metabolize drugs and other foreign compounds that enter the body, suggesting that a soybean oil-enriched diet could affect one’s response to drugs and environmental toxicants. The single most highly represented family of dysregulated genes was that of the [key liver detox] cytochrome P450 (Cyp) genes (30 genes total).
Also worth noting: the soybean plus fructose diet had less severe metabolic effects compared to the soybean oil diet, but it did cause more negative effects in the kidney and a marked increase in prolapsed rectums, a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which like obesity is on the rise.
The significance of this study: the July, 2015 study, Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic and Diabetogenic than Coconut Oil and Fructose in Mouse: Potential Role for the Liver, is believed to be the first side-by-side study looking at the impact of saturated fat, unsaturated fat and fructose on obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which along with heart disease and hypertension, are referred to as the Metabolic Syndrome. It is also the first study to perform the corresponding liver genome-wide expression profiling and metabolomics analysis.
These are additional papers showing similar results for mice fed salmon that had been fed vegetable oils: high fat diet supplemented with oils high in linoleic acid leads to obesity and fatty liver:
- Intake of farmed Atlantic salmon fed soybean oil increases insulin resistance and hepatic lipid accumulation in mice. Mouse diet: standard Western diet (WD) having 50% of the protein source replaced with proteins from salmon fed fish oil (FO), rapeseed [canola] oil (RO), olive oil (OO), or soy bean oil (SO). Finding: the vegetable oil (VO) diets have markedly different spillover effects on metabolism in mice… the content of linoleic acid in vegetable oils may be a matter of concern that warrants further investigation… this raises the important question as to whether similar effects will be observed in humans consuming Atlantic salmon fed VOs, SO in particular, and in this context our study suggests that RO and/or OO represent a better choice than SO to replace FO. 
- Dietary linoleic acid elevates endogenous 2-arachidonoylglycerol and anandamide in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) and mice, and induces weight gain and inflammation in mice. In conclusion, mice fed soyabean-oil-fed-salmon increased LA and AA and decreased EPA and DHA in the liver and erythrocyte phospholipids, and elevated 2-AG and AEA associated with increased feed efficiency, weight gain and adipose tissue inflammation compared with mice fed fish-oil-fed-salmon. Excessive dietary LA elevates endocannabinoids in the liver of salmon and mice, and increases weight gain and counteracts the anti-inflammatory properties of EPA and DHA in mice. 
- Other studies have also shown that dietary LA can cause adiposity in humans [165,166] and lead to hyperglycemia as well as obesity in mice [19,167].
However, no study looked specifically at LA; all looked at LA oils. These authors note: while LA might be regulating the expression of certain genes via nuclear receptors, a component of the oils in addition to LA could be involved in one or more of the observed metabolic effects. Regardless of which components in soybean oil are responsible for those effects, its increasing use both in the U.S. and worldwide [16,168] warrants a detailed understanding of its effect on our health
As promised, I am still working on finalizing Part 2 to the post, MEET THE FATS & BEST SALAD DRESSING OIL, PART 1
Part 2 delivers the technicals and Pubmed why’s behind fatty acids and impact on health. In the meantime, this post presents the death nell teaser, trailer and bottom line for polyunsaturated soybean and corn oils (and the ingredient “vegetable oil”) which are ubiquitous in the food system; what is even more telling, while this study found health implications associated with soybean oil and corn oil, the authors suggest that all industrial seed oils will likely be found to similarly implicate health concerns.
This all makes for quite a decision since some oils are known as having cardiovascular benefits:
Does one consume these oils for the cardiovascular benefits despite the increased risk of Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome AND epigenetic impact on drug and toxicant metabolism, or does that harm outweigh the benefits?
The researchers cautioned that they didn’t study the impact of the diets on cardiovascular diseases and note in the paper that the consumption of vegetable oils could be beneficial for cardiac health, even if it also induces obesity and diabetes. The authors note that there are many different types of saturated and unsaturated fats, and this is particularly true for the saturated fats in animal products that were associated with heart disease in the studies in the 1960s: they tend to have a longer chain length than the saturated fats in coconut oil [which are medium chain.]
Ummm…. you’ll understand this wisdom in fatty acid differentiation, and that other fatty acids are beneficial to heart health, when the follow up post to the MEET THE FATS & BEST SALAD DRESSING OIL, PART 1 publishes. In the meantime…
Most important: there are alternatives to these industrial seed oils for heart health and they are explained in, and primarily why I posted, MEET THE FATS & BEST SALAD DRESSING OIL, PART 1 —some would be: unadulterated EVOO, maybe organic cold pressed canola, avocado, and eggs to name a few.
A favorite avocado dressing/dip recipe, that freezes and travels fabulously well:
Of course, you already know that I think it is imperative that you understand fats, that some of them are good and some of them are bad, since:
Modifying just 3 factors delivers 80% of value in terms of disease risk and body composition (even if you are genetically programmed to not be lean) according to Dr. Peter Attia, M.D. (bio: mechanical engineer ⇒ Stanford MD ⇒ surgical oncology fellow ⇒ healthcare consultant ⇒ NUSI founder conducting best possible research without bias to answer with scientific certainty — what we need to eat to be healthy questioning current guidelines.) Those factors are:
- Lower consumption of sugar,
- Lower absolute consumption of carbohydrates, and
- More favorable consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)
Thus this post introduces a shocker to most, that what has been touted as healthy, vegetable oil, is not healthy as it contains soybean oil which caused more obesity and diabetes than a diet high in fructose or coconut oil, at least in mice. Interestingly, your doctor likely won’t be aware of this information.
If you are still on the fence regarding the need to cut back, it is important and telling to note that even the researchers recommend cutting back vegetable oil, soybean oil, and corn oil:
More research is needed to unveil the nitty gritty details of how soybean oil wrecks our health.. it makes sense to cut back where you can… So, avoid processed food that lists the stuff [vegetable oil, soybean oil and corn oil per this study] as an ingredient as much as possible. As for cutting it out altogether? It’s worth a shot, but good luck. “It’s so prevalent in our food system. If something says vegetable oil, it’s most likely soybean oil, or soybean oil is a component,” warned Deol. –The common oil that science now shows is worse than sugar
How to eliminate vegetable oil, soybean oil, and corn oil
Since there are heart healthy alternatives to the industrial seed oils, consider eliminating now any food having ingredients: vegetable oil, soybean oil, or corn oil as specifically supported by this study, and gear up for better understanding that all industrial seed oils are likely going to be understood to be harmful to health. This harm will need to be compared to any benefits that may be found, to understand if the harm outweighs the benefits, as researchers dig deeper. Don’t forget, fructose too was implicated in this study, but this post is about industrial seed oils.
Eliminating vegetable oil, soybean oil, and corn oil is no small task; read labels and learn these oils are ubiquitous in the food system. Recollect my constant reminder:
- Quitting things cold-turkey can be hard.
- Try eliminating the bad by crowding it out with better alternatives.
- You can’t stop everything you’re doing if you aren’t prepared to replace it with healthier alternatives. You cannot make the transition over night.
To reduce/eliminate vegetable oil, soybean oil, and corn oil, consider making your own foods, using healthy fats, for those foods frequently consumed that use these industrial seed oils.
One hugely consumed food item easily changed up is salad dressings as most use industrial seed oils.
Salads contain lots of carotenoids and micronutrients, but you need fat to absorb the carotenoids and fat soluble micronutrients; low-fat and no-fat salad dressing options do not absorb these. Most of us are carotenoid deficient —why do you want carotenoids? Read the Meet the FATS post.
It is fast & easy to make your own salad dressing using healthy fats
The recipe for Family Favorite EVOO, Red Wine Vinegar, and Honey from the Meet the FATS post is one example, but others are on the Pinterest Salad Dressing Board. The avocado based dressing/dip provided above is a winner too since only 1/2 an avocado can be used in place of salad dressing for carotenoid absorption, as discussed in the Meet the FATS post. Also learned from the Meet the FATS post, you only need to use a mere 3 grams (that’s a scant 2/3 teaspoon) of monousaturated oil (e.g., EVOO) since no further carotenoid absorption was achieved using 20 grams. Contrast this to needing a lot of polyunsaturated fats for the same carotenoid absorption and that equates to lots of excess needless calories. Healthy fats that work for use in salad dressings include avocado and unadulterated extra virgin olive oil; such brands described in the Meet the FATS post are:
- Pure and unadulterated EVOO sources are: Costco Kirkland Organic, California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Lucero (Ascolano), & McEvoy Ranch Organic.
- Brands that failed to meet the EVOO standards: Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, Pompeian, Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods.
Lastly, from the Pinterest Salad Dressing Board, the Fabulous Greek House Dressing (from a pizzeria restaurant) and the Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette dressings are so delicious they are actually always in my healing refrigerators.
Time to discuss the details of the mouse study: Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic and Diabetogenic than Coconut Oil and Fructose in Mouse: Potential Role for the Liver
UC Riverside scientists found mice on high soybean oil diet showed increased levels of weight gain and diabetes compared to mice on a high fructose diet or high coconut oil diet. –Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil and fructose.
Four Diets used in the study: All four diets contained the same number of calories and there was no significant difference in the amount of food eaten by the mice on the diets. Each diet contained 40% fat which is similar to what Americans currently consume:
- Saturated fat (coconut oil)
- Half coconut oil + half polyunsaturated soybean oil. This diet corresponds with roughly the amount of soybean oil Americans currently consume. Soybean oil is the main ingredient in “vegetable oil”.
- Unsaturated fat (soybean oil)
- Fructose (comparable to the amount consumed by many Americans) + the balance of the fat all coming from saturated fat (coconut oil)
- Fructose (comparable to the amount consumed by many Americans) + the balance of the fat coming from half coconut oil and half polyunsaturated soybean oil.
What about olive oil and lard? They are currently testing these.
What about corn oil? It was also causing more obesity than coconut oil, but not as much as soybean oil.
What about canola oil and palm oil? It hasn’t been tested yet.
Finding #1: Relative to obesity and diabetes
- A diet high in soybean oil caused more obesity and diabetes than a diet high in fructose. Both are ubiquitous in our food system, be it restaurant, fast food, prepared food, processed food, or boxed food.
- Soybean oil diet without fructose gained the most weight—9% more than the fructose-eating mice. The soybean oil fed mice also had fattier livers and more insulin resistance compared to the fructose-eating mice. Fattier livers and more insulin resistance are both signs of impending diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Soybean oil diet without fructose gained a whopping 25% more than the mice who got their fat from coconut oil. These soybean-fed mice had increased weight gain, larger fat deposits, a fatty liver with signs of injury, diabetes and insulin resistance, all of which are part of the Metabolic Syndrome.
- Fructose in the diet had less severe metabolic effects than soybean oil although it did cause more negative effects in the kidney and a marked increase in prolapsed rectums, a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which like obesity is on the rise. Mice on the fructose-enriched diet gained 12 percent more weight than those on a coconut oil rich diet.
“That was a surprise, [that the fructose-eating mice did not pack on the most fat and develop the worst insulin resistance] given that most people think that unsaturated fatty acids (like those found in soybean oil) are supposed to be healthy,” said lead study author Poonamjot Deol, Ph.D., a cell biologist at the University of California, Riverside. They’re also everywhere. A full half of all the vegetable oil produced in the world is soybean oil. And since it’s cheap, the stuff is used in endless packaged foods. It’s also a favorite at restaurants—many of which tout the fact that they use soybean oil right on their menus because it’s perceived as healthy.–The common oil that science now shows is worse than sugar
- Corn oil caused more obesity than coconut oil, but not as much obesity as soybean oil.
The researchers were surprised with the findings: “This was a major surprise for us – that soybean oil is causing more obesity and diabetes than fructose – especially when you see headlines everyday about the potential role of sugar consumption in the current obesity epidemic.“ –Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil and fructose
Finding #2: Relative to epigenetics and metabolite levels in livers that impact drug and toxin metabolism
The study also included extensive analysis of changes in gene expression and metabolite levels in the livers of mice fed these diets. The most striking results were those showing that soybean oil significantly affects the expression of many genes that metabolize drugs and other foreign compounds that enter the body, suggesting that a soybean oil-enriched diet could affect one’s response to drugs and environmental toxicants, if humans show the same response as mice. –Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil and fructose:
While the researchers aren’t totally sure “what makes soybean oil so horrible, they guess that it could have something to do with the way the stuff influences genes that determine how the liver metabolizes fat. And other processed vegetable oils might not be much better.” –The common oil that science now shows is worse than sugar
Regarding Finding #2: Can soybean oil really compromise our bodies ability to detox?
In this rat study, cow ghee (clarified butter,) was found to have a protective effect against carcinogen induced mammary cancer in rats compared to soybean oil… dietary cow ghee compared to soybean oil down-regulates the enzyme activities responsible for carcinogen activation in the liver… decreasing the activities of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1 and CYP2B1…and up-regulates carcinogen detoxification activities in liver and mammary tissues. Cow ghee contains a large amount of saturated —including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and MUFA, with concomitant lower PUFA. Contrast this to soybean oil — low saturated and MUFA, but high PUFA especially inflammatory Omega-6. The authors theorize that the “modified degree of unsaturation in lipids changed the physicochemical environment of the microsomal membranes, which may be responsible for the decrease CYP1A1, CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 activities observed in cow ghee fed rats… I’m not committal yet… cow ghee used in the study contained rich amount of CLA which is a well documented anticarcinogenic agent.
NOTE though: Of utmost importance, P450 is an important liver detox enzyme and is required for the first step in detox:
How did we come to consume so much industrial seed oils for so long, without knowledge of the harm they cause?
For great background and summary, read Changes in consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the United States during the 20th century. In summary: US consumption of soybean oil increased greatly in the last four decades due to a number of factors. Studies dating back to the 1960s found a positive correlation between saturated fats and the risk of cardiovascular disease; nutritional guidelines encouraged people to reduce saturated fats (mostly found in meat and dairy products) and instead increase polyunsaturated fats found in plant oils, such as soybean oil. During the same time, US fructose consumption significantly increased, from about 37 grams per day in 1977 to about 49 grams per day in 2004.
Implementation of those new guidelines, as well as an increase in the cultivation of soybeans, mostly GMO, resulted in an incredible increase of soybean oil in restaurant foods, prepared foods, fast food, processed foods, margarines, salad dressings and snack foods. Soybean oil now accounts for 60 percent of edible oil consumed in the US and that increase mirrors the rise in obesity rates in the United States in recent decades:
The pearl of those follow-up posts: It is the composition of fatty acids contained within the particular oil, be it saturated or polyunsaturated, that elicits inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects
Those follow up posts will detail these considerations diving into the hows industrial seed oils are wrecking our health. It is complicated information, but you’ll want to understand it so as to choose better oils in all your foods.
These slides are previews of the post, you know it’s coming… and understanding degrees of unsaturation in lipids will be presented such that you’ll easily learn fatty acid nuances:
Plenish… will they ever stop trying to fix soybean oil? Plenish was engineered to make it’s fatty acid profile look like olive oil’s… but it still failed.
The study which is the focus of this post, actually follows a study that was presented at a conference in March that compared regular soybean oil to a new genetically modified soybean oil, Plenish. Both the regular soybean oil and Plenish are from soybeans that are genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide RoundUp. Plenish is a new genetically modified, high oleic soybean oil engineered to produce higher levels of oleic acid (an Omega-9) and low levels of linoleic acid (an Omega-6) – to be similar in profile to olive oil. Plenish has a lower amount of polyunsaturated fatty acid than traditional soybean oil. Plenish was found to be just barely healthier than regular soybean oil. In mice, Plenish oil induced fatty liver although somewhat less obesity and diabetes. Plenish did not cause insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition. Worth noting: the Plenish research only looked at impact due to diet lasting for only 24 weeks – this is half the duration needed to qualify as long-term and a quarter of the duration needed to test for cancer effects. So long term consumption on cancer impact is not known. Relative to cancer, oleic acid studies conflict for breast cancer association; this study linked high oleic acid levels in red blood cells with an increased risk of breast cancer. See more at “Healthy” claims for GM soybean oil questioned by new study.
Fatty acids… complicated stuff… look for those follow up posts soon to be coming…
Last updated: February 18, 2017 at 9:01 am
In health thru awareness,