Dana from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia asked:

Can vegetable/seed oils cause cancer?

Seed oil

I've read that vegetable and seed oils increase your risk of developing cancer. Because of this, I am nervous about what I feed my kids, can you please tell me if what I’ve heard is true?

Our answer

There seems to be a lot of information on the internet suggesting a link between vegetable oil and increased cancer risk. However, when the World Cancer Research Fund reviewed the latest scientific evidence on fats, oils and cancer risk, it concluded that there was no evidence that eating vegetable and seed oils in moderation increased the risk of cancer. In fact a small amount of these types of fats help our bodies absorb some vitamins. Cancer Council supports the Australian Dietary Guidelines that encourage people to limit their intake of saturated fat. The guidelines advise that a small amount of unsaturated fats from seafood, nuts, avocado, olive oil and margarine-style spreads can be part of a healthy balanced diet. However, many processed foods such as cakes and biscuits can contain high levels of vegetable oils. The oils, as well as added sugars, contribute to the high kilojoule content of these products. We know that frequently consuming high kilojoule processed foods can contribute to weight gain, overweight and obesity, which increase your risk of certain cancers. The best thing you can do is to feed your kids plenty of different vegetables and fruit, legumes (e.g. lentils, chickpeas), wholegrain bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and moderate amounts of fish, chicken, lean meat and reduced-fat dairy foods. Go easy on processed and take away foods.

This page was last updated on: May 26, 2014
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