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Information on Oils and Fats Can be Wrong

Most health advisers now recommend olive oil because it is not easily oxidized. However one Health Letter says it is inferior to corn oil soybean oil and other salad oils because it doesn’t contain omega-6 fatty acids. What?

The American diet already has way too much omega-6 oils, often twenty times as much as the omega-3 oils from fatty fish or flax seed. Ideally it would be a one to one ratio or at most three to one. You could get this from eating nuts. Excess omega-6 oils can become excess arachidonic acid which harms the immune system. Dr. Bob Arnot in his book for the breast cancer survivor advises against any omega-6 oils as well as no sugar to prevent a recurrence of the cancer

Canola oil, another mono-unsaturated oil might not be as healthy as olive oil because it is from a field crop, rape seed. This might contain insecticides. Cotton seed oil should always be avoided because of the many insecticides used in growing cotton. It was one of the first oils hydrogenated to make margarine. When the medical community finally accepted that hydrogenated oils made harmful trans-fats the oil companies kept markets by selling more salad oils. Oils and fats can absorb insecticides. Olive trees have existed for hundreds of years without insecticides.

A reader of another Health Letter asks the question: Are trans-fats from animals as bad as those from oils? Animals produce natural saturated fats, not trans-fats. Animal fats have been used by humans for millennia and caused no harm. Only in the last sixty years have they become harmful—because of their content of insecticides and other toxic substances especially when animals are raised in factory farms.

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Does Avoiding Fat Lead to Consuming Sugars?

In the 1970s Nathan Pritikin condemned all fats, even those in avocados and olives, as leading to heart disease. Manufacturers started making low-fat foods. To make them tasty they added more sugars. About that time high-fructose corn syrup was sold to food and beverage companies as a cheaper, sweeter alternative to table sugar. In 1970 the average American was using 100 pounds of sugar a year. By 2005 it was 150 pounds of sweeteners, especially high-fructose corn syrup. Obesity started and now a third of both adults and children are too fat.

Dr. Robert Lustig, professor at UCSan Francisco, in the Journal Nature says that sugar should be regulated as a toxin. Besides obesity it causes diabetes and the risk of heart disease and a fatty liver. Dr. Lustig says that 75% of health care costs are related to these faulty American diets.

American consumers think that eating fat makes you fat so they even buy low-fat milk for their growing children. Even most doctors have forgotten that fat globules are absorbed from the intestine by special lymphatic vessels that bypass the liver and go to the heart. Heart muscle prefers to burn this concentrated source of energy. Fat is used by other active muscles in both adults and children. Young mammals need fat to grow. When children don’t get whole milk their bodies crave more calories. They would rather drink sweet chocolate milk than plain low-fat milk. It’s an easy step to sweet soft drinks.

Even so-called energy drinks can cause obesity without vigorous exercise. When will a fitness expert finally realize that fat is an energy food? Stores of body fat of 10-15% can keep a runner going all day. He won’t have to rely on drinking more sugars every hour to keep up his energy. Eating fat a few hours before a race and then maintaining body fat afterward would make more sense than carbo-loading. It will also set a good example for young athletes and other children who use energy drinks. Eating fat will prevent the craving for sweets.

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