I want to talk about Fat, which is a subject we’ve been fed a line about for the past 60 or 70 years, with devastating consequences. Here’s something I think everyone’s heard by now: (1) partially hydrogenated fats/trans fats are really really bad for you, and (2) the average American eats way too many Omega 6s, and not nearly enough Omega 3’s.
Here’s something you probably haven’t heard though: saturated fats from animal and tropical fruit sources are GOOD FOR US. Saturated fats make up at least 50% of every single cell membrane in our body. (saturated fats make a whole bunch of other things in our body too, and I’m not referencing fat cells.)
I’m going to stick to Margarine and Butter today. Here are the facts.
In the late 1890s, Proctor and Gamble needed an alternative to expensive Lard and Tallow they used to make soap and candles. By 1907, they’d bought 8 cottonseed plants in Mississippi, and their scientists had learned how to fire cottonseed oil with “hydrogenation”. Unfortunately, right around then, electricity was replacing candles. What to do with their hydrogenated cottonseed oil? Well, it looked like Lard, so they decided to sell it as food. Seriously!
In 1911, it was introduced as a healthier, cheaper, and cleaner product than butter or lard. P&G promoted the white vegetable spread in womens magazines and gave away free cookbooks. They branded their new product “Crisco”.
In the 1950s, the Vegetable Oil Industry (by that time it wasn’t just P&G ), spread the word that “animal fats cause heart disease.” Food companies and restaurants quit using coconut oil, butter, and lard, and that is how , waa-laa, Polyunsaturated, Omega 6 loaded, Partially Hydrogenated Trans fats came to be so incredibly prevalent in our food supply.
Here’s how you make Margarine:
“Begin with polyunsaturated, liquid vegetable oil, rancid from extraction under high heat. About 85% of all hydrogenated oils are from soybeans. Mix with tiny metal particles, usually nickel oxide. In a high pressure, high temperature reactor, shoot hydrogen atoms at the unsaturated carbon bonds. Add soap-like emulsifiers and starch to make it soft and creamy. Heat/steam away foul odors, bleach away gray color, dye with artificial dyes, and add artificial flavors.” (Real Whole Food, Nina Planc)
And this ladies and gentlemen, is what we all grew up on. And many people still eat. Do not be fooled at Big Foods latest attempts at healthier margarine’s. They’re still loaded with Omega 6’s and hydrogenated fats (made from Trans Fats). They stay under the FDA allowance of disclosure for trans fats when mixing the ingredients, but they’re in there.
Here’s a little fact: heart disease exploded in the 1950s, but by then US consumption of saturated fats had already declined, and the consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils was much much higher. Before WW1, Americans ate 12 grams of trans fats daily, by 1985, it was 40 grams a day. Today, the average American eats 81 grams of trans fats a day. OMGOSH. By the way, you ONLY get that much by eating processed and refined foods. RWF contain almost 0 trans fats. The average American eats 70% of their diet from processed and refined foods. Processed and Refined foods are LOADED with Trans Fats. (Am I drilling this in enough?). No wonder we’re in such a health crisis.
If you ask the Scientific Experts who study this stuff, which is worse: the Sugar/Carb consumption, or the Hydrogenated Fat consumption, you’ll just get a big argument. And both have plenty of ammunition for their case, because Sugar and Hydrogenated Oils are both bad.
All margarines, and healthy spreads, are composed of trans-fats. What happens when we eat them? Well, these fats are ALWAYS chemically unstable, damaged, and oxidized. Always! Their chemical structure is wrong for our body. But if that’s what we’re eating, our body USES these damaged fats to make up our Cell Membranes. This is Bad Bad Bad! Also, some doctors and chemists refer to Trans Fats as Frankenfats, because they can MORPH healthy fats into an unhealthy structure.
So what about butter? It’s been vilified for decades. Unrightfully so. It’s actually a health food, and there’s PLENTY of science behind that statement. First of all, butterfat helps the body digest protein, and saturated fats help the bones lay down calcium. Cream contains great amounts of fat soluble vitamins A and D. You need D to use Calcium and Magnesium. Butter also has carotenoids and antioxidants. Find butter from grass-fed cows (KerryGold) and you’ll get Omega 3’s, more A, more D, more carotenoids, and more antioxidants. You’ll also get CLA – a fatty acid that has enormous Cancer Fighting potential (CLA comes from grass). All butter also has lecithin ( this does too many jobs to even list), anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and medium chain triglycerides – which encourage fat burning. Butterfat also contains: manganese, zinc, chromium, copper, selenium, and iodine. Butter also contains Butyric Acid, which has strong anti-fungal properties as well as anti-tumor effects.
How in the heck did this become such a Taboo food all these years? Big Food, Big Money.
Again, Eat Real Whole Foods. Pay attention to what you put in your body. What we eat affects our health, our weight, our mind and our moods.