The most commonly-used type of oils in the United States and soon to be most nations, are none other than corn and soy oils and other plant-derived oils. These are the most common oils in the diet because these crops represent the monstrosity that is American agribusiness. They are grown cheaply, the government pays subsidies for excess, and the excess has given the food industry a strong impetus to create as much foodlike stuff out of it as possible. It’s a good example of how Capitalism turns to Crapitalism.
Once upon a time there were these things called butter, beef tallow, and lard. These were the types of fats used in every household. Other fats came from naturally-fatty foods that could be easily pressed without complex chemistry, such as olives, nuts, seeds, and coconut. The difference between the fats in all of those listed and that of oils from corn, soy, and other vegetable oils is that vegetable oils are extremely high in Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Although the dogma is that saturated fat is harmful, and that other fats can be considered “healthy fats,” this supposed science is a joke. To begin with, fats high in saturated fats have always been the primary forms of fat in any traditional diet, because saturated fats are most easily-obtained from animal products and coconut. In the case of animal fat, a home cook needs to do nothing more than trim the fat off of any good hunk of meat for a few minutes, and voila, rendered fat that can be used for cooking – either that or just save some bacon grease like grandma did, and grandma’s grandma, and grandma’s grandma’s grandma, and so on.
Times have changed, and as a society we have undergone quite an “oil change.” Although the significance of this massive and unprecedented dietary shift isn’t totally known, many suspicions have arisen.
First of all, to get a sizeable quantity of corn oil from eating good ol’ corn, you’d have to consume tons just to get the same couple of tablespoons in an order of fries. To extract oil from things like corn and soy requires some heavy-duty chemical processing that involves high temperatures and solvents. Many of those fats then undergo a process called hydrogenation which alters the fats from their natural state even more – and damages them even further.
Hydrogenated or not, vegetable oils that are comprised of mostly polyunsaturated fats, are very unstable and easily become oxidized unlike any other type of fat. The result is a substance that acts as a free radical in the body, damaging us on a cellular level, and perhaps even tapping us of very important nutrient reserves of Vitamin E and other antioxidant nutrients that are in short supply as it is. Since most polyunsaturated fats occur only in plants, and in very small quantities, historically the human diet has been very low in polyunsaturated fats no matter what.
Secondly, omega 6 fatty acids are the precursor to the formation of a group of hormones called Eicosanoids that are generated by each one of our 60 trillion cells. Because these oils are consumed in such large quantity, they have the potential to saturate the cell with this type of fatty acid and cause imbalances. What type of imbalances? Omega 6-derived Eicosanoids are responsible for activating the immune system, enhancing inflammation, constricting blood vessels, constricting airways, and countless other functions. This imbalance is potentially a contributing cause of everything from hypertension to hyperallergenicity of the airways (allergies and asthma) to autoimmune disorders. The inflammation component in particular has ties to almost every known chronic illness, as they all share the common root cause of being inflammatory in nature.
The safer bet is to eat oils that make sense for humans to be eating. It’s a safer bet to eat the type of fats eaten for millennia before technological advancement made things like margarine, Smart Balance, Crisco, vegetable oil, and whatever else it is that my countrymen tend to consume in place of real fat. This very important dietary shift away from polyunsaturated fats, this 180 degree turn back to traditional fats that have nourished our species for tens of thousands of years, is the way home. This and more pivotal changes in how you view the current pootritional trends is waiting for you here at www.180degreehealth.com.