Essential Fatty Acids - Lost their Balance

And We have Lost our Minds - Literally!

Gradually, we human beings have lost 10% of our brains over the last 100 years. 100 years! Now that's scary. I don't want to look like a Neanderthal do you?

I've already written about the population growth in the 19th-century and the explosive growth of North American farms (bread basket to the world) to feed the masses in the 20th-century. Then there was the development of chemicals to preserve the food long enough to get it to the consumer. Guess what? Human error along the way has landed us in deep trouble. So deep that it's getting emotionally difficult to read a paper or watch the news. Every day there is another tragedy unfolding.

If I tune into the news, I do so to be sure the world is still there. If U.S. politics is still the only news being yapped about, then at least, there's nothing worse. I'm sure the Americans can continue to run their own country just fine.

Let's go back to Neanderthal Ned. He had to be aware of tigers and other animals bigger than he (plus his club) but I expect the tigers came by food fairly easily and left him alone most of the time. So old Ned just spent his days hunting, fishing and gathering flora to eat. It was like a perpetual back-to-nature vacation. Stress was only an occasional experience. (Fright-flight reaction).

We Lost Our EFA Balance

This continued on through great civilizations: Egyptian - Greek - Roman - European - North American, until the last 100-150 years. There was a big regression in population from pestilence and environment causing communicable diseases like plague, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid, TB, measles, chicken pox, diarrhea, etc, but man dealt with the problems. Then what happened? We lost our balance... our Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) balance.

As food was shipped to feed the expanding population, man tried to save the rotting meats, the souring milk, the rancid fats, so he invented refrigeration, homogenizing and shortening and margarine. At the dawn of the 20th-century, to preserve the shelf-life of oils, they heated them. This saturated the gaps in the cis fat molecules with hydrogen atoms (hydrogenation) and created Trans-fats. The curved oil molecule became straight and was much more stable with a much longer shelf life. Margarine looked like Crisco and was sold in a plastic-like clear bag with a yellow tablet of dye visible on the side. It wasn't allowed to be sold looking like butter. I remember in 1940 at my Aunt's house (my Father wouldn't let margarine into our house), my cousin and I took turns kneading the package to color the margarine so it would look as appetizing as butter. It was exhausting work for a kid. It didn't taste like butter to me. And it still doesn't taste like butter to me today.

A couple of weeks ago I went to eat at a well-known restaurant in Vancouver, BC. The waiter plopped the bread on the table along with a tiny bowl of whipped "butter". I asked, "Is that butter?" The waiter replied proudly, "Oh, yes, it is our whipped butter." So I spread it on my bread and took a bite. Something wasn't right with the flavor. It didn't taste like butter. I pressed the waiter to ask the chef. Finally he came back and said, "Well, actually, it is a soy-based butter." What! So here the restaurant serves mostly beef and they have the nerve to serve margarine and try and pass it off as real butter? Did I mention I have an allergy to soy?

But throughout the last half of the 20th-century we were all told to eat margarine instead of butter until we learned that the Trans-fats in margarine were at least as bad as the saturated fats in butter and didn't have the nutrients that butter has. The body cells try to use these stiff Trans-fat molecules but they cause cell membranes to leak and allow toxins to enter causing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Margarines can contain up to 60% Trans-fats. Baked goods can contain up to 30% Trans-fats. Holland banned Trans-fats years ago.

The food oil industry grew strong enough to prevent the US National Academy of Science from warning about Trans-fats in their Handbook of Recommended Dietary Allowances. But there is strong evidence against Trans-fats in medical journals. Do you read medical journals? I do - zzzzzzzzzzzzz. It's suitably buried.

However, people are quickly becoming aware that Trans-fats are not good for them. Even on the chips package it says "O TRANS FAT." Now, THAT'S FUNNY!

From a newspaper item in July, I learned that in June 2007, Ottawa recommended that the total Trans-fat content of processed food should not exceed 2% of the total fat content of that food. A Trans-fat Monitoring Program was launched by Health Canada in December 2007 which stated, "Abide by the recommendations in 2 years (by December 2009) or there will be a law to eliminate Trans-fat in Canadian foods."

Some products still have 17 grams and some donuts still contain up to 56 grams. Trans-fats are still being used to increase the shelf-life of oils on supermarket shelves. Things are going to go bad, folks! Starting in 1955 warnings against Trans-fats were published repeatedly but no one paid attention. They were too distracted by the ads proclaiming their benefits.

When I was a kid, a chocolate bar melted on my fingers before I could eat it all. My mother struggled to keep my clothes clean. Now chocolate is "clean" because it doesn't melt in your hands -- it's made from Trans-fatty acids. Who won?

Commercially baked goods, candy, salad dressings, and fried fast foods contain 30-50% Trans-fats. Food manufacturers use unpalatable cheap oils such as cottonseed, palm, canola or soy, refine them with heat to make the oil neutral in taste and make lots of money.

Reject products that say hydrogenated, modified, fractionated, or partly hydrogenated vegetable oil on the label. Sometimes they use the term "saturated fats" to mislead us further.

Healthy Fats | Why do foods cause stress | Trans Fats vs Healthy Fats | Butter Stresses Not Thy Body | Essential Fats Lost their Balance | What are Essential Fats? | Balancing the Omega Fats | Essential Fish Advice | Fish oil 'makes you happier' | Eggsactly! | Do all you can | Bibliography

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