The Slippery Science of Fats and Oils

by ProfKeith

There is probably nothing more misunderstood in medicine and nutrition than fats. In fact, if I use the term lipids, it’s all-encompassing and takes into account blood fats too.

Never has there been a subject so hedged about out with lies, ignorance, stupidity, dis-information and dangerous incompetence as this topic.

It kills—yes, KILLS—hundreds of millions of people a year. Doctors, dieticians and government meddlers murder uncountable numbers, due to getting the science wrong.

But AT LAST, the wheel is beginning to turn around.

Let’s grab some quick facts, so you are armed like a nutri-pirate for bloodthirsty hand-to-hand combat!

  1. Heart disease as we know it since the early 20th century did not exist prior to the introduction of artificial fats, in the from of margarine. This is despite the fact that the population ate nothing but milk, butter, cheese, cream and curds.
  2. Eskimo populations traditionally ate diets up of to 50% fat, yet cancer and heart disease were unknown, until they moved into the bases and started consuming the standard carbohydrate and trans fat loaded diet.
  3. Key vitamins like A, D and E are fat-soluble and are not absorbed, or hardly at all, if the diet is fat deficient.
  4. Robert Atkins showed that you can eat a diet loaded with fats and lose weight dramatically. “Experts” still say this diet is “dangerous”. Why? Because it’s high in fats. Why is that dangerous? Because we say so, not because there is any evidence what-so-ever.
  5. Even successful low-fat plans work because they take people off dangerous fats (trans fats) not because they take people off saturated fats. All “experts” agree that saturated fats are dangerous and every single one who does is a dangerous nincompoop. There is no evidence for such a claim but LOTS of evidence that saturated fats are essential to us.
  6. The recommended alternatives are dangerous. Polyunsaturates, so-called, are KILLERS, despite endless media propaganda for “heart healthy” margarine and cooking oils.It’s elementary nutrition and a kid of 10 years old could figure this out: we need essential fatty acids (EFAs) like EPA, polyunsaturates are essential fatty acids, they squeeze out the EPA by competing with it, we get rampant inflammation. I rest my case: inflammation is the cause of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, coronary artery disease, all the problems of aging, which have…what? Gone up astronomically since the introduction of low-fat dietary recommendations. It’s elementary, my dear Watson (yes, Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote Sherlock Holmes was a doctor, remember!)
  7. So-called “trans fats” or hydrogenated oils are completely unnatural, beloved of the food industry and totally backed by “official” heart-health campaigns.In the decades since the attack on saturated fats and the promotion of margarine, hydrogenated oils and vegetable fats, heart disease rates have soared. The more the message is hammered in the fats are the cause, the worse the health of the nations who propagandize this garbage.

Science Has Been There All The Time

Now get this: it’s not a case of science going down the wrong road and finally realizing the mistake. It’s the story of very stupid and criminally dishonest people, working for the food industry, wrapping up pseudo-science and disguising it, for other ends than health of the population.

There hasn’t been a year go by, while I have been watching the scientific literature, when the dangers of low-fat plans, polyunsaturated substitutes, artificial fats and oils or the health value of healthy saturated fat has not been published.

IT’S JUST ALL BEEN TOTALLY IGNORED.

The advertising and media machine goes on grinding out the same old message; “everyone knows” that fats are bad for us, right?

It’s hammered so much and so hard that medical students are taught to believe it, doctors believe it, each country’s own heart health charity campaign bashes it out, TV anchors are experts and repeat this message as glibly as if they were professors of physiology…

It’s an international chorus of “the Earth is flat, not round!”

To suggest that fats are good for you is considered a heresy as unthinkable as religious dissension in the days of The Inquisition.fats and oils

Indeed, we have medical inquisitions sitting all over the world today, and revoking the licenses of any doctors who do not toe the party line (would make everyone else look pretty stupid if the dissenters turned out to be correct, right? So crush them, rather than figure out where the truth lies).

New Science

I hinted that the wheel is finally turning and huge cracks are appearing in the classic picture. For example:

A paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last month (Nov 2013) mounts a credible challenge to the claim that that polyunsaturated fats could reduce the risk of heart disease through their ability to lower blood cholesterol levels.

The research showed that omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced the dangers of heart disease, but had no effect whatever on lowering cholesterol levels (well, it wouldn’t, would it, since cholesterol has absolutely nothing to do with heart disease).1

In the so-called The Sydney Diet Heart Study, about 220 men aged 30-59 were instructed to reduce saturated fat intake and increase polyunsaturated fat intake.

The men were supplied with safflower oil and safflower oil-based margarine (rich in the omega-6 fat known as ‘linoleic acid’, but very low in the omega-3 fat found in plants known as ‘alpha-linolenic acid’). A similar number of men got no dietary instruction and acted as controls.

In the men eating the ‘heart-healthy’ diet, risk of death was elevated by 62 per cent. Risk of death from cardiovascular disease was increased by 70 percent.2 In other words, lowering cholesterol levels leads to early death. I’m sorry to say “I told ‘em!” but all my old-time subscribers will recognize this war cry I use often!

On November 7, 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is now considering removing partially hydrogenated oils—the primary source of trans fats—from the list of “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) ingredients.3

According to the FDA, 12 percent of all processed foods contain at least one partially hydrogenated oil, aka trans fat.

Numerous studies have shown that consumption of trans fats can have “lots of adverse health events, including raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University in University Park, Pa.

“There really is no safe level of consumption of trans fat,” FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.4

Cynics would jump to the conclusion that this turnaround was because the FDA was being sued for failing to point out the evidence showing the dangers of trans fats! Joe Mercola tells us Dr. Fred Kummerow, a 99-year old heart disease researcher, has been studying heart disease for about 60 years. He first wrote about the health hazards of trans fats all the way back in 1957.

Finally, Dr. Kummerow filed a citizen petition with the FDA in August of 2009 to have trans fats banned, based on the scientific evidence of harm. The agency is legally required to respond within 180 days. Four years later, no response had been issued, so Dr. Kummerow resorted to suing the agency.

Suddenly they are questioning the safety of trans fats, after all these years! A coincidence? Who cares…

But it comes down to this: you have to research and learn for yourself about health and nutrition. No government agency is going to protect you from the lies and cunning of the food industry or the stupid/wicked scientists who work for them!

fats

My Advice…

Eat lots of fat; don’t worry about saturated. Cook in coconut oil (get used to the flavor). Try to find lard and cook in that; collect your own lard from roast meats (but not chicken). Dump all margarine and re-introduce butter (Yum!)

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{ 8 comments }

Clyderoy December 11, 2013 at 7:41 am

What is the best fat or oil to use in home baking of bread? I use olive oil, but I know it is not the ideal for cooking.

ProfKeith December 17, 2013 at 7:49 am

That’s a cook’s question Clyderoy. I need to ask around.

Stephen Cardwell March 5, 2014 at 3:38 am

Dear Professor Keith,

Thank you very much for your information concerning cooking oils.

I now always use Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to cook with, however, whilst I never cook with olive oils, immediately after cooking my spagetti and sometimes rice (when they are still hot) I put Extra Virgin Olive Oil on them immediately before eating..

Am I wrong in so doing?

Please advise.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Cardwell

ProfKeith March 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

Excellent Stephen,
I didn’t say olive oil (especially EVOO) is bad!
Only not to fear saturated fats.
Olive oil is part of the classic and very health-friendly Mediterranean diet!
Prof.

Anne March 22, 2014 at 5:53 am

What is your opinion of grapeseed oil? A company is selling this and saying it is very good to cook with and is good for us. True? Thank you.

ProfKeith March 22, 2014 at 7:06 am

I have never used it, so it is only an opinion.
I don’t see a problem with it though…
Prof.

clinton April 13, 2014 at 4:51 am

How do I make lard out of animal fats and where can buy animal fats oil instead of using vegtable lard

Sheila April 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm

I use Butter in making my home made bread…YUM

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