by Bob McCauley, CNC, MH
“A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”
~ Joseph Stalin
Any oil that is partially hydrogenated should never be consumed because it contains trans fats. It is one of the deadliest substances found in processed foods and it operates stealthily, like a cat burglar who steals your most valued possessions at night while you sleep. The purpose of hydrogenation is to solidify the oil so that it can be made to resemble foods such as butter. It gives processed foods the desired texture that real foods have. Trans fats can double the size of a processed food such as a candy bar for little additional cost as well as dramatically increase the shelf life of the food. The reason a prepackaged snack cakes are still spongy after a year of sitting on a shelf is because they contain trans fats.
It was believed for years that margarine is healthier than butter, but the discovery of the deleterious effects trans fats have on our health has called that into question. I suggest you consume neither of them because both are quite harmful to the body in their own way. Trans fats are in nearly all processed pre-packaged foods such as commercially sold cookies, potato chips, frozen foods, bread, dinner rolls, etc. The average person in the US consumes 10 – 13 grams of trans fat each day. Check the label for partially hydrogenated oil and avoid the “foods” that contain them.
In the hydrogenation process, vegetable oil is placed under high pressure with hydrogen gas at 250 – 400° F for several hours in the presence of catalysts such as nickel, platinum, aluminum[i] and other heavy metals that have been implicated in various brain diseases including bipolar and other dementia-related diseases.[ii] This process does not control where the hydrogen atoms are added to the unsaturated double bonds of the fat molecules. Randomly adding hydrogen atoms to polyunsaturated fats converts natural food components into numerous compounds, some that had never been seen before until partially hydrogenated fats were invented. This reveals how processing foods changes them into substances that no longer remotely resemble natural whole foods that are recognized by the body. Trans fats have been scientifically linked to many health problems including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis,[iii] immune system compromise, compromised reproduction and lactation, as well as cancer itself.[iv]
“Dr. Ancel Keys had originally claimed that the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils with their trans fatty acids were the culprits in heart disease. This was in 1958, and the edible oils industry was very swift in their squelching of that information; they shifted the emphasis to “saturated” fat and started the phony attack on meat and dairy fats.”[v]
Trans fatty acids are chemically altered substances in the same way that microwaved foods are chemically altered, although trans fats are much more dangerous. Their shape does not fit the natural shape of our bodily enzymes and membrane structures, thus they do not allow the body to function naturally as it should. The melting point of trans fats is higher (111°F), which makes them solid at both room and body temperature. Thus they are sticky rather than liquid, which causes blood platelets to clump together. This inability of trans fats to disperse increases the chances of a blood clot causing poor circulation, strokes and heart attacks.
Natural fat burns at 100°F. When we bring the body temperature to 100°F or higher through exercise we burn fat. Death occurs in humans when the body temperature rises above 109°F, thus trans fats cannot be burned by the body because their melting point is 111°F. The only way to rid the body of trans fats is to detoxify them, which is far more difficult than simply burning them off through exercise.
Trans fats interfere with electrical conductivity in the body because of their odd shape. They can be compared to a spark plug that has too large a gap that causes an engine to misfire. These odd shapes that don’t belong in the body interfere with energy flow because the precise structural configurations of trans fat molecules are radically altered beyond their natural state. This is why all drugs have side-effects and why any artificial substance we put in the body should be considered a toxin. They are oddly shaped, deformed molecules that interfere with natural functions in the body. Trans fats cause disease because of their unnatural molecular shapes and the drugs that are supposed to cure us only worsen our health for the same reason.
It is paramount that the molecular shape of substances we put the body match those that belong in the body. Nothing artificial exactly matches what is found in nature at a molecular level. The chemical formula may look the same on paper, but in reality we cannot reproduce anything exactly the way nature made it.
Trans fats interfere with the production of prostaglandin, which regulates blood pressure, kidney function, immune system response and blood clotting. They can lead to atherosclerosis by increasing cholesterol and blood-fat levels, in part because they interfere with EFAs nutritional effectiveness in the body. Trans fats have a tendency to collect in the brain because of its sponge-like quality. The damage trans fats can potentially cause to the brain is immeasurable.
“The fact that trans fatty acids interfere with vital functions of essential and other highly saturated fatty acids makes their involvement in cancer likely.” [vi]
The change in a fat molecule when it is converted from a normal, healthy cis fat to a trans fat molecule is minuscule, but its negative effects on the body are profound. Trans fats affect the permeability of the cell’s membrane, preventing certain nutrients from entering while allowing other nutrients to leak out of the cell. The harmful effects of trans fats can be reversed in part by the natural unsaturated fat found in raw fruits, vegetable, nuts and seeds. However, it is best to avoid them to begin with since ridding their ill effects on our body is a difficult task indeed.
[i] Aluminum is also found in processed cheese, antacids, baking powder, pickling salts, antiperspirants, vaginal douches, cake mixes, salt, food starch modifiers, self-rising flour, soft drinks and other acidic liquids sold in cans. Aspirin is commonly buffered with aluminum hydroxide, aluminum glycinate and other aluminum compounds. Aluminum has been suspected in the development of dementia (senility), osteoporosis and even cancer.
[ii] Neurotoxicity, Vol 3, 1982, p.93-99.
Neurotoxicology, Vol 2, 1981, p.347-353; Stemmer, K., et al.
Brain Research, Vol 197, 1980, p. 269-274.
Biochemical Pharmacology, Vol 30, 1981, p.3123-3125.
[iii] A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 1990, showed that trans fatty acids increase total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL), thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
[iv] Several studies have been done at the University of Maryland that link trans fats to cancer and other diseases.
[v] Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. She is a nutritionist/biochemist of international renown for her research on the nutritional aspects of fats and oils, is a consultant, clinician, and the Director of the Nutritional Sciences Division of Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland. She received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park.
[vi] Fats that Heal. Fats that Kill, by Udo Erasmus, p111. 1986.