The Worst Mistake in the History of Food Manufacturing …
and the easiest action you can take to improve your health.
Contributing Author Jena Savadsky Griffith, RDN, IHC of Culpeper Wellness.
If I had to choose one product added to the food supply that has caused the most damage to humans it would be vegetable oils. I am not alone in this assertion, there have been many scientific studies and examples of this truth since their introduction to the food supply. These polyunsaturated, shelf stable, rancid vegetable oils include corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, Crisco and margarine. They are also known as trans fats and hydrogenated oils.
It all began in the late 1800’s with candle and soap maker, Proctor and Gamble (P&G). At the time, they made soap out of animal fats, but after an economic depression in 1870, P & G turned to less expensive palm, coconut oil and then cottonseed oil. Meanwhile, Eli Whitney’s cotton gin led to the production of massive amounts of cotton, with one caveat. The seed of the cotton was of minimal use; for every 100 pounds of the usable fiber, there were 162 pounds of unusable seeds, considered toxic waste. Innovation caught up in 1850 when they figured out how to make large amounts of oil out of the cotton seed. Before modern day processing, cottonseed oil is cloudy, red and bitter to the taste due to a chemical byproduct called gossypol (used today in China as male birth control) which causes dangerously high levels of potassium, organ damage and paralysis.
With the help of German scientist Edwin Kyser, P&G figured out a way to make a liquid into a solid. Since they used animal & then other oils to make soap, why not reverse the process! Solid soap looks like lard, so why not use it as such? Thus, Crisco was born. Manufacturers then went about successfully convincing cooks all over the country to use this to replace animal fats. It was one of the largest marketing campaigns of the time. Health claims printed on packaging went unregulated, so benefits were wildly exaggerated.
Since then, these oils have been slowly and systematically added to our food supply. They are cheap, highly processed, deodorized, refined, bleached and hydrogenated which involves very high temperatures and questionable chemicals. Additionally, when entering a 98.6 degree heated vessel (your body), these oils cause oxidative stress within the cells, leading to inflammation in the blood and organs and impaired system function. They are said to be a contributing factor in some of the most prevalent diseases of our time, including diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and obesity.
In order to increase your health, prevent diabetes, heal your liver and improve any chronic condition, leave these oils on the shelves. Instead, turn to natural fats from either animal sources or plant sources in the form of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee and avocado or macadamia nut oil in small amounts.
Dequina A. Nicholas et al. Fatty acid metabolites combine with reduced beta oxidation to activate Th17 Inflammation in human type 2 diabetes, Cell Metabolism. 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.07.004
Lauretti, E., Praticò, D. Effect of canola oil consumption on memory, synapse and neuropathology in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Sci Rep 7, 17134 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17373-3
The Happiness Diet (c) 2011 by Drew Ramsey, MD and Tyler Graham. Rodale, Inc. Accessed from: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/how-vegetable-oils-replaced-animal-fats-in-the-american-diet/256155/
Nina Teicholz. The Big Fat Surprise. 2014, Simon & Schuster.