Oils that are not recommend for cooking in order from worst to least worst are: safflower oil (10.1 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), grapeseed oil (9.5 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), vegetable (7.9 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), wheat germ (7.5 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), corn oil (7.3 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), walnut (7.3 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), cottonseed (7.0 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), soybean (7.0 grams omega-6s/Tbsp), sunflower (5.4 grams omega-6s/Tbsp) and canola oil (3.0 grams omega-6s/Tbsp).
Supplements: You don't need to go looking for omega-6s and you certainly don't need to supplement them. So why in the world are supplements sold, by highly reputable companies, which combine the two? They're trying to mimic a good ratio within the supplement itself. This would be fine if it was the only source. But again, your diet is likely already jam-packed with omega-6 fats—don't supplement them.
Whole food versus isolated nutrients: If you're wondering why nut oils are "bad," but nuts are OK to consume, it's important to remember that isolated nutrients and foods are different than whole foods. Walnut oil, for example, is a fat that has been pressed from the whole food walnut, and it becomes a different food than a walnut, which also contains protein, fiber and other nutrients. When packaged as a whole-food walnut, the other nutrients affect the absorption and metabolism of individual nutrients. When isolated, walnut oil is concentrated.
Omega-9 fats: Lastly, there are omega-9 fats. These are largely neutral in the inflammation versus anti-inflammatory system. They're often combined with other fats and are found in significant amounts of olive oil and olives, many nuts, avocados and high-oleic oils.
The take-home message: Stick to whole, real, slow foods whenever possible and make most of your meals. The more convenient, commercial or fast the food, the more omega-6s you'll discover. If you choose to buy commercial condiments or other processed foods, be picky and identify the fat used. Cook with the right fats at home and choose omega-3 supplements that don't add more omega-6s. You can fight chronic inflammation and give your body fuel that it can use to stay healthy.
For a full review on omega-6s versus omega-3 fats and health consequences, check out The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD.
Healthy Fat Dressing Recipe: Delicious Asian Ginger Dressing
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root (The skins comes off easily with the side of a spoon)
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce or soy sauce mixed 1:1 with water
- 3 tablespoon organic honey
Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy over a fresh salad, or as a seasoning oil for stir fry dishes.
Stay healthy with our nutrition guide.