- HEALTH FOOD LABELS MAY DECEIVE
- Have you ever spent extra money to purchase
a 'higher-quality' health food or vitamin product, only to discover some
time later that it wasn't all it was claimed to be? It has happened in
our family more than once. Our most recent experience was with a line of
vegetable oils sold in health food stores and co-ops. The attractively
labelled bottles touted their special processing techniques, implying low
temperatures and the superior quality of their product. We had used their
canola oil for many years when I decided to write the company with some
questions and request information on their oils.
- We were shocked to find out that the
"cold-pressed" and "lightly refined" canola oil was
subjected to the same high temperatures (450°-500° Fahrenheit,
or 232°-260° Celsius) and most of the chemical processing steps
suffered by regular grocery store oils! The main difference was that they
didn't use chemical solvents to extract the oil from the seeds or add preservatives
- Disappointed, and determined to find
a source of healthy oils for my family, I began a search for accurate information
on the production of food oils to supplement my scanty knowledge. This
article is the culmination of that exploration to date, and will provide
you with information you need to make healthier selections of foods and
oils for your family.
- THE IMPORTANCE OF FATTY ACIDS
- Fatty acids are essential for our cells
to function normally and stay alive. The cell membranes allow the passage
of necessary minerals and molecules in and out of our cells. Healthy cell
membranes discourage dangerous chemicals and organisms like bacteria, viruses,
moulds and parasites from entering the cell. These membranes also maintain
chemical receptor sites for hormones, the body's crucial messengers. Fatty
acids are involved in countless chemical processes in our bodies and are
used as building blocks for certain hormones.
- Two types of fatty acidsomega-3 and omega-6cannot
be made by our bodies and therefore must be obtained through our diets.
They are called "essential fatty acids" (EFAs), and if we have
an adequate supply we can use these EFAs to manufacture the other fatty
acids we need.
- EFA supplementation has been helpful
to many people with allergies, anaemia, arthritis, cancer, candida, depression,
diabetes, dry skin, eczema, fatigue, heart disease, inflammation, multiple
sclerosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), psoriasis, sluggish metabolism,
viral infections, etc., and in easing the addiction recovery process.
- TRANS-FATS AND CONFUSED CHEMISTRY
- Naturally-occurring fatty acids contain
double bonds of a particular configuration, referred to as "cis-"
by biochemists. The cis- causes the molecules to be bent so that the two
hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond. This means the
bonds between the molecules are weaker due to their irregular shape, resulting
in a lower melting pointor, in supermarket shopper lingo, they are solid
at room temperature. Fats with either trans- double bonds or no bonds ("saturated")
are solid at room temperature.
- Margarine is made by adding hydrogen
atoms to the fat molecules to make them more saturated, raising the melting
point of the fat so it remains a solid at room temperature, i.e., the margarine
won't run all over the table. This process, called "hydrogenation",
requires the presence of a metal catalyst and temperatures of about 500°F
(260°C) for the reaction to take place. It causes about half of the
cis- bonds to flip over into a trans- configuration.
- Hydrogenation became popular in the US
because this type of oil doesn't spoil or become rancid as readily as regular
oil and therefore has a longer shelf-life. You can leave a cube of margarine
sitting out for years and it will not be touched by moulds, insects or
rodents. Margarine is a non-food! It would appear that only humans are
foolish enough to eat it! Because the fats in margarine are partially hydrogenated
(i.e., not fully saturated), the manufacturers can claim it is "polyunsaturated"
and market it to us as a healthy food.
- Many other fatty chemicals are also created
when oils are partially hydrogenated. In Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill
(p. 103), Udo Erasmus stated: "So many different compounds can be
made during partial hydrogenation that they stagger the imagination...
Needless to say, the industry is hesitant to fund or publicize thorough
and systematic studies on the kinds of chemicals produced and their effects
- Erasmus also quoted a statement about
hydrogenation, made by Herbert Dutton, one of the oldest and most knowledgable
oil chemists in North America. It basically boils down to this: because
of the known and unknown health effects of these hydrogenation by-products,
government health regulations would not allow the process to be used for
making edible products if it were to be introduced today.
- Another 'side-effect' of hydrogenation
is that a residue of toxic metals, usually nickel and aluminium, is left
behind in the finished product. These metals are used as catalysts in the
reaction, but they accumulate in our cells and nervous system where they
poison enzyme systems and alter cellular functions, endangering health
and causing a wide variety of problems. These toxic metals are difficult
to eliminate without special detoxification techniques, and our 'toxic
load' increases steadily with small exposures over time. Since they are
increasingly found in our air, food and water, the cumulative doses can
add up to dangerous levels over time.
- Since trans- fats don't occur in nature,
our bodies don't know how to deal with them effectively and they act as
poisons to crucial cellular reactions. The body tries to use them as it
would the cis- form, and they wind up in cell membranes and other places
they shouldn't be.
- In recent years, measurements of trans-
fats in the membranes of human red blood cells have been as high as 20
per cent, when the figure should be zero. While red blood cells were used
because they're easy to access, it's safe to assume that most other cell
membranes in the body also contain these unnatural fats.
- Trans- fatty acids in cell membranes
weaken the membrane's protective structure and function. This alters normal
transport of minerals and other nutrients across the membrane and allows
disease microbes and toxic chemicals to get into the cell more easily.
The result: sick, weakened cells, poor organ function and an exhausted
immune systemin short, lowered resistance and increased risk of disease.
- Trans- fats can also derail the body's
normal mechanisms for eliminating cholesterol. The liver normally puts
excess cholesterol in the bile and sends it to the gall bladder, which
empties into the small intestine just below the stomach. Trans- fats block
the normal conversion of cholesterol in the liver and contribute to elevated
cholesterol levels in the blood. They also cause an increase in the amount
of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), considered to be one of the main instigators
of arterial disease (hardening of the arteries). Meanwhile, trans- fats
lower the amount of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) which help protect
the cardiovascular system from the adverse effects of the LDLs. Trans-
fats also increase the level of apolipoprotein A, a substance in the blood
which is another risk factor for heart disease. Indeed, trans- fats have
now been shown to cause even worse problems than saturated animal fats.
- Another adverse effect of trans- fats
in the diet is an enhancement of the body's pro-inflammatory hormones (prostaglandin
E2) and inhibition of the anti-inflammatory types (prostaglandin E1 and
E3). This undesirable influence exerted by trans- fats on prostaglandin
balance may render you more vulnerable to inflammatory conditions that
don't want to heal! Prostaglandins also regulate many metabolic functions.
Tiny amounts can cause significant changes in allergic reaction, blood
pressure, clotting, cholesterol levels, hormone activity, immune function
and inflammatory response, to name just a few.
- Many of these problems with trans- fats
have been known or suspected for 15 to 20 years, but have been largely
ignored in the US. In Europe, trans- fats are restricted in food products,
and some countries allow no more than 0.1 per cent trans- fatty acid content.
In contrast, margarines in the US may contain up to 30 to 50 per cent!
Of course, the food industry denies there is any problem with this.
- Meanwhile, scientific evidence continues
to mount that trans- fats contribute to heart disease and possibly other
conditions as well. Even the conservative Harvard Health Letter referred
to them as "the new enemy".2
- VESTED INTERESTS
- According to Russell Jaffe, M.D., a noted
medical researcher, hog farmers will not feed trans-fats to their animals
because the pigs will die if they eat them. When Dr Jaffe contacted the
US Department of Agriculture, he found that it knew all about this but
was not interested in the possible human effects since this area was not
under its jurisdiction. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't
done anything about it, either. The fact that the food industry has succeeded
in keeping a lid on public awareness of these facts is testimony to the
political power it wields in governmental and scientific circles.
- The food industry funds a great deal
of research. People in the research community know that you can often predict
the outcome of a study if you know who is funding it. In that light, it's
unwise to accept blindly the press releases on 'the latest research' without
considering who paid for it. There are some rather scientific-sounding
foundations out there that are basically 'front' organisations for the
- FATS IN OUR DIETS
- Margarine isn't the only grocery store
item with a significant amount of trans- fats. Any 'food' that lists "hydrogenated"
or "partially hydrogenated" on the label contains trans- fats
and should be avoided. You may be surprised to discover how many products
in your kitchen contain trans- fats. They include most baked goods such
as bread and crackers, shortenings like margarine and Crisco, refined vegetable
oils and most brands of peanut butter. Most peanut butter brands contain
sugar or corn syrup which stresses the pancreas and is easily converted
to fat by the body.
- So be sure to read the labels on packaged
foods and avoid those with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil!
- Also avoid products containing cottonseed
oil. Cotton is not considered a food crop and is heavily sprayed with highly
toxic pesticidessome of which wind up in the oil. According to Dr Jaffe,
cottonseed oil also contains toxic fatty acids similar to those present
in rape seed oil about 30 years ago and suspected of causing several deaths
before being taken off the market. These fatty acids caused illness when
fed to dogs and pigs. Cottonseed oil is commonly used to fry potato chips,
and is found in numerous processed foods.
- Currently, the dominant medical opinion
is that fats are bad for us and should be restricted in our diets. Given
the types of fats usually consumed in America, this is probably a good
idea. But several studies have shown that the quantity of fat is not as
important as the quality of fat and the balance of the fats in relation
to each other. In fact, the essential fatty acids (mentioned earlier) help
control the types of cholesterol made by the body and help prevent heart
disease. So, reducing saturated fats and unnatural trans- fats in our diets,
while increasing the essential fats, would be a more prudent policy. Many
scientists are now advocating this shift in emphasis.
- Edward Siguel, M.D., Ph.D., is an award-winning
researcher who was invited to investigate fatty acids in the Framingham
Cardiovascular Offspring Study. He recently authored a book, Essential
Fatty Acids in Health and Disease.4 Dr Siguel has developed a sensitive
test to determine the amounts of the various fatty acids found in humans,
and has found a definite correlation with trans- fats and heart disease.
He has also found that many people with heart disease have low levels of
EFAs. In a presentation at the Second Annual Symposium on Functional Medicine
in 1994, he stated that insufficiency of EFAs may underlie many of the
chronic diseases prevalent in Western societies. He also cautioned that
low-fat diets not based on whole foods might be hazardous: "Individuals
who maintain normal or low body-weight by eating low-calorie, low-fat,
processed foods, such as supermarket cereals, breads and pasta, are at
high risk for EFA insufficiency...compounded by the use of hydrogenated
oils, leading to elevated levels of circulating trans- fatty acids..."
- The breast milk of many US mothers also
shows an excess of trans- fats and low omega-3 fatty acid content. Dr Donald
Rudin, in his co-authored book, The Omega-3 Phenomenon, stated: "American
mothers produce milk that often has only one-fifth to one-tenth of the
omega-3 content of the milk that well-nourished, nut-eating Nigerian mothers
provide their infants."5
- A revealing study was recently published
by the Nutrition Research Division of Health Canada. The researchers analysed
the milk of 198 lactating mothers across Canada and found that trans- fatty
acids averaged 7.2 per cent of total fatty-acid content, with a range of
0.1 to 17.2 per cent. Further analysis of these trans- fats showed that
their major source was partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (that means
margarine). They also noted that elevation of these trans- fats occurred
at the expense of the EFAs, thus placing the infant in double jeopardy
during a crucial period of development.6
- Both types of EFAs are necessary for
proper development of foetal and infant tissues, especially the nervous
system. According to John Finnegan, in The Facts About Fats, the omega-3s
in particular affect the parts of the brain that relate to learning ability,
anxiety or depression, and auditory and visual perception. They also aid
in balancing the immune system.7 A 1991 Mayo Clinic study of 19 'normal'
pregnant women, eating 'normal' diets, showed that all of them were deficient
in the omega-3 fatty acids and, to a lesser extent, the omega-6s. These
researchers recommended that the omega-3 fatty acids be supplemented in
every pregnancy, and that women avoid refined and hydrogenated fats during
- A study published in the American Journal
of Clinical Nutrition showed a dramatic difference between the heart-disease
rates of populations in northern and southern India.9 The northerners were
meat-eaters and had high cholesterol levels. Their main source of dietary
fat was ghee (clarified butter). The southerners were vegetarians and had
much lower cholesterol levels. Present-day 'wisdom' would predict the vegetarians
to have the lower rate of heart disease, but, in fact, the opposite was
true. The vegetarians had 15 times the rate of heart disease when compared
to their northern counterparts! What was the reason for this surprising
difference? Aside from meat versus vegetables, the major dietary difference
was that the southerners had replaced their traditional ghee (a real food)
with margarine and refined, polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Twenty years
later, the British medical journal the Lancet noted an increase in heart-attack
deaths amongst the northern Indians.10 The northerners had also largely
replaced the ghee in their diets with margarine and refined vegetable oils.
- One hundred years ago, heart disease
was virtually unknown. Today, two-thirds of US citizens develop heart disease.
Something has clearly gone wrong with the way we are living, and one of
the main factors could indeed be the introduction of overrefined, overprocessed,
- Other studies support this idea. For
instance, a study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health indicated
that intake of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils may contribute to
the risk of heart attack.11 Research by Dr Siguel has also given more weight
to the theory that dietary trans- fatty acids are a risk factor for heart
- A report by the Danish Nutrition Council
said that studies suggest that the consumption of trans- fatty acid from
margarine is equally, or perhaps more, responsible for the development
of arteriosclerosis than saturated fatty acids. They recommended reducing
the trans- fatty acid content in all Danish margarine products to 5 per
cent or less (it was then 0 to 30 per cent).13
- Another study done by the Department
of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, analysed
the diets of 239 patients admitted to Boston hospitals for their first
heart attack, and compared them with the diets of 282 healthy control subjects.
After adjusting for several lifestyle variables, they found that margarine
intake was significantly associated with the risk of myocardial infarction.14
- A Harvard Medical School study followed
more than 85,000 women over an eight-year period. The researchers compared
the diets of those who developed heart disease over that time with those
who did not. They found that major dietary sources of trans- fats, such
as margarine, were significantly associated with higher risks of coronary
- PROBLEMS WITH COMMERCIAL PROCESSING
- Refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils
have been very popular in the US since the anti-cholesterol fad began many
years ago and the medical profession began promoting their use. When properly
prepared and utilised, some of these oils are healthful sources of EFAs.
Unfortunately, the standard commercial refining process destroys the EFAs
and creates high levels of trans- fatty acids, while removing important
natural constituents and protective agents like minerals and vitamin E.
- In The Facts About Fats and Fats that
Heal, Fats that Kill, John Finnegan and Udo Erasmus describe the usual
commercial refining process for vegetable oils. It begins with seeds that
may contain high levels of pesticides and herbicides. The seeds are crushed
and subjected to a series of chemical treatments at temperatures up to
520°F (271°C). These treatments include the use of toxic solvents,
caustic soda, preservatives and defoamers, and they result in the destruction
of essential fatty acids, loss of vitamins and minerals, and the formation
of trans- fatty acids and free radicals. This is exactly the opposite of
what is desirable. It is all in the name of longer shelf-life and consumer
acceptance (what's left looks clean and pretty!). This also happens to
the oils used in processed foods, which means most everything that comes
in a can or a box. Remember to read those labels!
- According to Finnegan and Erasmus, the
"cold-pressed" or "expeller-pressed" oils available
at health food stores are no guarantee of quality. Expeller-pressing still
generates temperatures up to 200°F (93.3°C), and most of these
oils are then refined and deodorised using basically the same nutrient-destroying
process used in commercial 'grocery store' oils.
- Be wary of claims like "certified
organic", as there have been instances of fraudulent misrepresentation
in this regard. Some companies have been caught lying about the source
of their seeds and using regular commercial seeds instead of organic ones.
There have even been cases of companies simply rebottling regular oil or
mayonnaise with a 'health food' label and charging higher prices.
- Finnegan mentions two reputable certifying
agencies: FVO (Farm Verified Organic), and OCIA (Organic Crop Improvement
Association). He reports that only two companies meet his criteria for
production of healthful oils: Omega Nutrition in Ferndale, WA (phone 1-800
661 3529), and Flora, Inc. in Lynden, WA (phone 1-800 446 2110 or (360)
354 2110). He also contacted one of the most well-known producers of 'health
food' oils in the nation, but they declined to discuss their oil processing
methods and refused to allow him to visit their facilities.
- Note that light and oxygen, in addition
to heat, also cause extensive damage to oils. According to Erasmus, light
destroys oil 1,000 times faster than does oxygen, so it is important to
purchase unrefined oils in black, lightproof bottles. Oxygen should be
removed from the bottle and replaced with an inert gas, such as nitrogen
or argon. Omega Nutrition packages its oils in this fashion. Flora's oils
are bottled in dark glass, reducing the amount of light but not eliminating
it. While considerably more expensive, they should be worth the extra money,
considering the facts presented in this article.
- EFA BALANCE AND OUR HEALTH
- The two groups of essential fatty acidsomega-3
and omega-6are named for their molecular configurations and where the first
"unsaturated" bond occurs along the chain of carbon atoms.
- Omega-6 oils are found primarily in vegetables
and seeds. They are converted to the E1 prostaglandins (mentioned earlier)
via several chemical steps. Most people take in enough of these fatty acids,
but some have difficulty converting them to the active prostaglandins.
This blockage is commonly caused by excess trans- fats, anti-inflammatory
medications like aspirin or Tylenol, or deficiencies of vitamin B6 or magnesium.
An insufficiency of omega-6 EFAs can result in auto-immune problems, breast
pain and lumpiness, eczema, hyperactivity in children, hypertension, inflammation
and PMS. Supplementing with borage, evening primrose or black-currant seed
oils will usually bypass the blocked step and provide the necessary precursor
to make the desired prostaglandins.
- Dr Siguel has found that the omega-3s
are the more likely to be deficient in our Western diets. Because of food
processing and dietary choices, the average Western diet today contains
only one-sixth the amount of omega-3 fatty acids needed for healthy functioncompared
to a healthy balance 100 years ago. Evidence indicates that a deficiency
of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with arthritis and joint stiffness,
irritable bowel syndrome, PMS, prostate problems, various skin disorders
as well as depression, phobias and schizophrenia.
- The two main sources of omega-3s are
oils from organic flax seeds and from cold-water fish (such as mackerel,
sardines, tuna, trout and salmon). These fish should not be fried because
of the effect of the high temperatures involved and the resultant free-radical
damage. Unlike chicken and turkey, cold-water fish should be eaten with
the skin on, as this is where the highest concentration of desirable fats
- There is some concern about eating fish
frequently, due to the chemical and heavy-metal pollution in the oceans.
Predatory fish concentrate these pollutants in their fatty tissues, but
deep-ocean fish are usually less tainted than coastal species. Freshwater
fish near agricultural, industrial or mining areas are best avoided due
to their high-level intake of toxic chemicals. Farm-raised fish are fed
something akin to pet food and should be avoided; they are not as healthy
and have insignificant levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
- When properly processed, organic flax
seed oil has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, at 57 per
cent. Omega-3s are also found in certain other "unrefined" seed
oils such as chia, soy and canola, but in much smaller amounts. Flax seed
oil is particularly sensitive and must be processed under stringent conditions
(cold, without light or oxygen), nitrogen-packed in dark bottles to avoid
oxidising, and shipped and displayed in refrigerated containers.
- While all unrefined, unsaturated oils
should be processed, packaged and distributed in this way, the vast majority
are not. The companies mentioned earlier adhere to these special methods,
and you should be able to buy their oils with some assurance that you are
getting a healthy product. We have used oils from both companies for the
past few years and have been very happy with them. While more complicated
and costly, these methods may someday play an important role in reducing
many common degenerative diseases, which are much costlier in the long
run especially in terms of human suffering and loss of potential.
- The healthiest foods are usually organically
grown and should be eaten close to their natural state. Certified organic
seeds and grains are available at most food co-ops. Eating organically
grown seeds and other foods is strongly recommended for minimising chemical
intake and optimising nutrient content. When consuming whole foods, we
get a complex array of nutrients which naturally work together to fuel
the intricate chemistry that keeps our bodies going, but many of these
nutrients are normally lost in commercial processing.
- Even the most painstaking human efforts
to produce healthy packaged foods and oils always fall short of nature's
accomplishments. The best oils are provided by nature, neatly packaged
to prevent oxidation of their precious contents. Freshly-ground organic
flax seeds contain fresh oil (protected by the husk), and their fibre is
the richest source of certain substances called "lignans", found
to have potent anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Flax fibre has from 100 to 800 times more lignans than other fibre sources.
This is an inexpensive and tasty way to ensure adequate intake of omega-3
fatty acids (see directions outlined below). If you prefer, you can purchase
quality flax-seed oils in bottles or in capsules. Just make sure you know
how they are processed! Flora and Omega Nutrition offer good-quality flax
oils in bottles and capsules.
- 'THE GOOD OIL' ON HEALTHIER
- Here are several additional ways to improve
your fatty acid balance and avoid the trans- fat trap:
- ¥ Have some freshly ground flax seeds
every day. Pulverise three tablespoons of seeds in a blender or coffee
grinder to yield about one tablespoon of oil (mixed in with the powder).
This will approximate the suggested daily amount of omega-3 oil for an
average person. It can be mixed with cereal, blended in a smoothie or added
to yoghurt. You can also mix it with warm (not hot) apple juice, and add
some sliced banana or other fruit to make a tasty, nutritious, pudding-like
cereal that's filling and will do wonders for bowel function! Be sure to
consume the ground flax-seeds within 10 to 15 minutes to minimise the damage
from oxidation. However, a note of caution: in doing allergy testing, I
have seen several people (my wife and myself included) who are allergic
to flax seeds, and others who are allergic to psyllium seeds which are
commonly used for their fibre content.
- ¥ Use butter instead of margarine
or shortening in cooking. Butter has some problems, too, such as residual
hormones and pesticides, but it is a whole food. Whole foods have fat-mobilising
nutrients to take care of their own fats if eaten in moderation. If you
want to use butter, try to get organically-produced butter.
- ¥ An even better alternative is the
organic ghee, or clarified butter, mentioned earlier. Ghee is the cooking
fat most highly regarded by Indian and French chefs. It has a good aroma
and will not burn, smoke or develop toxic compounds when heated.
- ¥ Organic, unrefined coconut butter
is an alternative to regular butter in your diet. Omega Nutrition has this
product. However, most other coconut oil products are hydrogenated. Coconut
oil has been subjected to a smear campaign by commercial vegetable oil
producers, but the research studies cited have used hydrogenated coconut
oil, which may have skewed the results.
- ¥ Use olive oil or a 50:50 mixture
of ghee and olive oil. Do not fry or sauté with "polyunsaturated"
light oils such as safflower, sunflower or corn oils. They oxidise readily
into damaging free-radicals at high temperatures. Free radicals are highly
reactive molecules that can tear into your cells and start nasty chain
reactions that can leave behind extensive damage, including alteration
of your genetic code (DNA) and formation of cancer cells. Free radicals
are widely considered to play a major role in degenerative disease. While
there are virtually no EFAs in olive oil, it is rich in "mono-unsaturated"
fatty acids and is not so easily oxidised. Use an "extra virgin, cold-pressed,
first pressing" olive oil, preferably with a greenish colour and some
sediment on the bottom, which usually indicates less processing. Most co-ops
- ¥ If allergic to milk, you can often
substitute a 50:50 mixture of apple sauce and organic, unrefined canola,
sunflower or safflower oil for margarine or butter in recipes, which we
have tried in pie crusts and cakes with great results. We used to substitute
canola oil by itself, but the texture was somewhat drier and a little crumbly.
- ¥ Try non-hydrogenated peanut butter,
available in some grocery stores and all food co-ops. The peanut butter
will separate, with the oil floating to the top of the container. The best
brand is probably Arrowhead Mills. They sun-dry their organic peanuts to
avoid growth of a common mould that produces aflatoxin, which is as toxic
as the name suggests. Most commercial peanuts reportedly have aflatoxin
as well as pesticide residues. Almond or walnut butters contain healthier
fats than peanut butter, without the mould problem. You can find them at
food co-ops and health food stores.
- ¥ Buy your oil in sealed bottles
and avoid the bulk oils in co-ops, since they are usually rancid (free
radicals again). An oil that tastes bitter when you place a drop on your
tongue is rancid and should not be consumed.
- ¥ Always refrigerate your oils after
opening. Unrefined oils are best refrigerated as soon as you buy them,
to prolong their shelf- life. If they are not in lightproof bottles, keep
them out of the light.
- ¥ The greater your intake of unsaturated
fats like vegetable oils and fish oils (EPA/DHA omega-3s), the more you
need antioxidant protection against free-radical damage. If you take supplements
of fish oil or evening primrose oil, or use polyunsaturated oils, consider
taking extra vitamin E. An effective daily dose of vitamin E is about 300
to 400 IUs per day, and "mixed tocopherols" is probably the best
general-purpose form to use. Many studies support its effectiveness in
reducing risk of heart disease, arthritis and other free-radical-related
diseases. Since vitamin C is used to regenerate 'used' vitamin E, supplementing
with 500 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C a day would be prudent as well.
- ¥ The most expensive oils and supplements
cannot fully compensate for an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Use common
sense and consult with a nutritionally-oriented health professional when
you have health concerns. Books by Dean Ornish, M.D.16 and John McDougall,
M.D.17 offer many excellent ideas regarding diet and lifestyle, and I recommend
them for basic dietary information, although their programs tend towards
very low fat intake. However, to ensure adequate EFA intake you should
have some raw, organic nuts and seeds along with high-quality oils (such
as those mentioned above) to supplement these low-fat diets.
- RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS
- There are still holdouts within the 'scientific'
community, particularly those employed or funded by the food industry,
who claim there is not yet sufficient proof that trans- fats are dangerous,
and then cite studies that justify their position. This is the name of
the game in modern-day 'science' where egos and money are involved.
- However, most studies currently appearing
in the literature support the idea that these chemically-altered fats are
harmful. In such cases of conflict, I always side with Mother Nature: she
is much wiser than we will ever be!
- Remember that most of this information
about trans- fats has been known for many years, but processors have succeeded
in keeping the issue out of the public eyeanother example of caveat emptor
(let the buyer beware) in the food industry. Now that you are aware of
it, the rest is up to you! Good luck, and good health!
- 1. Erasmus, Udo, Ph.D., Fats that Heal,
Fats that Kill, Alive Books,
- Burnaby, BC, Canada, 1987, 1993.
- 2. Harvard Health Letter, Summer 1994.
- 3. Jaffe, Russell, M.D., Lipids (audiotape),
- 4. Siguel, Edward, M.D., Ph.D., Essential
Fatty Acids in Health and
- Disease, Nutrek Press, Brookline, MA,
- 5. Rudin, Donald, M.D., and Felix, Clara,
The Omega-3 Phenomenon, Rawson,
- New York, USA, 1987.
- 6. Lipids, March 1996, 31:Suppl:S27982.
- 7. Finnegan, John, N.D., The Facts About
Fats, Celestial Arts Publishing,
- Berkeley, CA, USA, 1993.
- 8. "Deficiency of essential fatty
acids and membrane fluidity during
- pregnancy and lactation", Biochemistry,
Proceedings of the National
- Academy of Sciences, USA, vol. 88, June
- 9. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
- 10. The Lancet, 14 November 1987.
- 11. Circulation, January 1994, 89(1):94-101.
- 12. American Journal of Cardiology, 1993,
- 13. Clinical Science, April 1995, 88(4):375-92.
- 14. Circulation, ibid.
- 15. The Lancet, March 1993, 341(8845):581-5.
- 16. Ornish, Dean, M.D., Dr Dean Ornish's
Program for Reversing Heart
- Disease, Ballantine Books, New York,
- 17. McDougall, John A., M.D., The McDougall
Program, Plume (Penguin
- Books), New York, USA, 1991.
- * Morrison, Robert Thornton, and Boyd,
Robert Neilson, Organic Chemistry,
- Allyn & Bacon, Inc., Boston, USA,
1973, 1979, 3 ed.
- About the Author:
- Dr Dane Roubos, B.Sc., D.C., D.A.B.C.I.,
has been a student of nutrition
- for 25 years, and a practising chiropractor
for the past 14 years. He is a
- Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic
Internists, and currently
- teaches full-time at the Northwestern
College of Chiropractic in
- Minnesota. He is committed to helping
people learn how to live closer to
- the Earth, the spirit and their deeper
- This article was extracted in part from
- vol. 5, nos 10 and 11, 1996, and further
updated by the author.
- Blazing Tattles!,
- PO Box 1073, Half Moon Bay,
- CA 94019 USA.
- Email: <mailto:email@example.com@igc.apc.org
- Extracted from Nexus Magazine,
- Volume 4, #2 (February-March 1997).
- PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia.
- <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
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