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Vegetable oils & synthetic antioxidants.

Vegetable oils such as canola oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, corn oil and various other “vegetable oils” are highly processed oils that use chemicals such as hexane in their manufacture and are not what I would consider healthy fats for our bodies. There are other reasons I suggest avoidance of these oils which I will write about another time.

As well as the chemical processing, these vegetable oils often also contain additives that can have a negative impact on health. Synthetic antioxidants are added to “vegetable oils” to prevent them from going rancid. Very often they don’t have to be listed on the label due to a labelling loophole that says if an additive makes up less than 5% of the product it doesn’t have to be listed.

If the synthetic antioxidants are on a label they are listed as Gallates with the numbers 310, 311, 312 and TBHQ 319, BHA 320, and BHT 321.

You will find synthetic antioxidants in bottles of the “vegetable oils” listed above but also in lots of products that contain them such as:

  • Margarines and table spreads

  • Peanut butter and other spreads

  • Cakes, biscuits, crackers and other baked goods

  • Pies and pastries

  • Bread

  • Mayonnaise, salad dressing and dips

  • Breakfast cereals

  • Chips and snack foods

  • Deep fried foods, hot chips, fish and chips and other take away foods

  • Frozen foods and ready meals

  • Chewing gum

  • Cosmetics, lipsticks, lip gloss, chap stick, moisturisers, shampoo and conditioner

Some of the ways patients report synthetic antioxidants impacting health are irritability, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, brain fog, fatigue, eczema, reflux, bloating, abdominal pain, IBS type symptoms, headaches and migraines, frequent colds, asthma.

Animal studies have shown various effects of synthetic antioxidants including:

Lung cancer:


Urticaria (itchy skin- eczema)

Bladder cancer:

Hormonal disruption:

Some of the food items on the above list are probably best left on the shelf but there are lots of great options that don’t use “vegetable oils” with synthetic antioxidants. There are also much better oils and fats to use at home too such as extra virgin olive oil.

If you would like help in determining if food additives are having an impact on your health please get in touch, I would love to help. Xx

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