This post is sponsored by the United Soybean Board through Kitchen PLAY.
Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle these days is challenging to say the least.
And I’m not even talking about the part where we have to pass up all those “treats” that tempt us to break our healthy eating resolutions. I’m talking about just wading through all the information out there and figuring out what is true and what isn’t.
“Carbs are bad – you shouldn’t eat ANY. You should eat an all meat and butter diet.”
“Meat is bad – you should avoid ALL animal products and only eat plants.”
“Butter and eggs are bad.”
“Butter and eggs have important nutrients and you should eat them three times a day.”
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little for effect, but no matter what the subject, there is always a lot of conflicting information. I know that what I do to try to sort through all of the noise is look for actual scientific facts to answer whatever question I am facing at the moment.
You may have heard a lot of conflicting information about soybean oil and it’s left you wondering if soybean oil is good for you or not. Let’s take a look at some of the FACTS.
Where can I buy soybean oil?
You might not be familiar with the term “soybean oil”, but I’m willing to bet you’ve been eating it whether you realize it or not. Most of the vegetable oil sold in your grocery store is 100% soybean oil, and the oil in many of your favorite packaged goods and favorite restaurant meals is also soybean oil.
Some of the soybean oil used by restaurants and food packagers is a high oleic oil sourced from a new variety of soybean plant that has higher levels of oleic acid. Oleic acid is a fatty acid that has been studied extensively and has been linked to reduced inflammation and may possibly have a beneficial effect on genes related to cancer. (I didn’t make this up. You can read more about it here.)
How does soybean oil affect your health?
All soybean oil is also an excellent source of alpha-linolenic (ALA) omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are widely known as healthy fats and are recognized as supporting cardiovascular health and potentially reducing blood pressure for some people. Soybean oil is a great non-fish source of omega-3 fats for those who adhere to a plant-based diet or just don’t care for fish.
And in 2017, the FDA recognized the benefits of soybean in a claim stating, “Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 and 1⁄2 tablespoons (20.5 grams) daily of soybean oil, which contains unsaturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, soybean oil is to replace saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.”
Then again in 2018 they supported the following statement: “Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that daily consumption of about 1 and 1⁄2 tablespoons (20 grams) of oils containing high levels of oleic acid, when replaced for fats and oils higher in saturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, oleic acid-containing oils should not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.”
So, it looks like the answer to the question about soybean oil being good for you is a “Yes!” In fact, soybean oil boasts several health benefits!
Where are soybeans grown?
Another concern about a high-volume crop like soybean centers around the farming practices. With all we’ve heard about farming shrinking and becoming subdivisions, half of the land in the U.S. is still dedicated to farming, and soybeans are the second largest crop. Over 80 million acres are dedicated to soybean crops, and there are over 515,000 soybean farmers in the U.S.
I know I see soybean farms all over Southeastern Wisconsin! You can learn more about soybean farming in your own state as well.
Are soybeans grown responsibly?
Ninety-five percent of U.S. soybean producers work with the USDA to ensure they are using effective conservation practices on their farms. These practices include things like crop rotation, reduced tillage and water management to help control soil erosion. Soybean farmers are working hard to reduce land use impact by 10%, reduce soil erosion by an additional 25%, increase energy use efficiency by 10%, and reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2025.
Hopefully, this has answered some of the questions you have about soybean oil and the next time you are shopping or cooking, you can make a more informed choice about what oil you use.