Step 3 – Avoid Vegetable Oil to Avoid Acne

This really goes along with the diet principles in Step 1 but I decided to set this aside as it’s own thing because it is so important.

This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. It is also one of the most difficult thing to implement into your daily life. Do yourself a favor and start this now.

Avoid vegetable oil like the plague.

Avoid these oils:

  • Canola (rapeseed)
  • soybean
  • cottonseed
  • corn
  • sunflower
  • safflower
  • peanut

They are all completely unnecessary and detrimental to your health.


It took me many years to realize how pervasive and insidious vegetable oil is. After all, how bad could “vegetable” oil really be?! Once I removed 99% of the vegetable oils the stupid, stubborn, hard to fight weekly outbreaks abruptly stopped. My skin became much more manageable. All this while I had been eating paleo all along. It’s just that vegetable oil is easy to miss.

For me, it was olives and mixed nuts. Yeah, I thought I was just eating olives and mixed nuts. No, these olives were (unbeknownst to me since I failed to read the ingredients) soaking in sunflower or safflower oil all day. These mixed nuts were roasted in cottonseed oil.

I removed them. They were treats; not really necessary. I started eating plain raw nuts instead. The olives had to go because I can’t find any that aren’t soaked in garbage vegetable oil.

Vegetable oil is a new, man-made food.

Quick, go outside and find some animal fat. Ah, there it is on that deer, that squirrel. Now, go outside and grab some canola oil!

Yeah, I don’t know how to get that outside either. Have you ever seen rapeseeds growing outside? Have you ever seen anyone eating cottonseeds? Even if you did, you would never eat enough to add up to the equivalent of a teaspoon of pure oil. Don’t be misled by the word “vegetable” in there. Try to squeeze some oil out of broccoli or a carrot. Not happening. This is reason enough for me to avoid vegetable oil. It isn’t real food…for humans anyway.

Most vegetable oils you consume today must be chemically extracted from inedible seeds, not vegetables.

There are three methods of extracting vegetable oils from nuts, grains, beans, seeds or olives. The first is by use of a hydraulic press. This is an ancient method and yields the best quality oil. The only two materials that will yield enough oil without heating them first are sesame seeds and olives. Therefore, sesame oil and olive oil from a hydraulic press are the only oils which could truly be called “cold pressed”. (source)

So from here, we can understand why “cold pressed” and “virgin” olive or sesame oil can be acceptable in a human diet. You can literally squeeze them out of the seed or nut.

The second method is by expeller, described in “The Lowdown on Edible Oils” as follows: “This uses a screw or continuous press with a constantly rotating worm shaft. Cooked material goes into one end and is put under continuous pressure until discharged at the other end with oil squeezed out.” Temperatures between 200 and 250 degrees are normal. Obviously, this type of extraction does not qualify as “cold pressed” either.

This is the “expeller-pressed” version of an oil. Many of the coconut oils I use are expeller-pressed, but unrefined.

The last method is solvent extraction, described in “The Lowdown on Edible Oils” as “definitely dangerous to health.” “Oil bearing materials are ground, steam cooked, then mixed with the solvent (of a petroleum base) which dissolves out of the oils, leaving a dry residue. The solvent is separated from the oils. This method is universally used by the big commercial oil processors because it gets more oils out quicker and cheaper. About 98% of the soy oil in the U.S. is solvent extracted.

and continued…

Most commonly used solvents are light petroleum fractions — four types of Naptha used are Pentane, Heptane, Hexane, and Octane types; another solvent used is synthetic Trichlorethylene. Some of these are commonly found in gasoline. Most used solvent is Hexane.

To further “improve” the oil, it is then refined.

Refining is usually accomplished with the addition of sodium hydroxide and temperatures around 450 degrees. The refined oil is not considered edible without further processing, such as filtration, deodorization, bleaching.

So there you have it. You can either eat some lard, some churned cream from a cow…or I guess  you could eat the deodorized, bleached, gasoline extracted vegetable oils.

Obviously, an oil which must be chemically extracted could never been eaten in the wild. Why would it belong in a human diet? It doesn’t. That’s the answer. It’s been introduced through the industrial methods you’ve just read about.

Vegetable oil is a marketing gimmick.

Due to the fact that the FDA successfully scared everyone off of natural, healthy animal fats, we have these garbage vegetable oils everywhere instead. The lying, misinformed government told everyone that dietary saturated fat and cholesterol were killing us (not true). So naturally, in order to retain customers, food companies and restaurants started using vegetable oil, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in  omega-6 rich polyunsaturated fats instead.

Unfortunately for everyone, the government was wrong (shocker). So now, it’s almost impossible for you or I to go out to eat without being exposed to canola or soybean oil. I don’t want this crap in my diet but it’s everywhere.

Vegetable oil was the “perfect” substitute for all those “scary” animal fats. Not to mention a great way to get rid of all those pesky cotton seeds.

The fat we were eating for millenia is high in saturated fat and cholesterol but doctors and scientists abruptly decided they were bad for us. Vegetable oil filled the void.

Is it shocking that acne prevalence has increased since about the same time vegetable oil became popular? No.

Vegetable oil just isn’t good for you.

Never before in history have humans consumed such an abundance of polyunsaturated fats, like the ones we find in “vegetable” oil. (source) It throws off the entire balance of our fatty acid intake. Most “traditional” fats like animal fat, avocado, olive oil, or butter are composed mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fats and have a omega 3:6 fatty acid ratio of closer to 1:1 . Newfangled vegetable oils are composed mostly of polyunsaturated fats and high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.

This study quotes,

“Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) of approximately 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is 15/1-16.7/1.” (source)

There is evidence that excessive omega-6 may cause inflammation in the human body. (source). That sounds just like what acne sufferers need!

This is also part of the reason I supplement with cod liver oil. We live in a world drenched in garbage vegetable oils. I can’t always avoid eating at restaurants. Cod liver oil provides a massive counter attack, supplying Vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. It is my weapon of mass destruction against acne.

Vegetable oil is literally everywhere.

Deep fryers, commercial kitchens and restaurants, salad dressings, mayonnaise, movie popcorn, etc etc etc..

Good luck eating out. I mean, seriously good luck. I still struggle with it to this day. I get it because I like to eat out with friends and family too. The problem is all the “chef’s special sauces” and “house dressing” you will run into. You will never have any idea when these contain vegetable oil and even if you ask, the waitstaff often doesn’t know the difference.

He's adding some extra canola oil.
He’s adding some extra canola oil.

Restaurants routinely advertise their use of vegetable oil, saying funny things on the menu like “We cook all of our dishes in 100% vegetable oil”. As if I’m supposed to be impressed. Actually, it’s a big letdown. I’d be far more impressed if they were using 100% coconut oil. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to be the guy who specifically requests his food be cooked in butter or olive oil and then wondering if it’s really urine.

Recently, I ordered some food from a prestigious Indian restaurant in my neighborhood. I’ve always been a fan of this place and their food is excellent. Before I picked it up, I decided to call them and ask a simple question. “What oil do you cook with?” I asked. “Canola oil” I was told. I asked them to switch to butter. Do I really know that butter is all that went into the dish? No, I’ll never know without standing in their kitchen and watching.

Another time, I was spectating in the kitchen of a commercial diner (don’t ask), and I was watching the cook squirt cooking oil onto their stovetops before they cooked each entree. I knew it must be vegetable oil because vegetable oil is cheap. I found the bottle somewhere in the kitchen and read the ingredients. Sure enough: 90% vegetable oil (soybean and canola), 10% olive oil. This is what you are eating every time you eat at a restaurant.

This is a very regular thing with restaurants. It is the rule and not the exception. You must be very careful when first attacking your acne. You are much better off cooking and eating at home, where you are in full control of the ingredients used. Even if a restaurant entertains your requests for animal fat or olive/coconut oil, they may simply throw it in somewhere else in the dish because they are so accustomed to using it. “Sure, we’ll cook your meat in butter instead of canola oil”. Then they will use a sunflower or safflower oil based salad dressing. They’ll use margarine in place of butter because they don’t really understand the difference. It is everywhere. It is inescapable unless you closely inspect and monitor every single fat used in a restaurant. I would advise avoiding them altogether in the beginning unless you want to order dry salads and boiled eggs as your dish. Otherwise, it’s too hit-or-miss. You may order meat at a restaurant that comes out breaded and deep fried. A plain steak will probably have been cooked in canola oil. Deep fried foods are fried in vegetable oil.

Eating at other people’s houses can present the same problem, though in this case you have more of an ability to influence the cooking environment. You can request beforehand that you have your food cooked in animal fat or olive or coconut oil. Bring your own supplies if you have to. Tell them you have an allergy. It doesn’t really matter as long as you maintain your discipline.

Can you get away with trace amounts of vegetable oil showing up in your diet? Probably. I can handle tiny amounts that I inadvertently ingest when I occasionally eat at restaurants. I avoid eating out too often for this reason. It’s too much of a factor in acne.

It gets very frustrating when you become concerned that this is the only remaining source of your acne.

So what oils can I eat?

Other than pure animal fat, only oils that have been cold-pressed, expeller-pressed unrefined, or churned. Personally, I eat extra-virgin olive oil, expeller-pressed unrefined coconut oil, organic butter or ghee, and bacon fat.

Why do you really need anything else?

You may use whatever makes sense and is convenient for you as long as you avoid the garbage, modern day, chemically extracted vegetable oils. That will be most of them.

Typicaly avoid:

  • Canola (rapeseed)
  • soybean
  • cottonseed
  • corn
  • sunflower
  • safflower
  • peanut

Generally safe:

  • lard (non-hydrogenated)
  • bacon fat
  • butter
  • ghee
  • olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • maybe palm
  • maybe sesame oil

I say maybe palm and sesame because I haven’t used them much and so have limited experience with them.

Buying your own groceries and preparing food at home is the only way to know exactly what goes into your food. It’s the primary way I fight acne. Eat out as infrequently as possible.

Read ingredients.

You will want to avoid anything that says refined, hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated. I have found plenty of lard on the shelf that contains hydrogenated (industrially processed) fats in it.

Once I started reading every label I became aware of how pervasive this problem is. You have to become a super vigilant food expert to fight a winning war against acne. This is part of the reason 85% of people are affected. Our food supply is completely tainted and you have to carefully pick out the satisfactory stuff.

Don’t waste all that great meat and vegetable you intend to eat by allowing it to be cooked or soaked in garbage vegetable oil. You’ll defeat the whole purpose.

Good luck to you in this ridiculous battle against crappy food.


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