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The increase in trans fats paralleled the increase in cancer and heart disease notes Mary Enig, PhD
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 5:48 am Email this article
"Trans fatty acids are sufficiently similar to natural fats that the body readily incorporates them into the cell membrane; once there their altered chemical structure creates havoc with thousands of necessary chemical reactions—everything from energy provision to prostaglandin production," writes lipid biochemist, Mary Enig, PhD, and journalist, Sally Fallon Morell in a wonderful, eye-opening article about fats and heart disease titled The Oiling of America.
"But most of the trans isomers in modern hydrogenated fats are new to the human physiology and by the early 1970's a number of researchers had expressed concern about their presence in the American diet, noting that their increasing use had paralleled the increase in both heart disease and cancer," they note.
Hydrogenation of Vegetable Oils Creates Trans Fats
Hydrogenation of vegetable oils creates trans fats
“Hydrogenation creates trans double bonds by moving one hydrogen atom across to the other side of the carbon chain at the point of the double bond,” they write.
“Although trans fatty acids are technically unsaturated, they are configured in such a way that the benefits of unsaturation are lost.
“The presence of several unpaired electrons presented by contiguous hydrogen atoms in their cis form [ of normal, healthy fats, cis fats as opposed to trans fats ] allows many vital chemical reactions to occur at the site of the double bond.
Hydrogenation of Vegetable Oils Causes Problems
Hydrogenation of vegetable oils causes problems in living cells
“When one hydrogen atom is moved to the other side of the fatty acid molecule during hydrogenation, the ability of living cells to make reactions at the site is compromised or altogether lost.
Trans Fats Are Incorporated Into Cells Membranes
Trans fats are incorporated into cells membranes. causing havoc
“Trans fatty acids are sufficiently similar to natural fats that the body readily incorporates them into the cell membrane; once there their altered chemical structure creates havoc with thousands of necessary chemical reactions—everything from energy provision to prostaglandin production.
After WWII, They Could Hydrogenate Corn and Soybean Oil
After World War II, they figured out how to hydrogenate corn and soybean oil
“After the second world war, ‘improvements’ made it possible to plasticize highly unsaturated oils from corn and soybeans.
“New catalysts allowed processors to ‘selectively hydrogenate’ the kinds of fatty acids with three double bonds found in soy and canola oils.
Partial Hydrogenation Invented
Partial hydrogenation Invented to hydrogenate corn and soybean oil
“Called ‘partial hydrogenation,’ the new method allowed processors to replace cottonseed oil with more unsaturated corn and soy bean oils in margarines and shortenings.
Soybean Production Increased Dramatically
Soybean Production Increased from virtually nothing in 1900 to 70 million tons in 1970, surpassing corn production
“This spurred a meteoric rise in soybean production, from virtually nothing in 1900 to 70 million tons in 1970, surpassing corn production.
Soybean Oil Used in 80% of Hydrogenated Oils
Soybean oil used in 80% of hydrogenated oils
“Today soy oil dominates the market and is used in almost eighty percent [ 80% ] of all hydrogenated oils.
Trans Fats Found in Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cottonseed Oil and Corn Oil
Trans Fats: 40% hydrogenated soybean oil are trans fats, 5% of cottonseed oil, 15% corn oil
“The particular mix of fatty acids in soy oil results in shortenings containing about 40% trans fats, an increase of about 5% over cottonseed oil, and 15% over corn oil.
Trans Fats Found in Hydrogenated Canola Oil
Hydrogenated canola oil contains as much as 50% trans fats
“Canola oil, processed from a hybrid form of rape seed, is particularly rich in fatty acids containing three double bonds and the shortening can contain as much as 50% trans fats.
Trans Fats Formed During Deodorization of Canola Oil
Trans fats of a particularly problematical form are formed during deodorization of canola oil
“Trans fats of a particularly problematical form are also formed during the deodorization of canola oil, although they are not indicated on labels for the liquid oil.12a
Trans Fats Naturally Found in Dairy Fats
Certain forms of trans fats naturally found in dairy fats, however, ruminant animal convert them into the anti-carcinogenic compound, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
“Certain forms of trans fatty acids occur naturally in dairy fats.
“Trans-vaccenic acid makes up about 4% of the fatty acids in butter.
“It is an interim product which the ruminant animal then converts to conjugated linoleic acid, a highly beneficial anti-carcinogenic component of animal fat.
Humans Utilize Small Amounts of Trans Fats Found in Dairy Fats Without Ill Effects
Humans seem to utilize the small amounts of trans fats found in butter fat without ill effects
“Humans seem to utilize the small amounts of trans-vaccenic acid in butter fat without ill effects.
Trans Fats Found in Hydrogenated Oils Are New To Human Physiology
Trans fats found in hydrogenated oils are new to human physiology; the rise in their consumption paralleled the increase in both cancer and heart disease
“But most of the trans isomers in modern hydrogenated fats are new to the human physiology and by the early 1970’s a number of researchers had expressed concern about their presence in the American diet, noting that their increasing use had paralleled the increase in both heart disease and cancer.
Eat Natural, Traditional Fats
Eat natural, traditional fats; avoid hydrogenated oils; use butter, not margarine
“The unstated solution was one that could be easily presented to the public: Eat natural, traditional fats; avoid newfangled foods made from vegetable oils; use butter, not margarine.
“But medical research and public consciousness took a different tack, one that accelerated the decline of traditional foods like meat, eggs and butter, and fueled continued dramatic increases in vegetable oil consumption.”
Enig M, Morell SF. The Oiling of America. 2000.
[Hobbs: Thyroid expert Broda Barnes, MD PhD gives a very convincing argument in his 1976 book Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness that low thyroid is the major cause of coronary heart disease, and that heart attacks increased after 1945 because medicine figured out how to prevent deaths from tuberculosis and other infections with drugs, which then allowed these low thyroid people to live long enough to die from coronary heart disease which tens of thousands of autopsies from Graz, Austria revealed that already existed in their blood vessels. Barnes argument is the most convincing to me as the major cause of heart disease, however, a few—only a very few—dietary factors such as the consumption of trans fats seem to also to be a causative factor.]
About the Authors
About the Authors : Mary G. Enig, PhD
Mary G. Enig, PhD is an expert of international renown in the field of lipid biochemistry.
She has headed a number of studies on the content and effects of trans fatty acids in America and Israel, and has successfully challenged government assertions that dietary animal fat causes cancer and heart disease.
Recent scientific and media attention on the possible adverse health effects of trans fatty acids has brought increased attention to her work.
She is a licensed nutritionist, certified by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists, a qualified expert witness, nutrition consultant to individuals, industry and state and federal governments, contributing editor to a number of scientific publications, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and President of the Maryland Nutritionists Association.
She is the author of over 60 technical papers and presentations, as well as a popular lecturer. Dr. Enig is currently working on the exploratory development of an adjunct therapy for AIDS using complete medium chain saturated fatty acids from whole foods.
She is Vice-President of the Weston A Price Foundation and Scientific Editor of Wise Traditions as well as the author of Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol, Bethesda Press, May 2000.
She is the mother of three healthy children brought up on whole foods including butter, cream, eggs and meat.
About the Authors : Sally Fallon Morell
Sally Fallon Morell is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (with Mary G. Enig, PhD), a well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods with a startling message:
Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.
She joined forces with Enig again to write Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, and has authored numerous articles on the subject of diet and health.
Her four healthy children were raised on whole foods including butter, cream, eggs and meat.
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