The Benefits And Bright Side Of Soybean Oil

Reviewed By Merlin Annie Raj, MSc (Nutrition & Dietetics), RD
Written by Swathi Handoo

Out of the limited protein sources available for vegans and vegetarians, soybeans are the most affordable and abundant option.

The rare combination of high fat and protein content in soybeans has made one of their derivatives, soybean oil, highly popular among health freaks.

Despite being a vegetable oil, how is it a healthier option when compared to other seed oils? What makes it so healthy? And is soybean oil fit for human consumption? You’ll find the answers to all these and more – only if you start scrolling down. So, go ahead!

In This Article

What Is Soybean Oil?

Soybean oil is an edible vegetable oil extracted from soybeans (Glycine max) by heat treating cracked beans with different solvents. The crude oil is blended and refined to make it edible.

Soybean oil is used in various industries that make products such as:

  • Eco-friendly pesticides
  • Fungicides
  • Resins
  • Paints
  • Plastics
  • Lubricants and bio-diesel
  • Soaps
  • Cosmetics
  • Food and beverages

Mainly, it is the food industry in which soybean oil has become popular. It is used:

    • As a cooking oil
    • In salad dressings
    • To make margarineIn baked goods to impart tenderness
    • As an emulsifying agent
    • In preparing smooth icings and fillings
    • To make crispier crusts, wafers, crackers, breads, etc.
  • In sauces like mayonnaise and barbeque sauces
  • In deep frying processes with high fats

But what I’m interested in sharing with you is how healthy using soybean oil for regular cooking is, and how it affects your body. So, let’s get started!

Back To TOC

How Is Using Soybean Oil Beneficial For You?

Since it is an excellent source of proteins, essential fats, and phytochemicals, soybean oil has an array of incredible health benefits.

1. Aids Hair Growth


Hair fall and balding are rising menaces, and they occur in women and men of all age groups. Multiple factors like stress, anxiety, genes, malnutrition, hormonal imbalance, and pollution can lead to accelerated hair fall, reduced hair strand strength, and stunted hair growth.

Using soybean oil or soy products can increase the amino acids and keratin-like molecules in the hair fibers, strengthening them from the roots.

This is why many shampoos that promise to add shine to your hair have soy oil or soy derivatives (1).

2. Protects And Nourishes Your Skin

Soybean oil is rich in linoleic acid, isoflavones, antioxidants, and vitamins that protect and nourish your skin.

Applying soybean oil or gels and lotions containing soybean oil derivatives can protect your skin from UVB rays and free radical-induced inflammation and reduce the transepidermal water loss (TEWL) on the skin, promoting skin barrier recovery (2), (3).

Black soybean oil is rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and isoflavones that prevent skin aging in post-menopausal women. The isoflavones are phytoestrogens and exhibit human estrogen-like activity.

Using such plant oils prevents the loss of collagen and elastin in your skin and keeps your skin soft, moist, and free of wrinkles, pigmentation, and fine lines (4).

3. Lowers Bad Cholesterol Levels And Protects Your Heart

Using refined oils for cooking can increase the levels of ‘bad’ unsaturated fats in your body, leading to the accumulation of ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) in the blood.

The LDL deposits clog your blood vessels, interfere with blood circulation, and indirectly increase the pressure on your heart, leading to hypertension.

Healthy alternatives like soybean oil are abundant in the ‘good’ unsaturated omega-3 and omega-3 fatty acids. It slows down LDL accumulation and reduces hypertension. In a study, it was found to lower the risk of atherosclerosis and ischemic attacks by a whopping 25% (5).

Time to choose wisely, isn’t it?

4. Helps You Gain Weight The Right Way

While 80% of the world’s population wants to lose weight, there are many undernourished people out there, who have been advised to gain weight.

Since soybean oil has higher levels of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids than saturated fats, along with vegetable starch and phytochemicals, substituting butter or refined cooking oil with it is a healthier option.

Note: Check out how soybean oil clearly wins over butter in the later sections!

You can dress your salads with soybean oil and use it in baking and regular cooking. Remember to balance it with a lot of fiber in your diet to put on pounds gradually and in a healthy way – without hurting your heart, liver, or metabolism.

5. Is Vital For Bone Health


Women are gifted with a mysterious weapon called estrogen that protects them from the biggest of disorders.

One of the crucial roles estrogen plays is in regulating bone metabolism, and its deficiency was found to cause bone loss and increased incidence of osteopenia.

Soybean oil is rich in phytosterols called isoflavones (plant-derived polyphenols and estrogen look-alikes) that scavenge free radicals and bind to estrogen receptors on your bones to trigger positive bone reforming and offer protection from bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteopenia (6).

6. Increases Memory Power And Fights Alzheimer’s Disease

Elevated levels of saturated fats cause the formation of amyloid plaques (like LDL deposits) on the brain cells, leading to their inflammation and memory loss.

Soybean oil has high levels of vitamin K and the ‘good’ unsaturated fatty acids, like linolenic and linoleic acids, which go on to make up omega-3 acids like DHA and EPA and omega-6 fatty acids.

These fatty acids have potent neuroprotective properties and need to be externally supplied through your diet. Adding soybeans to your food, using soybean oil for cooking, or taking soybean oil supplements can boost memory and learning. It can also treat severe cognitive, neurodegenerative, and cerebrovascular disorders like Alzheimer’s (7).

Despite coming from a plant source, soybean oil has become quite a hit – thanks to its benefits.

So, what components of these beans are responsible for bringing such positive effects in your body?

Isn’t that what you just thought about? Here’s what I have for you!

Back To TOC

What Is The Biochemical And Nutritional Value Of Soybean Oil?

The biochemical composition, along with its nutrition profile, gives soybean oil its characteristic health benefits and uses. Take a look.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 13g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 119Calories from Fat 119
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g21%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g0%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g
Protien 0g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
Calorie Information
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calories119(498 kJ)6%
From Carbohydrate0.0(0.0 kJ)
From Fat119(498 kJ)
From Protein0.0(0.0 kJ)
From Alcohol0.0(0.0 kJ)
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Carbohydrate0.0 g0%
Dietary Fiber0.0 g0%
Starch0.0 g
Sugars0.0 g
Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Fat13.5 g21%
Saturated Fat2.1 g10%
Monounsaturated Fat3.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat7.7 g
Total trans fatty acids0.1 g
Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids0.0 g
Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids0.1 g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids949 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids6790 mg
Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Protein0.0 g0%
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A0.0IU0%
Vitamin C0.0 mg0%
Vitamin D~~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)1.1 mg6%
Vitamin K24.8 mcg31%
Thiamin0.0 mg0%
Riboflavin0.0 mg0%
Niacin0.0 mg0%
Vitamin B60.0 mg0%
Folate0.0 mcg0%
Vitamin B120.0 mcg0%
Pantothenic Acid0.0 mg0%
Choline0.0 mg
Betaine0.0 mg
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calcium0 mg0%
Iron0 mg0%
Magnesium0 mg0%
Phosphorus0 mg0%
Potassium0 mg0%
Sodium0.0 mg0%
Zinc0.0 mg0%
Copper0 mg0%
Selenium0 mcg0%

Soybean oil is rich in calories derived from unsaturated fatty acids and plant starch. It is rich in vitamins E and K and is essential in the synthesis and functioning of steroidal hormones like estrogen.

Hence, it is a healthier alternative to other refined vegetable oils or animal fats. Don’t believe me?

Let me give you some comparative data between soybean oil and butter.

Composition of the 2 experimental diets
Soybean oilButter
Composition (g)1
Fat (soybean oil or butter)14.1317.09
Carbohydrate (starch)56.5254.37
Protein (casein)21.220.39
Energy (kJ/g)17.7217.05
Composition of soybean oil and butter1
Soybean oilButter
Energy (kJ)36963091
Water (g)015.5
Proteins (g)00.7
Lipids (g)99.983
Saturated (g)14.152.6
Monounsaturated (g)20.523.5
Polyunsaturated (g)60.52
Cholesterol (mg)0250

It is evident from the numbers that soybean oil is a better choice. I say this because there’s more than just fats to this oil. Read on!

Biochemically, soybean oil has many unique phytochemicals, including isoflavones, saponins, phytosterols, and phenolic acids.

The most important and abundant of them are the isoflavones daidzein, genistein, and glycetein. These play a vital role in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

Saponins are hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant sterols, which specifically prevent colon cancers. Soybean oil has various phytosterols – like sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol – that have anticancer and antioxidant properties. The phenolic acids present in soybeans, including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and ellagic acid, also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (7).

It sounds like an ideal replacement for your regular cooking oil, doesn’t it?

But, when you look at the nutrition table, one thing that struck me (and must have caught your eye too!) is the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Though the phytochemical profile of this oil looks promising, high levels of such fatty acids reportedly have deleterious effects on your health.

Scroll down to know what they are.

Back To TOC

Side Effects And Drawbacks Of Using Soybean Oil

  • Hinder Thyroid Functioning

Soybean oil and soy products have shown antithyroid effects in iodine-deficient individuals.

When hypothyroid patients consume soy products, the isoflavones inhibit the absorption of synthetic thyroid supplements, showing a false negative response to the treatment. Sometimes, the dose is increased to bridge the gap, which never existed (8),(9).

You can either cut down on the soybean oil intake or follow a balanced diet under medical supervision to avoid clinical implications.

  • Causes Obesity And Diabetes

The culprits, in this case, are the polyunsaturated fatty acids. Once they are broken down, these fatty acid derivatives get accumulated in various organs of the body, including the liver and kidneys, increasing their weights and leading to inflammation and eventually diabetes.

Also, because of the saturated fatty acid content, this oil induces the build-up of the fat storing adipose tissues, causing obesity (10).

  • Can Be Allergic To Infants

Breastfeeding infants are usually allergic to soybean derivatives because of their complex phytochemical composition.

Such children can develop severe rashes, nausea, and fever when fed with processed milk products in which soy derivatives are added in powdered form.

In A Nutshell…

From being called a ‘poor man’s meat’ to being named a superfood, soybean and its derivatives like soybean oil have had quite a tumultuous journey to fame. That’s because soybean oil is one of those oils that has plenty of good and essential fats, vitamin E, and phytochemicals.

Ironically, the same essential fatty acids, along with traces of saturated fatty acids, wreak havoc on your body, creating an imbalance.

Hence, it is imperative to opt for soybean oil along with a lot of protein and dietary fiber. The fiber prevents those bad fats from getting accumulated in various parts of your body.

All said and done, any vegetable oil has better nutritive value than animal fats. Remember the butter vs. soybean oil chart?

So, this time, while dressing your salad, make sure you choose soybean oil over clarified butter or any refined oil. And let us know what difference you noticed in your metabolism by commenting in the box below.

If this article gave you all the information you were looking for on soybean oil, like and share it. Also, share your comments, suggestions, and feedback about this article.

Back To TOC


  1. “Hair Cosmetics: An Overview” International Journal of Trichology, US National Library of Medicine
  2. “Black soybean anthocyanins attenuate inflammatory responses…” Nutrition Research and Practice, US National Library of Medicine
  3. “Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects…” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. “Dermatological application of soy isoflavones…”
  5. “Getting to the heart of…” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School
  6. “Osteoprotective effect of soybean and sesame oils…” Cytotechnology, US National Library of Medicine
  7. “Phytochemicals in soybeans” Department of Nutrition and Food Science, South Dakota State University
  8. “Effect of soy protein and soybean…” Thyroid: official journal of American Thyroid Association, US National Library of Medicine
  9. “Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity…” Environmental Health Perspectives, US National Library of Medicine
  10. “Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic…” PLoS One, US National
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.
Swathi holds a Master’s degree in Biotechnology and has worked in places where actual science and research happen. Blending her love for writing with science, Swathi writes for Health and Wellness and simplifies complex topics for readers from all walks of life.And on the days she doesn’t write, she learns and performs Kathak, sings Carnatic music compositions, makes plans to travel, and obsesses over cleanliness.