Trans fatty acids—the FDA takes one step forward and three steps back

Trans fatty acids—the FDA takes one step forward and three steps back

I first warned people against the dangers of trans fats 18 years ago in my book The Milk Book. After ignoring the problem for all those years, the “experts” at the FDA are just now reporting that avoiding trans fats “could save 5,000 lives a year in the U.S.” Let’s see now: 5,000 lives a year times 18 years equals 90,000 deaths-deaths caused by your loving government pandering to and protecting the junk food industry. So do you see why I insist on reminding you occasionally that government regulation is dangerous to your health?

FDA epidemiologist Kathleen Koehler, Ph.D., said to WebMD: “Our studies indicate that removal of just a small percentage of trans fatty acids from our diet would have a very large impact on [heart] disease in this country.” I wonder if the American Heart Association is listening. They have been promoting these same unhealthy trans fats for over 30 years.

The most well-known sources of trans fats are margarine and baked goods made with margarine, but it also lurks in some areas you might not suspect such as peanut butter, crackers, and even TV dinners. In fact, it is estimated that seven out of eight packaged foods contain trans fat. Take a good look at the labels on your food. If there’s any mention of hydrogenated oil or even partially hydrogenated oil, that food contains trans fat. The term “hydrogenated” refers to the process by which trans fats are made: Liquid metal catalysts and hydrogen are added to heated liquid vegetable oils.

So close, yet so far: Trans fats do not equal saturated fats

WebMD Medical News reports: “Some studies have shown that trans fats-fats that have undergone chemical changes to make them solid at room temperature and help them resist spoilage-are as bad as saturated fats in increasing the risk of heart disease.”

Get that: “as bad as...”

The implication is that trans fats are “just as bad” as saturated fat-which is actually good for you. The message should be: artificial saturated fats, such as margarine, are bad for you. Natural saturated fats, such as coconut oil and palm oil, are good for you. And please note that, despite what you’ve been led to believe, animal fats-beef, chicken, lamb, pork-are not saturated fats. Pork, for instance, is only 45 percent saturated.

Back in the ’60s, the dietitians, doctors, and politicians all panicked when it was brought to their attention that most candy, other junk foods, and even baby formula were manufactured with coconut or palm oil. These are the most saturated of the fatty foods. Popular opinion of the time had mistakenly villified saturated fat from meat. So since, in their minds, all saturated fat was bad, immediate action was taken, and these oils disappeared from the shelves of the supermarket and as an ingredient in almost all processed foods. Even health food stores quit carrying them and Hahn, a major producer of oils, stopped production. These healthy oils were replaced by polyunsaturated oils-peanut, soy, corn, canola, etc.-which produce, on heating, trans fatty acids-the actual culprits in the very problems they were trying to avoid!

Now the “experts” are again compounding the confusion.

Nutrition labels are now required to list trans fatty acids. This might sound like a good thing, but the listing is to appear as a footnote under the listing for saturated fat content. So, by equating trans fats with saturated fats, the “powers that be” are still implying that saturated fat is unhealthy.

One of the nutrition experts, Kim Gans, Ph.D. said: “I think placement of the trans fat in the saturated fat category is actually good for consumers, who already have been hearing quite a lot about reducing saturated fats in their diet. This change is something people have been asking for, and I’m glad to see it’sbecome a reality.” [Emphasis added]

Well, like most decrees from the experts, this is just another example of taking one step forward and three steps back. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this expert advice.

Actions to take:

(1) Put plenty of real butter on your food.

(2) Never purchase anything in the super market that says on the label “lite,” “cholesterol-free,” “low cholesterol,” “diet,” “heart healthy,” “fat-free,” or “recommended by the American Heart Association.”

Tracey, Elizabeth. “Removing Trans Fats From Foods Could Save Lives, FDA Says,” WebMD Medical News, 6/6/00