Seed Oils vs. Saturated Fats: What’s Worse for Health?

Seed Oils & Obesity, Saturated Fat, Overall Energy Toxicity

Andrew Huberman and Dr. Layne Norton tackled this controversial issue head-on. Some point fingers at seed oils, blaming them for obesity and inflammation. Others accuse meat.

Huberman and Norton find common ground on one thing: we should moderate fats. This includes the usual suspects, olive oil and butter.

But what about the often-maligned seed oils, like canola? Originally known as rapeseed oil, its name wasn’t great for marketing. Hence, “canola” was born.

Dr. Norton points out that a surge in seed oil inclusion in our diets has bumped up our calorie intake. This, in turn, could spell trouble for our health.

But we can’t ignore the big picture – lifestyle choices play a huge role too. When it comes to fats, Norton urges us to discriminate. Each fat has a unique impact on our bodies.

The science is a bit of a mixed bag. Some studies suggest swapping saturated fats for polyunsaturated ones might just be a good move.

It could ease inflammation and be kinder to our hearts. But, pile on too much oil – any oil – and you’re in the danger zone of calorie overload.

Huberman and Norton are clear: seed oils aren’t the bad guys on their own. But, excessive calories are the real villain.

Saturated fats should make up just a slice – 7-10% – of our daily calories. This is the sweet spot for health, keeping risks at bay, they contend.

What if we skimp on saturated fats, though? Here, Norton notes some tricky trade-offs. Optimal testosterone levels are crucial for health but might clash with longevity goals.

There’s even a twist – some studies link diets rich in polyunsaturated fats with more lean muscle, as opposed to those heavy on saturated fats.

Towards the end, Dr. Norton embraces humility. Even the pros don’t have all the answers in nutrition science. He reminds us that our bodies need surprisingly little saturated fat.

Our liver steps up to the plate, producing the cholesterol we need. A drop in LDL cholesterol, often driven by lower saturated fat intake, seems to protect our hearts.

Processed Foods

Andrew Huberman laid out a simple rule: fill 80% of your diet with minimally processed foods. This strategy, according to Huberman, can lead to better health and a longer life.

What are minimally processed foods?

Think fresh apples, bananas, or oats—you know, the stuff that doesn’t last long outside the fridge.

Huberman’s point is to sidestep foods loaded with added sugars, which often means cooking more at home.

Yes, this takes more time than grabbing a pre-packaged meal, but the health benefits are worth it.

Dr. Layne Norton agrees but wants us to understand why it matters. Research, like that done by Kevin Hall, shows that ultra-processed foods make us overeat, leading to an extra 500 calories a day.

It’s not just the sugar, fat, or salt that hooks us—it’s the enticing combination of taste and texture.

This all complicates popular diet trends. Today you find “healthy” processed options for every diet, but as Norton points out, they’re usually higher in calories.

Norton adds a caveat, though. Not everyone should strictly avoid processed foods.

Athletes and active teenagers, for example, may need these foods to meet their calorie demands.

He draws an analogy with money. If you have a larger income, you can splurge occasionally without neglecting necessities.

Similarly, those with higher calorie needs can enjoy some processed foods as long as they cover their basics, like protein, fiber, and micronutrients.

In the end, Norton believes moderate processed food intake doesn’t directly harm health—if you manage other factors like total calories and body composition.

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