The Harms of Vegetable Oils with Dr. Catherine Shanahan

Welcome back to another episode on the Empowered Nutrition Podcast! We are pleased to welcome such a renowned guest on our show, Dr. Cate Shanahan.

About Dr. Cate: Dr. Cate Shanahan, MD, is a renowned physician, best-selling author, and a leading authority in the field of nutrition and wellness. With a trailblazing approach, she challenges conventional nutrition science, advocating for the benefits of traditional fats, meats, and produce while cautioning against the adverse effects of seed oils.

Dr. Cate’s work has transformed wellness wisdom, helping people overcome biology-driven cravings and embrace ancestral diets for optimal health. Through influential books and extensive expertise, she dispels myths, reveals conflicts of interest in nutrition science, and empowers individuals to make informed choices for their well-being.

Dr. Cate Shanahan is a driving force behind the health and nutrition movements, sparking new product trends and teaching millions the merits of traditional diets.


  • In this episode, we dive deep into the world of nutrition and the often-overlooked impact of vegetable seed oils with Dr. Kate Shanahan.
  • Dr. Cate Shanahan is a family physician, biochemist, and author of “Deep Nutrition” and “The Fatburn Fix,” with her upcoming book, “Dark Calories.” She specializes in nutrition and its profound effects on health.

Key Takeaways:

1. Vegetable Seed Oils vs. Ancestral Diet

  • Dr. Cate Shanahan shares her journey and experiences living in Hawaii, where she discovered the impact of vegetable seed oils on health.
  • She emphasizes how these oils were celebrated and woven into the local culture, making it essential to understand their effect on our health.

2. The Role of Oxidative Stress

  • Dr. Cate explains that oxidative stress, rather than the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, is the primary mechanism behind the harm of vegetable seed oils.
  • She debunks the common misconception that all omega-6 fats are harmful, highlighting the importance of understanding the chemistry behind it.

3. Processed and Refined Oils

  • The refined nature of vegetable seed oils strips away antioxidants and nutrients, leaving only the unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • These oils not only require more antioxidants for digestion but also lack the protective nutrients, leading to oxidative stress within our cells.

4. Practical Changes

  • Dr. Cate emphasizes that adopting a more ancestral diet doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Simple changes in daily meals can lead to significant health improvements.
  • While more complex diets have their place, even small adjustments can have a positive impact on health.

5. Upcoming Book: “Dark Calories”

  • Dr. Cate Shanahan’s new book, “Dark Calories,” is available for pre-order and offers a broader perspective on the impact of vegetable seed oils and cholesterol.


  • Dr. Cate Shanahan’s insights shed light on the importance of understanding the chemistry behind nutrition, specifically in relation to vegetable seed oils. These often hidden and processed ingredients have a significant impact on our health, and simple dietary changes can lead to remarkable improvements.


  • Thank you for tuning in to this episode. If you found this information valuable, please subscribe, rate, and review the podcast. You can find more resources and Dr. Cate Shanahan’s books on her website.

Interested in learning more about Dr. Cate?

Visit her website at www.drcate.com

TWITTER/X: https://twitter.com/drcateshanahan

INSTAGRAM: @DrCateShanahanhttps://www.instagram.com/drcateshanahan/

FACEBOOK: @DrCateShanahanhttps://www.facebook.com/DoctorCate/

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Hello and welcome to the Empower Nutrition Podcast. And I’m actually, I’m just so thrilled today to have someone who I’ve admired for many years on the podcast. Welcome, Dr. Cate. 

Thank you for inviting me onto your show. Erin, this is exciting to be here with you.  

Oh my gosh, it’s so exciting. I mean, I, I already could ask you a thousand things, but just before I start asking you all the questions I’ve dreamed, maybe you could just gimme a little background of how you as a physician got so into the nutrition space, which is uncommon. And then specifically maybe a little bit your focus around ancestral nutrition. Yeah,  

So I started actually because of biochemistry, right? Our food is made out of molecules and biochemistry is the science that studies that. Before I went to medical school, I really wanted to be a biochemist. I really wanted to design bacteria that could digest plastic, right? Cool. So I wanted to like be on the good side of GMOs, right? That’s what it was going to be. And that was at Cornell University. I learned a lot about biochemistry. I learned a lot about genetics. And I learned that is very complicated. So that we were not going to be likely able to do that. In my span of interest, in my attention span. Yeah. Was like with the know, within a decade, it wasn’t long. That was too long. So I quit and I went to medical school and I was hoping in medical school that I would learn the underlying cause of my own, selfishly my own health problems, which were recurring sports issues, tendonitis, hip pain, bursitis, stuff like this.  

Why me? You know? And I thought that I would learn that, but I didn’t. So by the time I graduated as a family medicine physician, I was a little bit sad with the state of medicine already because I was just passing out pill. Like half of my day was kind of the more fun medicine stuff. Like, oh, I have this issue, what is it? Diagnostic thinking processes, helping solve problems. But a good part of the other half was just repetitively, people coming in for blood pressure, cholesterol, abnormal chronic things, and just needing refills really. And also a lot of it, the worst was the blood pressure, I felt like in the cholesterol, because people would almost come in apologizing. Like I felt more like a priest than a doctor. Like, oh, I’m sorry, I’ve sinned. I’ve not been to, yeah, I have blood pressure still high or something like that, you know? And, and I, that wasn’t the fun. That was not fun. I just, yeah. I didn’t even be like in a position of like, you know, yeah. Not really doing anything meaningful. Obviously they didn’t feel that they were helping, they weren’t taking ’em. So I, I was sad. And eventually I got even sadder because I developed an injury and I couldn’t run at all. Like I have the worst of the worst. All of all the injuries. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t bike. All I could do was swim. Thank goodness there was plenty of places to  


But, but, and I wasn’t getting better. I had surgery. It was a medical mystery. And Erin, I hope you never know or are a person with a medical mystery. It totally sucks. Yeah. But, but what it did was, it’s horrible. It forced, yeah. I mean, nobody could tell me what was wrong, but something was seriously wrong. ’cause I couldn’t really walk without getting fevers. It was bizarre.  

Hmm. That’s weird. Yeah. 

Yeah. So my husband said, well, maybe your diet isn’t so great. Like, after all, you eat like an army of pants, speaking of the amount of sugar I used to eat. And he introduced me to a book that had, was called Spontaneous Healing. It was kind of an alternative medicine guru who wrote that back in the 1990s. Andrew Weil, maybe some of your audience has heard of him.  

Yes, I think he have. 

Yeah. He basically started like the nutritional supplement industry, single-handedly, basically. Yeah. So his book though, opened my eyes to this concept of essential fatty acids, which were interesting to me, partly because it was a biochemistry term and partly because I thought they might be important to help me get better. But shortly after studying these things, I realized that these are the fatty acids and vegetable oils. I was already eating a lot of them. And then I started looking at their biochemistry and I found that their biochemistry is absolutely horrible in terms of human health. And in terms of the amount that we were consuming. And in terms of using to cook with, we were using vegetable oils, you know, to cook with. We still are. And they’re in ingredients. They’re ingredients in cooked food, they’re in restaurants, they’re everywhere. Vegetable oils. And when I say vegetable oils, I’m talking about soy and corn and cotton seed and canola, not olive oil.  

That’s a, that is a vegetable oil, but it’s not the bad kind. So when I say vegetable oil, I’m referring to a collection of eight. I call ’em hateful eight. And these are all terrifically bad for us. And, and this the, they’re bad for us because of their chemistry. And there’s just absolutely no way I would’ve understood this concept about how these things are bad for us because of their chemistry. Had I not been basically a biochemist for years before going to medical school, because it’s really an abstract concept. And you kind of have to be able to recognize molecules on site. You know, if somebody draws ’em on a chalkboard, you have to be able to draw out reactions. I couldn’t have done it without background. But with that background, they very quickly realized these things were probably making me sick. And they, these special oils were probably making a lot of my patients sick.  

And they were probably causing a lot of the problems that I was not really able to solve with drugs like hypertension and chronic cardiovascular disease and, you know, all kinds of things because they promote inflammation. And inflammation is quite a bud buzzword today wasn’t back then, this was in the early two thousands. But I did know that, you know, I was treating people for inflammatory diseases ’cause I was using anti-inflammatories. I was treating arthritis with anti-inflammatories. I was treating serious autoimmune disorders with prednisone and steroids, which are anti-inflammatories. So understanding the link between these chemicals, inflammation really opened my eyes to the possibility that just getting these things out of our diet might really be revolutionary for a lot of people’s health. So, so that was kind of like the first phase of many of my like revolution in thinking and understanding of attrition.  



That’s so interesting. ’cause I also spend a lot of time trying to reduce high omega six vegetable oils through with my clients and through my programs. And I find that people, when you first say it, they say, oh, I don’t really eat a lot of that because it’s not really on like, the label. It’s not like, Hey, here’s your coffee creamer with lots of canola oil in it. But when they start looking at labels, they’re everywhere. And so I, I totally agree with you that people are getting a lot of this. And when then we take ’em outta their diet, they tend to have pretty dramatic health changes around anything inflammation related, whether it’s like known to be the inflammation initiates it, or even where I find it’s more of the thinking is that like it, the condition maybe causes inflammation. I, I, I feel like it even can benefit in those cases. But what I have had happen though is, is pushback in terms of, like, the science is very clear, saturated fat causes heart disease, vegetable oils make you healthy. So I’m curious if you kind of have, you could probably talk about that for hours, but do you kind of have a, a response to that question around like the body of nutritional research and how it reconciles with like that thinking about vegetable oils?  

Yes. Because, you know, this was my next question. So once I came to realize that, oh, these things can cause oxidative stress and that causes inflammation, that causes everything, then I started to look at, well, what, why does everyone think saturated fat is bad? What is the support for that? Like, what does that theory stand on solid ground? And so my next phase of research was to dive into that question. And I found two fascinating things. One was that it was a complete house of car, the supposed research, the supposed support for the cholesterol theory of heart disease, right? So saturated fat is bad because it raises your cholesterol. Cholesterol is bad because it claws your arteries. And all of this comes from 1940s, 1950s.  

Like I person, a man, a single man with an idea, and I write about this in my first book, deep Nutrition, his name is Ansel Keys. And he had very loose scruples and very like, not good ethics in terms of, he really just wanted attention. He wanted, yeah, that’s a good way of summarizing him. He, yeah, like he wanted to be, right? He wanted to get credit for coming up with the idea, with being the person that solved the mystery of heart attacks, which, you know, and like, they were a, they were a terrifying mystery in the forties and fifties because people had just started recently developing these and dropping dead from them. And so it was a new thing. And that may seem strange, like how could it be that people didn’t have heart attacks before, like the 1940s and fifties or like, they were rare.  

How could that be? Well, yeah, how could that be? So what turns out we now know that it’s not cholesterol clogging or arteries, it’s nothing like that. It’s not fat building up in our arteries, like grease in a pipe, which is what Ansel Keys claimed. And all of his research claimed that although it was terrifically bad research, like he doesn’t do anything systematically research wise, look at his papers. They’re just more editorials than anything else. And his data supposedly supporting his position is just random musings on things. Laughable. But if it would be laughable, if it weren’t, the outcome is been, yeah, we all are seeing toxic seed oils now. Yeah. So, so anyway, that was like the first thing was like, okay, so it said nothing, no support. And then the next question was, well, all right, so why, why not? Why were, why in the forties did people start having heart attacks?  

Was it that they were eating more fat? Was it that they were eating more animal fat? Was it something else? And so when I did that, I ran into this whole body of fascinating research, which I think you’ve been in, you mentioned that you’re like the ancestral health movement, right? Yeah. With Weston Price, he was kind of like the star. I see him like the star of that. Totally. And so he went around to 11 countries and wrote this big book about his findings and people waiting animal fat exclusively, they were not almost exclusively, I mean, they were not eating the vegetables. Yeah. And in fact, when they did eat the stuff that was in the convenience stores, the flour, the sugar, and the hydrogenated oils, and sometimes, sometimes the vegetable oils and the canned meat and the preserves and all the sugary stuff, he found that consistently their health would deteriorate and they would not be these stellar examples of glowing human health that the people who avoided all that stuff and just stuck with their ancestral health, ancestral health wisdom and eating practices. I mean, I’m super duper healthy, not, you know, it wasn’t just that they weren’t fat and they didn’t have diabetes and they didn’t have heart attacks. They were vibrant in their eighties. And their children, their children were like well behaved and intelligent. And it was amazing. It was like being different. It, he paints it like being immersed in an alien planet, al almost where, yeah, where, where humanity is just like cooperative. And can you imagine that these days we’re so infighting and it’s terrible and  

We really attribute a lot of the society problems at that time that we were having to poor nutrition and just poor mental health that came from poor nutrition. And I thought that was a, you know, bit of a leap. But I thought it was interesting. And so I just kept diving deeper into the research and found out that it was right. And we should be paying attention. We should be eating the foods that our ancestors ate. We should be studying ancestral nutrition. We should not be studying, you know, the standard dietician diet, the standard diet the doctors recommend we’ve  


Right? Yeah. Burn, burn. I, I, I send people to diet standard diet, right? Yeah.  

So, so wow. It’s all topsy-turvy. And, but it doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t have to be, we can just forget about the last 50 years of garbage, nutrition, science and go back to the basics in our ancestral wisdom, ancestral health, old fashioned cookbooks and Julia Child’s way of thinking and you know, people that love to cook. Because when you love to cook, you think like a nutritionist and, and like, that’s one of the things that I liked being able to say in Deep Nutrition was really the original nutritionist, our people who like to cook. Yeah. Because they created our human diet. They created the foods that, like they did the things that are things that made us who we are.  

Yeah, it sounds so simple, but when you’re talking, I keep thinking about the way that that gets misconstrued in the sense of, I think you could find people that would argue that the natural human diet, even to ancestral times is mostly if not all vegetarian or vegan. And then on the other side of the coin, you now have, I think a more prevalent movement around, oh, it’s only animals and it’s just a carnivore diet. So I’m curious what you would say is like, what is the natural human diet? 

Well, there’s a lot of them, right? Obviously we’ve done pretty well with ourselves until something changed in the 1940s and fifties, we were seeing this change in the form of a lot of young men, their forties and fifties dropping dead from heart attacks. That was kind of the beginning of the wake up call and it just got worse. So what was causing those heart attacks? Then? We also look at that like, it’s very simple. And what was happening then was were we eating more saturated fat? Were we eating more animal products? Were we eating more vegetables  

Even Right.  

Taking points from all the sides that you mentioned, the carnivals say vegetables are killing us. They, 

Yeah. And the vegans say, the animals are killing us.  

The animals are killing us. And then a whole bunch of people are saying, well, we just need to eat mostly plants. Right? That’s the Mediterranean concept. And, and so, but what happened in the 1950s was we started two things that brought on heart attacks. One was that all the GIS came back from World War II, fully hooked on nicotine cigarettes.  


Okay. That was part of every ration, every meal they got at least four cigarettes. So they came back smoking like chimneys, like you think people chain smoke today, people would chain smoke. President Eisenhower was a four pack a day smoker on a good day. Wow. 

I didn’t even know there was time for that. Like from waking to sleeping,  

It’s just constantly, every time you inhale has to be right, you gotta be dedicated. So what, so that was a big factor. And then the other factor was, well had just, they had just been through this starvation period in, in the Depression where very people ate meat that was mostly, you know, a lot of very borderline nutrition, very poor access to vitamins and, and that they were not eating though more meat, but they also were starting to eat more vegetable oils in the fifties. So all these things happened at once. So I mean, if you just look at the facts, the simple facts, I don’t see how anybody could argue that no, it was meat that killed people started killing people because we have the same problems, right? We have the same problems now that we did in the forties and fifties. It’s just, they’re worse, they’re magnified, right? Yeah. Was cancer was becoming more problems. Diabetes type two diabetes was becoming prevalent. People were starting to gain weight in droves. That was not an issue, you know, in the twenties, I can’t really count the thirties because it was such a time of deprivation and starvation and so much social unrest and, and strife. And it was horrible. But, so going back to the twenties that people were in shape and, and you know, they didn’t even know anything about macros, right? Yeah. They just, families had eaten, of 

Course. So,  

You know, so that’s what I say is like, yeah, look guys, that, you know, people probably were really healthy back 20, 30,000 years ago when the earth was radically different. And we hunted everything, you know, who knows what we really ate. We do find spears, we do find going back 20,000 years, we see a lot of evidence actually in China of people eating all sorts of plant seed that, that, that became wheat. Like the wild forms of wheat 20,000 years ago in civilizations that were considered to be hunter gatherers. So that kind of puts a big giant question mark on this claim that we  

Didn’t have grains.  

Yeah. Like, you know, maybe, who knows, right? Like, we don’t know. It’s a big black box. So, so that’s that down. And then this, the point that we ever only ate plant is absurd. I mean, there’s no culture that has gone three generations that I know of that has excluded meat for three generations and survived. Right. That you don’t have that we, we have vegetarianism in India, but that’s different than Yeah.  

Completely different. 

Yeah. And, and you know, they eat the dairy, they eat the cattle products, the cow products, they don’t eat the meat, but they eat eggs. And very often I’ve spoken to people from India who said they’re vegetarian, but they eat chicken because by vegetarian they mean they won’t eat beef. Really? Yeah,  

Yeah. Sometimes. Yeah. 

Right. Like all this fluxx of what,  

In either case they’ve got B 12, they’ve got choline. Yeah, yeah. They’ve got iron.  

You can get absolutely iron, you can absolutely everything. So there’s four strategies that I write about deep nutrition. I don’t know if you read the, the, the four pillars of World ’cause in part of deep nutrition, but I can talk about those.  

Go ahead. Yeah. Because I don’t think the listeners all have, right? So please,  

Yeah. So there’s four strategies. Every single successful traditional human culture follows. And this is to eat fresh food, whether animal or vegetable doesn’t matter. It’s, we don’t pick it and to eat. So people used to eat, you know, so there was all these dairy, if you eat dairy, of course it wasn’t pasteurized. How are you gonna do that on  

The steps? Dairy is the dairy. Yeah.  

Right? So the unprocessed, uncooked stuff, animals, you know, all kinds of stuff. So that’s raw. And then the second pillar is, is the strategy of nourishing our bodies, fermenting some of that raw stuff or sprouting some of the seeds to optimize the nutrition and make it easier for our bodies to digest it and create good, this whole swarm of good bacteria that will then fortify the microbiome when we eat it. Like kimchi and sauerkraut and kit chip used to be fermented, like so many of our continents were fermented and had live culture bacteria, not just yogurt, which is like the only thing that people get now that has any live culture in it these days.  

Yeah, yeah.  

And sprouted being the sprouted grain. So no doubt back if, you know, people were eating grains 20,000 years ago, they did not have like technology of turning it into flour if they weren’t gonna do that, if they didn’t have to. So you can sprout things that softens seed and then you can kind of just mash it and mush it up a lot easier. And so sprouting creates more attrition. So that’s an important strategy that second one. And you can do that when you’re a vegetarian. You can even do that. You can, you cannot do that one when you’re a carnivore, unless you’re eating the internal contents of intestines, which people in Alaska they did do that. So  

Yeah. So fascinating. 

Yeah. So that’s two of ’em. And then the third pillar, that was a strategy everybody did is I call it meat on the bone. Because they didn’t just eat the muscle, they used the bones, they saved the bones in fact. And very, very important was to boil the bones and the skin and the connective tissue to create a gelatinous broth that they would then use to make their soup. And if you do that, then you don’t get these collagen supporting molecules that don’t exist anywhere else in the food supply. Yeah. So, you know, if you don’t wanna take a collagen supplement if it’s not helping you even better is to do bone broth. Yeah. That’s meat on the bone. So, and of course it includes the meat. Yeah. And the fat. And then the last is the most dramatic one that like, people usually like drop their coffee at this point.  

Organ meats like liver and tripe and some of those, you know, raw that people in the Alaska used to eat. Yeah. That thing we don’t even have, you know, you can’t even get them in most restaurants you don’t, most people how to cook them. People think they’re unsafe to eat like liver, they think it’s unsafe to eat even eyeballs. I mean, it’s just, people ate every last part and they loved it. They, when I lived in Hawaii, I got my eyes opened about what like ancestral eating really does because the, where I lived was a huge Filipino community. And the Filipino community was almost completely fully food, self-sufficient. So they, they, they fished, they hunted, they grew their own food and they did all of these practices. But they would, they would use blood, they would eat raw pig liver, they would use like goat legs and goat head and every part of the animal. It was, it was something that they, when we hear people talking about people eating like the, the awful meats is what we call ’em now. We usually hear it in the context of well they were poor, they didn’t have a choice.  


What I learned from living among people who were doing this was that it was celebrated. It was their culture. They were proud of it, they loved it. You couldn’t  

Do it. Yeah. They would give it to women when they’re like pregnant postpartum, like as a special thing. Yeah. It’s not like, oh we have to eat these drags. It was like a prize piece. Yeah.  

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Like, and they would, I mean they, the parties, they would be like, here, let’s try our, our stuff. Yeah, yeah. You know, we’re proud of it. Yeah. So, so living in Hawaii was really gave me a leg up I think. And too, it was almost like a window into the past of what people used to do traditionally. ’cause it, yeah. Really made it real for me. I mean, it’s one thing to read old cookbooks or watch Anthony Bourdain travel around the world and, and eat, you know, random people’s, you know, he, wherever Anthony,  

He’s such a hero. Yeah. 

Wherever he went, like he go. Yeah. I would watch his show called Our Reservations and every single episode there was somebody who had spent all day cooking some little mamasita or something. Hmm. And everything on that table was one of the four pillars. Yeah. It was the broth, it was organ meats, it was the fermented stuff. It was sprouted, it was fresh, it was amazing. And, but like it was here, it was happening in my neighborhood too. So that made it real and it really helped me believe it. And I helped, I was able to try it and made a lot of friends. ’cause people were so impressed that I was trying  


To make it myself. So yeah. So it was quite the experience. And in doing that, ultimately a couple years, you know, after I fell ill, I got completely better and I was able to all the exercise and activity and I was like, better than ever. Yeah. So it was really powerful for me. And of course I shared it with my patients also.  

Yeah. I had a similar experience. I mean, it wasn’t extreme as yours, but Yeah. Dramatic health turnaround when I switched to ancestral diet. And that was really the reason why I became, I wasn’t even working in healthcare when that happened. I was, I have to, I have to change careers. I mean it’s so powerful and oh, it’s, it’s kind of amazing to me that it just seems so obvious and yet there’s constantly pushback on these ideas and, but what I like about what you’ve done is you’ve, you haven’t just said, Hey look, there’s traditional groups that don’t eat vegetable oil. You’ve done deep research on the specific mechanisms and in light of your biochemistry background and your abilities. And so I’d love to hear more about maybe your just top level thoughts on like, when it comes to what not maybe the only problem with modern diets, but one of the least understood or at least known problems with modern diets, that is the omega six vegetables. What would you say are the primary mechanisms for that? I know you’ve alluded to oxidative stress, but maybe you can get into a little bit more detail around that in terms of like the specific way that these, these vegetable oils that are hiding in almost everything that people eat and drink. Like how are they specifically promoting health problems and what are some of the biggest problems that they cause?  

Yes. Let’s talk about the vegetable oils and let’s talk about this omega six concept too. First, because that was a theory that was developed in the 1990s that too much Omega six, because omega six is a pro-inflammatory essential fatty acid would balance us and cause inflammation. And that was an idea that was proposed by a journalist in the form of a book. And it became wildly popular and everybody started eating omega three supplements to balance things out. But the, the book got way ahead of the science. And then later on the, the scientist, half of that book team Artemis Opolis did some studies and she said, now that, you know, it’s not really, no, it doesn’t really work out way, it’s  

Not playing out.  

Yeah. It’s, it’s not the problem. There’s some other problem. Like she knew that she knew that we’re eating more of these vegetable oils and she know she was from Greece, Artemis Opolis pretty Greek. Yeah. So she knew they were chemically different than olive oil. And she thought maybe that it had something to do with the omega sixes. But when it was finally tested, she was like, eh, no, that’s not it. We need more research. So researchers love that line. Yeah. We need more maybe always. So, but what I concluded was, hey guys, it’s not the omega six to three ratio. It’s this concept of oxidative stress because that is unique to these vegetable oils. And just to point out why it can’t possibly be the omega three six ratio, there’s one simple example is canola oil has a lot of omega three and that’s every bit as toxic and contains all the toxins.  

When you cook with it, it will generate all the toxins. That’s soil oil and corn oil does. So it’s not about the ratio and the omega six linoleic acid. I, I keep hearing people talking about this and it’s like, I, I think they really need to understand that where that idea came from to understand that it was an idea and it kind of had its day and it’s been disproven, but there’s still this question. So why is it that these oils seem to be bad if you just look at the demographics of it, we’re eating more. Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. What are they, how are they bad? And the answer is oxidative of stress. And that is my answer. And I think it’s very important for people to know the root of these ideas like this comes from Dr. Cate Shanahan because, not just because I get to say what a, what a, you know, good girl am I, you know, but, but, which is nice, but I don’t wanna have to do that. I, I I think it’s important to know where a scientific idea comes from so that you can make sure you’re getting it right. And if it ever turns out to be wrong, then you can put it to rest.  

Right? Yeah.  

And also you can, we’re not getting it right right now. Right now people are getting it all mixed up with the fact that omega sticks is inflammatory. And people are hearing me talk about how these oils promote inflammation and the, they just don’t understand the oxidative stress part because it’s confusing. You have to kind of be a chemist to understand it. And, and so they’re just like, well, other people are saying omega six and I’m gonna hang onto that one. But that is not the issue. And it makes it too easy for the powers that be, that want us to keep eating these things to shut it all down.  

Yeah. To argue it. Totally. So you’re saying there’s something else in these vegetables seed oils that’s pro oxidative, that’s not the omega six fat?  

Well, it is the omega six fat, but the omega six is less pro oxidative than the omega threes.  

So we, we can’t say it’s omega six when omega three is actually worse. And, and it’s not like inflammation comes from a variety of things, but the inflammatory, the body’s inflammatory response is different than the kind of inflammation that that is caused by oxidative stress. And, and the problems that oxidative stress cause are, are much worse than the body’s inflammatory response. So the body’s inflammatory response is responsible for good things like cotting our blood, like so we don’t bleed to death during every month when we have a period or during childbirth or even one to the paper cut. We need that inflammatory response and we, we need the inflammatory response to heal after an injury. But oxidative stress is something else. Entirely oxidative stress just destroys the ability of a cell to do its job. So hormones stop working, so cells stop working, cell division doesn’t go right. DNA gets mutated. Mitochondria cannot work. It’s oxidative stress.  


It doesn’t come from omega six, it comes from oxygen reacting with polyunsaturated fatty acids. And yes, mega sixes are a kind one of many kinds of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the body, but oxygen reacts with all the others too. And it’s not that we have too much omega six, it’s that we have too much polyunsaturated fatty acid. Yeah. And that creates an unstable state in our metabolism, which is incompatible with normal health and incompatible with normal reproduction. And so we’re seeing the ability of the human race to pop to reproduce  

Pres diminish  

Decline. Yeah.  

Yeah. Correct me if I’m not getting this right. But it sounds like what you’re saying is it’s not that these, it’s simplistic enough to say, oh, there’s like an antioxidant and this’s fat that then creates inflammation in your body. It’s more that these lipids, any lipid that you eat gets incorporated into the, into your cells, into the membranes of your cells. And but then if you are having the majority of your fats come from these polyunsaturated fat sources, you literally become more that in a way that makes you more susceptible to exposure to oxidation when oxygen hits those fats. And so then you literally become the inflammation more than getting exposed to it. Is that kind of what you’re saying?  

Absolutely. That’s right. Your own cells become a source of inflammation during stress, during illness, during, you know, minor episodes of malnutrition. We, we literally need more antioxidants in our body than our body can possibly contain in order to be able to control oxidation. When our diet contains so much polyunsaturated fatty acid, we cannot possibly keep those reactions from happening when we get more than maybe 10% of our calories from polyunsaturated fatty acids. And, and right now, you know, some people say we need to dial that way down to like 2%, maybe 5% at the absolute most historically it’s hard to know, but you know, historically it looks like 5% is what it was. We now have at least twice as much as that and we, we just cannot control oxidation reactions when we have them happening so much more often because they are chain reactions like nuclear reactions, they spread like wildfire. It’s not like just one reaction as gonna be, you know, we have twice as much as gonna become two, we’ll have a thousand times as much oxidative stress because of the speed at which they spread. So, and that’s where the chemistry comes in. You need to understand the, the, the chemistry in order to be, be able to realize that this is a complete disaster for ourselves to have oxidative stress in our cell membranes constantly happening.  

Totally. Yeah. And I think that, I like how you point out that there is some basis for having some in our diet because sometimes the counterpoint all here is like, well what about walnuts? There’s PUFAs in walnuts, but it’s like, if you look at the typical western diet, it’s not that they’re eating a ridiculous number of Walmart walnuts, it’s that like, it’s in breakfast cereals, it’s in bread, it’s in tortillas, it’s in coffee creamers, it’s in salad dressings, it’s in the, the dried fruit that you put on your salad. It’s in the deli meat that you put on your salad. It’s like you could have, you could feel like you’re eating an almost fat-free diet and it’s in it, nothing looks like fat. It just looks like a snackwell’s cookie. It guess what? It’s full of vegetable seed oils. So it’s like an insidious thing that I think one people don’t realize is a problem. And two, they, I just have no idea how much they’re eating is, but what do you think? Right.  

Absolutely. And so the fact that these oils are processed and refined is something else that we haven’t talked about, but that matters. So like you could take away all the walnuts in the world and you know, a disease wouldn’t get better, no diseases wouldn’t get better. It’s certainly not from the walnuts or from the sunflower seeds or, you know, anything. Yeah. That is a whole food  

Unless it’s roasted in soybean oil, but yeah.  

Right. So the, it’s the, the the vegetable oils that are processed and refined because during these processing and refining stages and the factory, they remove the antioxidants in most of the nutrition, if not all of the nutrition. In some, in some cases it’s different steps for different oils. But so the, the not only are these PUFAs devoid, I mean are they, not only are these PUFAs requiring more oxygen oxidation protection, more vitamins when we eat them, we don’t get any of those protective nutrients.  

They crowd out the very things that they require. They create need for. Yeah,  

Exactly. Just how they deteriorate into toxins when we cook with them. And that’s why it’s not just that we’re eating poah, it’s that we’re actually eating toxic stuff if we cook with poah. Right. I mean it’s that you’re laughing but it’s insane.  

It’s insane.  

We’re, we’re the, the American Heart Association is out there telling people to eat canola oil and eat soy oil when chemists who study this stuff so that the factory can do their best to produce food that doesn’t make people drop dead are saying this is not healthy. It contains these toxins and you know, the, the powers that be that educate physicians that doctors still believe ’cause there’s no other authority to look up to right now, are forced to comply with what the American Heart Association has been telling them and educating them and educating all the dieticians they work with. Yeah. You know, so  


It’s vy  

It absolutely is. I mean this is just, I think it’s exciting to hear your perspective on this ’cause I think that it’s not heard enough and it seems like now there’s more than ever just a lot of extreme, it’s almost like, I feel like there was maybe what I’m trying to say is I felt like the ancestral movement happened maybe about 10 years ago where it was, there were flaws in like the, maybe probably the most common like frameworks that were, that people were hearing and implementing. But at least it was progress I think for people. But now it seems like the whole thing has just shifted dramatically away from it and the way that nutrition trends do. So I’m just thankful for the fact that you have remained steadfast in truth and continue to push it whether it’s trendy or not. Because I think that’s really what the world needs and I’m sure that people are really excited to hear more about the details of everything you have to share. And so maybe you can tell people a little bit about like where they can learn more about the things you’re talking about and where they can maybe get in touch with you if they’re interested in getting some help.  

Absolutely. Thank you Erin for all those nice things that you said.  

I  Mean it. Thank you. So please come to my website, which is drcate.com, D-R-C-A-T e.com and become a subscriber. When you do, you’ll get a lot of free resources, downloadable PDFs that will help you get started eating a more human diet, ancestral diet, get some basic ideas of what you can eat and some real simple things too. Like it doesn’t have to be like you’re cooking every single meal. You can just throw together some stuff. I mean a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is pretty not super far off. Right? If you just, you can even use SRA group bread, you can do use, you know, peanut butter that’s natural rather than got added sugar and stuff and you know, low sugar jelly, you know, it’s way healthier than going through a drive-through. Right.  

Yeah, yeah. It doesn’t have to be the ear like making bone broth from scratch every day when you ferment kimchi like around the clock.  

Yeah. Although I have a lot of people who’ve like started doing that. I was gonna say,  

Although that is my dream life.  

Yeah, right. Like if people, lot of people are retired, it’s cheaper all let try, give it a go  

When I retire. That’s 

My life.  

Awesome. So it sounds like people can get some free resources, they can check out your books, which again I highly recommend as some of my top favorite books of all time. And then it sounds like people also can request to work with you directly. Is that true?  

Yeah, so for a lot of folks who’ve read the books and they just need to understand more like how is this apply to them or how do they get started? Or if they have really any questions that are not answered, you know, by their doctor, I can help with that. I’m a family medicine doctor, I have 20 plus years of experience, there’s a lot of people with gut problems that the issue is really something so simple that you know, I can help them get that sorted out and you don’t even need any supplements. It’s really just a change in bowel habits, believe it or not. That helps. Like probably 80% of women with chronic bloating. It’s crazy how common this issue is. But yeah, so all kinds of, all kinds of stuff I can, I love just having people turn their health around and you know, I’d say probably 90 out of a hundred, 95 out of a hundred times it, it’s people are like, wow, I wish I did this 20 years ago. ’cause you really have, sometimes their issues are complicated and we have to, you know, go back and forth a lot of times. But in the end you learn a lot more about your body even if you don’t feel a hundred percent better.  

Yeah, absolutely. Well I mean the fact that you’re nutrition centric, I think it’s around the most common problem I see in the sense of like if you’re even in a functional medicine world, if you’re, if you’re trying to mask things with supplements or with fancy like IV saunas or whatever, I’m not saying saunas are a bad thing, but if someone’s not nourished, which most people aren’t, you don’t have the basic machinery there to even be. Well, so creating the environment for wellness and taking stuff to make you well is only gonna go so far if you literally are trying to build a brick house without bricks. Like people need nutrition, you know? Right. Exactly. Yeah. Well Dr. Cate, you’re amazing. I know that you probably have to jump off in a minute or two, but we’ll absolutely put your website in the show notes and I know that people can’t wait to get in touch with you and see your resources and check out your books. And I know that you also have another book coming out soon, is that correct?  

Yes, I do. It’s available on Amazon for pre-order already. It’s called Dark Calories.  

I’m over here at cart at cart at cart. Dark calories  

Take it in there. Yeah, dark calories. So, and it’s a different, well everything we discussed but it’s, it’s really gives a big picture of how medicine could be different and the world could be different if we just got rid of these vegetable oils and the idea that sells vegetable oils, which has to do with cholesterol  

Obsessed. I can’t wait to read it. Thank you Dr. Cate. I can’t wait for people to hear this information and it was really just such an honor to have you on the show.  

Well thank you so much. It’s been a lot of fun talking to you and you know, keep up the great work that you’re doing with your business. Same.  

Thank you so much. Talk to you soon. 

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