Is Soybean Oil Bad For You?
Soybean oil is one of the most consumed commercial cooking oil. This is mostly because it is cheap and readily available in local groceries stores. Top manufacturers also prefer to use soybean oil in processed, and packaged foods.
With all of its popularity and frequent use in many fast food stores, soyabean oil continues to divide opinions. Some people believe in the oil’s ability to enhance general body health, and some people don’t.
That you are reading this article right now, is proof that you are probably in search of answers too. So to clear the air and attempt to provide answers to all of the questions that you may have, we will take a look at all that soyabean oil has to offer shortly.
But before we go into of all that, let’s first take a look at some basic characteristics of soyabean oil.
What is Soy-bean Oil?
Like every other seed oil, soyabean oil is pressed from soybean seeds. Though it has a lot of nutritional constituents, soyabean oil is predominantly high in polyunsaturated fats. This means that in 100g of soyabean oil, you are guaranteed to get 58g of polyunsaturated fat (basically, linoleic and linolenic acid).
Linoleic acids or omega-6-fatty acids which make up most parts of polyunsaturated fat found in soy oil, are bad fat that’s easily damaged on exposure to heat. Also, soyabean oil is very low in saturated fat which is probably why most people believe that it is ‘healthy’.
Whether this is true or not, we shall see shortly. In the meantime, let’s examine how soyabean oil is made.
How is Soya Bean made?
While soyabean oil is pressed from soybeans, it is not cold-pressed like other forms of vegetable oil. This is because it is pretty difficult to squeeze oil out of soyabean. As a result, extracting oil out of soybean seeds has to follow all of the processes listed below.
This process involves the use of heat and pressure to forcefully press oil out of the seeds.
After pressing oil out of the soybean, there are chances that small amounts of oil may remain in the seeds. To get them out, a solvent called hexane is used. Afterward, steam and vacuum are used to remove hexane solvent since it is a toxin.
The extracted oil is then bleached to remove inherent impurities that are unwanted in the finished product.
The semi-finished soybean oil still contains some oxidation products which may give it an unpleasant smell. This is why a deodorization stage is greatly required to complete the production process. To accomplish this, a high- temperature (180 to 220-degree Celsius) distillation process is applied.
Note: This extraction process is peculiar to soybean and canola oils that require bleaching and deodorization during their production.
For every tablespoon of soybean oil that you take or mix with your cooking, you are guaranteed to get all of the nutritional benefits highlighted below.
- Fat (13.6g)
- Saturated fat (2.1g)
- Monounsaturated fat (3.1g)
- Polyunsaturated fat (7.9g)
- Omega-3-fatty (0.9g)
- Omega-6-fatty (6.9g)
- Vitamin E (1.11mg)
- Vitamin K (25.1 mcg)
- Selenium (6.24mcg)
- Calories (120Kcal)
If you look at the list above, you will notice that carbohydrate and protein were omitted. Well, this is because soybeans contain 0g of both.
Now that we have some basic information about soybean oil, let’s answer the big question you have been waiting to get answers to.
Is soybean oil bad for you?
Well, to answer this question, we’ll examine some health effects of consuming Soybean oil and we’ll take things up from there.
1. Soybean oil contains polyunsaturated fat that’s easily oxidated
Unlike fully stable saturated fat, polyunsaturated fats are more prone to oxidation. This is because their molecular structure contains too many double bond gaps which exposes its carbon atoms. So instead of linking to another hydrogen atom upon exposure to heat, the carbon atom forms two more links with other carbon atoms.
As a result, polyunsaturated fats contained in soybean oil have very poor oxidative stability when compared to other forms of vegetable oils like avocado oil, butter, and extra virgin olive oil. In the presence of high temperature, polyunsaturated fats oxidize to form complex compounds that may hurt your health.
For example, a study has shown that heating soybean at a high temperature of 185 degrees celsius or more can trigger the production of 4-hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal (HNE) which is known to have mutagenic and cytotoxic effects.
A rat study has also shown that consuming re-heated soybean oil has caused rats to develop vascular inflammation and high blood pressure.
While it can be argued that what applies to rats may not apply to humans, the deductions from the studies cannot be swept aside just like that. Yes, we may take solace in the fact that we don’t re-heat oil in our homes, but can we say the same about fast food stores? Chances are that they will use vegetable oil over and over again.
So it may be safe to say that polyunsaturated fat-rich soybean oil is not as heat-stable as other cooking oil.
2. Soybean Oil May Contribute To Obesity
Most people are always looking to shed off some weight whether it is for cosmetic or health reasons. Some individuals even go out of their way to take on diet routines that are sometimes very difficult to keep up with.
Which is why you need to know that your everyday consumption soybean oil could be contributing to your weight gain without you knowing. Some studies claim that soybean oil is more obesogenic than fructose and even coconut oil. So it is quite clear why most fast foods trigger weight gain.
If you are currently looking to cut down weight, then you are better off removing soybean oil from your diet.
3. Soybean triggers inflammation
Taking a close look at the nutritional information of soybean oil, its clear to see why experts believe it is a pro-inflammatory food.
Severe inflammation is known to contribute to most age-related disease. Eating anti-inflammatory foods is one of the best ways to avoid these diseases or prevent them from getting worse.
Polyunsaturated fat is one of the major components of soybean oil, which is closely followed by omega-6-fatty acids. A diet rich in this type of fat can increase your risk of inflammation and other associated diseases.
4. Soybean Oil is bad for the heart
Soybean oil tends to oxidize pretty rapidly and this poses a risk for the heart. Also, high omega-6-fatty acid content in your diet is bad for your cardiovascular system.
So if we add both situations together, it is clear to see that taking too much soybean oil is detrimental to your heart.
5. Soybean makes diabetes worse
According to the study on the health effect of consuming polyunsaturated fat, “a diet high in soy-bean is detrimental to the body’s metabolic health”. As a result, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance can be made even worse by consuming soybean oil consistently. This makes soybean pro-diabetes and diabetogenic.
In general, if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, it will makes a lot of sense to remove soybean oil from your diet.
6. Immune Toxicity
Experts believe that soybean is likely to have negative effects on the immune system.
In one research, participants were given soybean oil and olive oil for two weeks consecutively. After the observation period, their neutrophile and lymphocyte levels were tested.
It was discovered that those who took only soybean oil appeared to have lower neutrophile and lymphocytes levels. This means that they ended up with a poorer immune system than they started with. Immune cells are meant to fight against disease and your body will be in danger if they are depleted.
Soybean Oil Smoke Point
The smoke point is a fixed temperature at which oil breaks down and burns. This goes on to give food an unpleasant taste and generally makes it inedible. At the smoke point, oils give off free radicals that are harmful to the body.
Every cooking oil has a specific smoke point range, and soybean oil has a pretty high one. Your cooking soybean oil has a smoke point oabout 450 degree Farhenheit hence it is perfect for drying frying routines.
Uses Of Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is mostly used for cooking purposes. They are so popular that it is safe to assume that almost all fast food stores make use of soybean oil because it is cheap and readily available. Some people also use soybean oil as a flavor enhancer and they argue that this is the best use of the oil.
Large volumes of soybean oil are sold as raw materials for the production of biodiesel.
While soybean oil will continue to find relevance in most parts of the society, from the details of this post is pretty obvious that it poses a high health risk.
So is soybean bad for you? Based on scientific evidence, yes it bad for you. However, reduced and occasional usage of the oil may not be as bad.