Oils High in Omega-6s Flunk a Test
Vegetable oils are praised as healthy alternatives to the saturated fats found in butter and the trans fats in some margarine. But Canadian researchers say all oils aren’t created equal. Previous research has linked oils high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as olive oil, to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and improved heart health. Mixed oils—those with both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—are thought to provide similar benefits. The researchers’ analysis of data on vegetable oils’ effect on heart health suggests that oils rich in omega-6s but with virtually no omega-3s, such as corn and safflower oils, don’t protect the heart. In fact, some studies found that while oils high in omega-6s reduced LDL cholesterol, they also raised the risk of death from coronary artery disease. The authors say more research is needed into whether oils high in omega-6s are best avoided.
Source: CMAJ, published online Nov. 11, 2013