12-5-2003
Was Humanity's Rise to Preeminence Fueled By Fish Oils? - 5

Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
     Dr. Perricone also quotes a recent Harvard statement regarding the addition of synthetic, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats) to food:

    "The combined results of metabolic and epidemiological studies strongly support an adverse effect of trans fat on risk of CHD. Furthermore, two independent methods of estimation indicate that the adverse effect of trans fat is stronger than that of saturated fat. By our most conservative estimate, replacement of partially hydrogenated fat in the U. S. diet with natural unhydrogenated vegetable oils would prevent approximately 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year, and epidemiological evidence suggests this number is closer to 100,000 premature deaths annually. These reductions are higher than what could be achieved with realistic reductions in saturated fat intake."  -- "Trans Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease."  Arnold, Jill, Harvard University Department of Nutrition, November 15, 1999.

    These are shocking numbers! Thirty thousand to one hundred thousand commercially inflicted deaths a year? If these numbers are even one-tenth true, they're enough to separate me from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
    Trans fats were originally introduced back in the 1940's, when margarine manufacturers were trying to compete with butter producers. The butter barons were able to get a law passed that prohibited the margarine makers from coloring their ersatz butter yellow. The margarine makers countered by inserting a packet of yellow dye in their margarine that you could use to make it look like real butter. Then the University of Minnesota's Ansel Keyes began to sound the theme that margarine could reduce cholesterol levels, and should reduce the rates of heart attacks. (It turns out that it does indeed lower serum cholesterol levels, but it raises the risk of heart attacks,  probably because of its partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Also, polyunsaturated oils cause more free radical damage, and increase the risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer.)
    I decided in 1974 that margarine is a synthetic product, and that I would probably be better off eating a very small amount of butter than eating synthetic food.
    Partially hydrogenated fats can extend the shelf lives of various products, probably because they're inedible or lethal to bacteria... i. e., germicidal. (Makes you really eager to eat them, doesn't it?)
    Trans fats are found everywhere. I was shocked today when I examined the labels on some of our foods. There are hydrogenated oils in our Peter Pan peanut butter, our Lipton's chicken noodle soup mix, our Campbell's soups, and our wholesome, Pepperidge Farms oatmeal raisin cookies. 
    Curiously, there are no trans fats in other foods such as Hershey's almond bars or chocolate syrup, nor were there any in the low-fat, sugar-free, chocolate-covered, ice cream bars that help us stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to salv... ugh.... weight loss.

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