Best Seed Oil Alternatives

Seed oils can be quite sneaky and can show up in “healthy” crackers, chips, and almost all manner of packaged foods. The terms, seed oil or vegetable oil, have a healthy ring to them, but they are far from health producing in your body. Thankfully there are some seed oil alternatives such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee and butter.

Our body needs a balance of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids but the general American diet, thanks in part to seed oils sways heavily in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. Too many omega-6 fatty acids can lead to inflammation and open the door to disease and dysfunction.

This is why we want to reduce our consumption of seed oils in favor of their alternatives that are actually beneficial for our health.

1. The best seed oil alternatives for cooking. 

A. Healthy cooking oils

Coconut Oil

Here’s what you want to look for in a quality coconut oil:

  • Certified organic
  • Unrefined or virgin
  • Cold-pressed
  • Solid form, not liquid

Using a high quality coconut oil will help ensure that the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties are intact.

Keep in mind that the smoke point for unrefined coconut oil is 350℉ whereas refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point, usually in the range of 400-450℉. While refined coconut oil means it’s been heated and the oil has been extracted from it, if you must use it, then look for one that is expeller-pressed, which indicates that no chemicals were used in the extraction process.

Unrefined coconut oil can last up to three years if properly stored in a cool, dark space. However, this is not so for refined coconut oil, which lasts only about 3 months even when stored in a cool, dark space.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil brands abound and the language can differ from bottle to bottle, all sounding pretty much the same, but there are a few key differentiating factors to consider:

  • To help minimize light exposure, look for oils in a dark, glass container
  • Be careful with imported oils, because many contain seed oils and are not 100% pure olive oil.
  • Generally, if the bottle’s label says, Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil it’s a mix of mostly refined olive oil blended with some, if any, unrefined olive oil whereas Extra Virgin Olive Oil is unrefined, cold-pressed oil (produced without any heat).
  • Look for the approved COCC sticker, which stands for the California Olive Oil Council. The COOC regulations are stricter than international requirements and only after an olive oil passes the chemical and taste tests, is it awarded the COOC seal which indicates that it is California-grown, 100% extra virgin olive oil.
  • When it comes to olive oil, organic isn’t as important as sourcing and quality. Olive trees tend to be robust and naturally pest-resistant, however, if you can find a 100% extra virgin olive oil from the U.S. that is organic, then that is going to the crème de la crème of olive oils.
  • Look for a harvesting date within 6 months because this will ensure that the polyphenols are still strong.
  • Use olive oil within 3-4 months.
  • Store in a cool, dark area
Avocado Oil

Some considerations when choosing an avocado oil:

  • Dark glass container
  • Choose the Chosen Foods brand. A study found that with the exception of the Chosen brand, most avocado oils contain other oils, so you’re not getting the pure oil that you think you are. The Chosen brand is 100% pure avocado oil, Non-GMO, certified glyphosate residue free, and naturally refined. Naturally refined means no chemicals were used in the extraction process, this is also what gives the oil its neutral taste and enables it to be used at high temperatures.
  • Refined avocado oil can withstand high temperatures whereas unrefined, cold-processed is better suited for dressings or lower heat cooking.
Ghee (clarified butter)

In case you’re not familiar with ghee, it is the form of butter you get when you separate the liquid and milk from the fat. Ghee is approximately 99% milk fat, making it a safer choice for those who are lactose-intolerant. It also can withstand high smoke points and in general is more flavorful than butter.

When choosing a ghee, you want to make sure that it comes from an organic dairy farm, grass-fed cows and in a glass container, otherwise plastic particles could be leeching into the ghee. To test and see if a ghee is truly pure and hasn’t been adulterated in some way, heat a teaspoon of ghee and if turns light yellow, then it’s likely not pure, if it turns a dark brown color then it’s likely pure ghee.

Due to the high fat content of both ghee and butter, and the fact that toxins are stored in fat cells, we want to be selective about the quality of butter and ghee that we consume.


Butter differs from ghee in that it is a less concentrated form of milk fat.

Commercial butter in the U.S. is required to be at least 80% milk fat.

Fat in general makes foods more flavorful. Ghee with its nutty profile is preferred for cooking, while butter with its sweet profile, is preferred for baking. Although butter can certainly be used for cooking as long as the temperatures are below 375°F.

As you can probably guess, it’s important to use organic, grass-fed butter. To ensure butter is truly grass-fed, you can look for third party certification labels from the Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.), American Grass-fed Association. Grass-fed butter is going to be a darker yellow vs regular butter that will be lighter, almost white in color. The deep yellow color comes from the grass that the cows feed on which is rich in beta-carotene.

B. Best oils to use on high heat that have a high smoke point: avocado and ghee (clarified butter) 

Usually high smoke point oils are necessary when we bake, fry, or grill our food. You may wonder why we want to avoid an oil or fat’s smoke point in the first place?

The issue with hitting high smoke points is that they can produce toxic compounds, distort the flavor of food, and also destroy valuable nutrients. 

This is why if you’re going to be cooking at high temperatures, I recommend using avocado oil which has a smoke point of 520°F and ghee which has a smoke point of 375-485°F.


2. List of seed oils to avoid/Foods with these oils

A. Soybean, rapeseed, sunflower, saffllower, palm, corn, cottonseed, canola, rice bran

One of the issues with seed oils is that they have gone through a refining process that has stripped away their antioxidants in order to preserve their shelf life and improve their taste. In essence, they are devoid of nutritional value, on top of that the foods that they are used in are usually ultra-processed packaged foods – a double negative on the health accumulation scale!

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that 10 weeks of canola oil consumption increases inflammatory fatty tissue and endothelial dysfunction in blood vessels which is the precursor to atherosclerosis and heart disease. This isn’t just published research without real life examples. 

I have countless patients who’ve had issues with losing weight, tendonitis, muscle pain, migraines, eczema who upon finally eliminating all manner of these rancid vegetable oils, their symptoms disappeared.

If you’ve been consuming a diet heavy in vegetable oils, you’re giving your body subpar fatty acid materials to build and repair your brain and peripheral nervous system. When the brain doesn’t have the building blocks to repair itself, memory and focus can be impaired. What else would you expect but a nervous system that doesn’t track well and often feels like it has been set on fire!

B. Packaged foods such as crackers, baked goods, chips, even found in so called “healthy” packaged foods.

Go to your pantry and check your crackers, chips, salad dressings, dairy substitutes, cereals, ice cream, protein bars, vitamin D, E, peanut butter, yep all of them, along with many more products go through heavy processing. They will likely have canola oil, safflower, sunflower, soybean or corn oil in them.

It can seem overwhelming to eliminate vegetable oils from your diet if you haven’t already been consciously trying to avoid them. However, instead of avoiding ice cream, start by avoiding ice creams with vegetable oils in them. Instead of eliminating bread, start by not eating bread that contains vegetables oils in it. Instead of doing away with peanut butter and your non-dairy creamer, start by eliminating the ones with canola, soy, safflower and sunflower oil in them.

3. How do I eliminate seed oil from my diet?

A. Stick with real, whole foods – veggies, fruit, meat, nuts (check labels for oils)

Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is one of the best ways to avoid vegetable oils. Where you get into trouble is when you wander off into those middle aisles where all the packaged foods are.

B. Make your own baked goods instead of store bought goods that are full of vegetable oils.

If you are eating food in its natural state or close to it, then you won’t have to worry about vegetable oils in your diet. If there’s a baked good item that you enjoy, try recreating at home with good oils.

While you’re substituting your favorite recipe with good oils, you may also want to reduce the amount of sugar or type of sugar you’re using. Do you love to bake? Try to use only unrefined sugars in all of your baking and decrease the amount of sugar used in each batch of baking by 1/10th each month. Your tastebuds will not recognize the difference but your waistline will!

Dr. Ama’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Serving Size:
Bake 10-12min


  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2.5 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips


  1. You can add walnut pieces and shredded unsweetened coconut flakes to this base to switch it up a little. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 10-12 min.

Clearing your cupboards and shopping carts of vegetable oils is one of the first action steps I recommend if you want to improve your health, reduce inflammation and potentially see some of those nagging aches and pains go away.

What’s your favorite seed oil alternative?

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