Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Negative Effects of Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed oil is one of the cheapest edible oils in the United States right now making it a favored ingredient in processed food products like breads, cereals, crackers, cookies, commercial salad dressings, and margarine. Extracted from the seeds of the cotton plant, cottonseed oil did not find any utility as an edible oil until the mid-1800s when the United States started exporting it to Europe, which at that time had difficulty sourcing edible oils due to ongoing wars. Since then, cottonseed oil, because of its very cheap price, was used illegally in the US as a filler in commercially sold animal fats and lard. It was even blended in olive oil, prompting Italy to ban American olive oil imports in 1883.

In the early 1900s, a special hydrogenation process was developed which enabled the production of cottonseed oil that stays solid in storage temperatures. This new product, which closely resembles lard, was then aggressively marketed as a healthy oil for cooking. To this day, the same claim is maintained about this edible oil. However, cottonseed oil consumption brings about unwanted health effects which is why it would be prudent to rule it out of your diet altogether.

Read further and discover more about the negative effects of cottonseed oil and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends you avoid this source of dietary fats.

Cottonseed Oil’s Risks:

Cottonseed oil is a high-calorie edible oil containing 120 calories, with its energy density coming from its 100% fat content. Cottonseed oil is considerably high in polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs as well, with about seven grams per tablespoon. It contains very little monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs, too, with about two grams per same amount of serving. A balanced PUFAs and MUFAs intake is crucial as too much consumption of the former, though will result in lowered levels of undesirable low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, will consequently decrease the favorable high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels in the blood as well. Steering clear of cottonseed oil, and opting instead for edible oils like coconut oil or macadamia nut oil which have better PUFAs and MUFAs profile is then advised to minimize the risk of developing lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Cottonseed oil, though not considered a common allergen in the United States, will bring about allergic reactions ranging from skin irritations, to difficulty in breathing, to hypotension, and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock to people who are allergic to cotton. Cross-allergenicity to the Malvaceae family of plants is a possibility, too, and individuals with known sensitivity to hibiscus, for instance, may do well to avoid cottonseed oil consumption.

Cotton, the plant where this edible oil is extracted from, is one of the crops most heavily sprayed with petrochemicals as well. Cotton production in the United States, for instance, makes use of the notorious dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT. Rats exposed to this particular organochlorine insecticide had endocrine function abnormalities, particularly in male rats, which consequently resulted in reproductive problems. Exposure to pesticides, in general, has also been linked to a host of maladies in humans like ADHD in children, cancer, and obesity and diabetes, to name a few.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of commercial flax oil and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends you avoid this source of dietary fats.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the dietary sources of fats on the Superhuman Food Pyramid:




If you have questions, comments or feedback about the negative effects of cottonseed oil, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the negative effects of cottonseed oil.

One thought on “Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Negative Effects of Cottonseed Oil