Seed Oils: What does the science say?

Seed Oils: What does the science say? 

Seed oils are an extremely controversial topic! You may have the following questions: 

  • What are seed oils? 
  • What does the science say about inflammation and seed oils? 
  • Are seed oils healthy in moderation?
  • Why do us Registered Dietitians and coaches here at Nutrition with Wendi recommend avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as top oils for our clients and athletes? 


All of these questions will be answered below, according to the science for you to review! 


Question 1: What are seed oils? 

There are 3 types of seed oils high in omega-3 fatty acids: soybean, corn, flax seed. These oils are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation and lower triglyceride levels! They also promote vitamin absorption and hormone support. In fact, research has shown a potential reduction in chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. 

There are 3 types of seed oils high in omega-6 fatty acids: corn, safflower, sunflower. Omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and cannot be synthesized in the body. The high omega-6 fatty acid content in these oils promote hormone support and vitamin absorption. Research has illustrated a potential for reducing chronic diseases! 

There are 3 types of oils high in monounsaturated fats and omega-9 fatty acids: olive, avocado, sunflower. The high omega-9 fatty acid content of these oils helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease inflammation, and improve blood sugar control! 


Question 2: What does the science say about inflammation and seed oils? 

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are in competition for the same enzymes. As a result, inflammation can occur. Research has shown the appropriate ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to be ~4:1 or less. Typical Western diets have ratios exceeding 15:1 due to high intakes of animal fats and corn oil, which is rich in the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid (Wall et al., 2010). To improve this ratio, replace corn, safflower, and soybean (seed oils) with healthier oils, such as avocado oil and EVOO!


Question 3: Are seed oils healthy in moderation?

Yes! All foods fit. Research shows clear benefits from seed oils. As with anything, moderation is key. Include them in your diet to help fight inflammation, keep triglyceride and LDL levels at bay, and promote heart health! 


Question 4: Why do we recommend avocado oil and EVOO to our athletes? 

Athletes who engage in strenuous exercise, defined as at least 1.5 hours of moderate- to high-intensity exercise have an increased risk for inflammation. This is in part due to an increase in the body’s anti-inflammatory compounds. Therefore, it is key to incorporate healthy fats to reduce exercise-induced inflammation. Many athletes benefit from increasing their omega-3 intake or altering their omega-3 and omega-6 ratios! 


Keep in mind that nutrition is never black and white. We do recommend butter, ghee, and coconut oil in moderation, along with plenty of animal fats too! All foods fit, but be mindful of your personal goals, needs, and health history! Read more HERE!


Reference these studies for more information: 

PMID 34608514, PMID 15774905, PMID 28526025, PMID 20351774, PMID 27434027, PMID 26615402, PMID 27434027


How can we work together?

  • If you are looking for a team talk or presentation fill out our contact form to set up a FREE 15-min call HERE. Check out our performance nutrition partnership HERE.
  • Health and performance guidebook that has over 170 resources including meal plans and tip sheets HERE.
  • Take our FREE health assessment to see if you’re a good fit for our family or student-athlete nutrition coaching programs. Click here
  • Details are available HERE.


What can hiring a sports nutritionist offer your program? Learn more here.  Interested in signing up for the NEW and upcoming NWW newsletter? Click here to sign up!

The Nutrition with Wendi team utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. We partner with parents, athletes, health professionals, and individuals and offer elite nutrition and health guidance for optimal athletic performance, injury, and disease reduction.  We provide virtual sports nutrition coaching, education, and presentations virtually in Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Arizona, and Michigan. Our primary office is based in Nashville, Tennesse where we serve the greater Brentwood, Franklin, and Green Hills communities.  Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Services booking here to consult with Wendi for a team talk or QA session.