A New Look At Vegetable Oils – Are They Heart Healthy?
New research published in British Medical Journal suggests that a form of omega-6 fatty acid, commonly found in many vegetable oils, may actually boost heart disease risk. Till now, omega-6 fatty acids, a type of poly-unsaturated fat, have been considered “generally heart healthy.” In fact, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid consumption is considered a cornerstone of heart health.
The researchers now suggest that many of these vegetable oils contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid. It may be only the omega-3 fatty acids contributing to heart health. When they isolated just omega-6 fatty acids and used it in a controlled study, in the form of safflower oil margarine which only has linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) they found rates of heart diseases increased in the subjects who used it exclusively. Researchers theorize that omega-6 fatty acids may increase “oxidized LDL” and this component of cholesterol may contribute to heart disease.
For now, the American Heart Association recommends avoiding trans fats and limiting saturated fats. The balance of fats in your diet should include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Choosing the polyunsaturated oils with lower levels of omega-6 fatty acids is probably prudent. Canola and olive oil have far lower percentages of omega-6 fatty acids. Safflower, corn and sunflower oil have significantly higher percentages of omega-6 fatty acids.