What you need to KNOW to avoid Partially Hydrogenated Oil alias! TRANS FAT
by Robert DeMaria DC, DABCO, FASBE, NHD
Are you ready for another fat article? By now most people in America have been so inundated with news about FAT that there we are actually living in a FAT phobia epidemic. Confusion is everywhere. FAT or OIL is not the ENEMY the kind of oil the consumers are choosing is the problem!! You need to make wise selections. Well meaning FREE LANCE writers are looking for information to attempt to educate the public about staying thin while you eat. The food manufactures are scurrying to find an alternative for the oils they fry and cook with, keeping the taste appealing and the government off their backs while attempting keep the profit margins up for their investors. Read any of the business news papers and you will see huge players in the food industry make announcements on changing their source of cooking oils. Do you know why they are switching? Better educated consumers are demanding healthier ingredients. Education and the access to information have changed the world in which we eat and live.
Ready or not here I come. I would like to take the next few minutes explaining to you in simple detail the facts and truth about partially hydrogenated fat...the villain of the day. It all started in 1873 that is when the first "batch" of partially hydrogenated oil was developed in Europe. I have a funny suspicion the dairy association concerned about competition with butter kept it under the lid of community exposure until World War II, when the Allied soldiers were given butter while fighting on the front lines. The American public had its first taste of mass produced "Oleo Margarine" during the War.
Partially hydrogenated oil or commonly called Trans fat, (and by the way, the two named product is a part of the confusion) is made by heating vegetable oil at very high temperatures. The heating process then continues with hydrogen pumped into the container in the presence of a metal catalyst. It is stopped right before FULL loading of hydrogen, hence the name "partially hydrogenated". The exact final result of the process is not exactly known. Full hydrogenation would result in a solid substance. Partially hydrogenated fat is not solid at room temperatures. You are not making it on your stove top when you fry. You are "burning oil and food" when you FRY at home.
It appears that in the late nineteen fifties there was a statement at a health event where it was reported that the leading cause of heart problems was cholesterol. Cholesterol was found on the blood vessel walls of those who had cardiovascular or heart disease.
I have heard it passed through the grape vine that the Soy bean industry came up with and leaked that information. They had the most to win by the way....read on. Here is some insight for you.
Vegetable oil (soy oil is vegetable oil) does not have cholesterol in it. Animal products do. Seventy percent of the current oil used in the USA is SOY based. People were told to avoid products and processes made with animal tissue; lard, beef tallow, cheese, heavy dairy cream and eggs. These foods also have fat molecules which are saturated which mean there is a single link or bond connecting the two carbons.
The conventional medical mind sets were convinced that if they could get the public to stop eating those foods the heart attack problem would go away. What most do not realize is that the human body makes up to seventy-five percent of the cholesterol on a "make as you need supply and demand basis". Cholesterol is essential for our survival as a species; it is a precursor for sex hormones.
Vegetable based fat or oils do not have cholesterol...the twist in the marketing was the fact...that the public was told to avoid fat....fat and cholesterol were compared to be as one; and they were now related. Vegetable oils have a double bond rather than a single bond like the animal sourced fat counterpart.
The public was lead to believe that partially hydrogenated or Trans fat was not fat!! because it did not have cholesterol. Ask people who are unaware of Trans fat today....they will tell you they avoid animal sourced fat...but will eat the low fat vegetable sourced Trans fat. Vegetable oils are liquid at room temperature. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. The LOW FAT no FAT DIET FAD started. The plan was that low fat meant no CHOLESTEROL. This was done for two reasons;
• First, for people were not supposed to eat a diet that led to heart disease
• Second, for people who eat low fat would lose weight
All you have to do is look around and see that this plan has not worked successfully. People are heavier now than ever, and heart disease and heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the Western World. The results of testing completed has been released from animal studies that suggest primates who ate a diet with Trans fat were FOUR TIMES HEAVIER than their counterparts who did not have Trans fat. America has been on the LOW FAT "kick" for nearly FORTY YEARS!! And still have heart disease.
Now are you ready for this? The low fat diet is loaded with partially hydrogenated oil or Trans fat with SUGAR added to enhance flavor and taste. This DEADLY combination did not help the lowering of cholesterol like everyone thought...it actually raised cholesterol, and the portion of cholesterol it raised was the LDL component which is considered the "BAD" cholesterol. The difficulty was compounded by the fact that Trans fat also lowered the "GOOD" or HDL cholesterol. Natural, not yet altered by man vegetable oil itself will not raise Cholesterol. What happens is the twisted fat molecule of the once healthy oil causes a physiology predicament at the cellular level, the body then responds with a defense mechanism that raises cholesterol to protect itself.
The medical community and the food manufactures were and still are beside themselves on the reports of the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. Someone forgot to do their homework. That is also why we need long term studies before it is suggested that something is safe like genetically modified food, artificial sweeteners and cloned animal products.
Fake food generally will cause an inflammatory response at the microscopic cell level. Trans fat raises Cholesterol because it is the primary cause of inflammation. Cholesterol is being produced by the body to protect itself. Cholesterol is being released to make the components in the body to be a firefighter trying to settle down the inflammation. The medical community is doing everything it can to lower artificially lower cholesterol (cholesterol can be compared to a firefighter, putting out a fire or inflammation) which in most cases not natural. That is why we have "side effects" with Cholesterol lowering medication. The body can get confused when Cholesterol is lowered artificially (See the Chart below, Trans fat interferes with inflammation relieving PG3)
Today the restaurant businesses alone use FIVE BILLION POUNDS of Trans fat per year. EIGHT BILLION POUNDS are used by our society as a whole. That is a lot of FAT. The major seed producers are looking for new sources of hybrid seeds sources to make new oils that will not be TRANS FAT based. These oils by the way more than likely will be from a genetically modified resource. NOT GOOD!!
Let's talk some physiology; I promise it will be simple. What is the problem with Trans fat? The predicament I have mentioned is you cannot fool Mother Nature. Fat molecules have a specific shape about them. Fat molecules found in nature from vegetable sources or what is called "cis" fat is shaped in a C formation. The hydrogen is found on the same side of the chain. Trans fat hydrogen atoms are placed by intense heat on the opposite side or T shaped.
Now that looks innocent enough but what you need to understand the body is very particular. You cannot successfully build a foundation of a house and try to put C bricks with T bricks and make a secure structure. The breaks in the continuity created by the T's precipitate an
• Inflammation response
• Small holes in the cell membrane
• Electrical short circuiting and a lot of confusion.
Does that make sense? You do not see that on TV advertisements when they are attempting to lure you with tasty morsels made with Trans fat. We live and die at the cellular level. The cells in our body become perplexed when Trans fat is hanging around in abundance. There are many complications because of Trans fat beside raising LDL cholesterol levels. I have listed only a few.
• Correlates to low birth rate
• Precipitates childhood asthma
• Inhibits Essential fatty acid metabolism
• Alters enzyme reactions in the body
• Decreases the red blood cells response to insulin
There are small amounts of Trans fat found in nature, generally the body will use those molecules for energy. When there is a large quantity of Trans fat the body will start incorporating it into cellular membranes. This is not good.
My experience and study with Trans fat started back in the nineteen seventies. I want you to understand a few components of the dilemma with this fake fat. When you eat a meal your body takes that food and breaks it down. There are predictable mapped metabolic pathways that this process occurs with. Various nutrients are needed to complete the sequence. Items like B complex, B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, enzymes and others. All these ingredients are necessary for the body to do its job.
If one of the components is missing or in short supply the body suffers. An example would be lets say Vitamin B6 which is commonly low in most peoples diets on the run, (you can see B6 in the chart) either by choice or eating anti-vitamins like sugar and taking certain medications. When you don't have enough B6 you can develop carpal tunnel or wrist pain symptoms. The carpal tunnel condition is caused (in most cases0 not excluding other structural reasons by a lack of vitamin B6. The body does not create enough of a fat tissue hormone called a prostaglandin without the B6. The prostaglandin in this case is created to take away inflammation. All this results is a result of poor fat metabolism, which means you can have PAIN. It is more than repetitive stress...think about this "Rosie the Riveter" building planes and ships during World War II did not have carpal tunnel, and she had manual tools. Rosie had a different diet than we do today, her meals were not convenience foods loaded with Trans fat. This next piece of information will be the most important for you. TRANS FAT interferes with the metabolic pathways that have to do with brain (DHA in the chart) and heart health (EPA in the chart). Trans fat sabotages the process. You can also slow and stop the progression of this process with lack of nutrients.
What you might not know is the fact that Trans fat has a half-life. What is that you ask? Remember in Biology and Chemistry, uranium and other metals had a half-life of thousands of years? Well, Trans fat's half-life is 51 days. (Which also is the reason convenience foods have a long shelf life)? That means if you eat a food with Trans fat or partially hydrogenated fat today....it's negative effect will linger in you with twenty-five percent of its negative potency for 102 days. Now you can see how this insidiously can affect your health?
Let me give it to you like this. It is estimated that nearly thirty percent of our youth between four and nineteen years old will eat at a fast food restaurant today in AMERICA. The most common food requested while dining out is a chicken nugget, followed by America's most popular vegetable...the French fry. It is also reported that thirty percent of our family meals are outside the home. With that combination some of you reading this have more than likely had Trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils that last three months unless because you are reading this article in "Health Keepers" (and a part of the educated public on health concerns) and you are a label reader who avoids Trans fat. Trans fat is the leading cause of health problems today also because it has mysteriously gone undetected for nearly forty years and has permeated nearly every fabric of our food chain. It cunningly slows and stops fat metabolism and the public is just now finding out about it. Denmark outlawed it years ago. There is a major health food store chain that will not allow it in its store...that should tell you something.
You need to be a label reader. In January 2006 the government required all foods to have the amount of Trans fat placed on the package. There is a loop hole in this. If a product has one-half gram or less of Trans fat per SERVING a manufacturer can legally say "0 Grams Trans Fat". When you see that on the label, you should turn the package over. Look in the Nutrition Facts Box, if you see partially hydrogenated oils, gently put the package down.
I will give you an example: eat 15 potato chips in a bag labeled "0 Grams Trans Fat" and you think you are OK, but what happens at number 16? BUSTED!! One fourth of a donut, one half of a commercial grade peanut butter and jelly sandwich, one delicious chocolate chip cookie will put you over the TOP. Start looking for the word partially hydrogenated fats.... They are in vitamins, candy, bread, cereal, novelty items literally everywhere. You must become label savvy. That is why you will be seeing more cities voting to get Trans fat out of restaurants. There was a study released in the late nineteen nineties that said if you ate more than one gram of Trans fat a day, you would increase your chance of cardiovascular disease by Twenty percent. This information was released over ten years.....Have you heard about it? Does the "0 Grams Trans Fat" make sense.....Who only eats ONE POTATO chip anyway?
Let me close with this. We should not only want Trans Fat out of the restaurants and convenience foods.....we need it out of the school lunches. Feeding kids trans fat food leads to obesity....and from my research the number one cause of ADHD is TRANS FAT....join me...write letters to your school board, raise your voice at school meetings. The heatlh educated public like yourselves needs to support this grass roots drive to get rid of trans fat.
© Copyright by Robert DeMaria DC, NHD. Used with permission.
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