How Fats became Unhealthy
I walked into a bakery to see if I could get a sandwich which might resemble something healthy. There on the shelf sat the cookies, pastries and bread and on their label is stated, oleo-margarine and hydrogenated shortening. How can it be? Doesn’t everyone know that those are wrong, evil, deadly? How can it be that these innocent cookies and bread sits on the shelf waiting to silently add to coronary artery disease.
For ten years we, personally have know about the deception that caused food we eat to make us sick and cause disease. Yet, still after ten years I can still walk in a bakery and find this. I had gotten used to seeing soybean oil in nearly every product on the grocery shelf. Soy causes it’s own set of problems. But margarine and shortening should have been outlawed over a century ago.
How did it happen? It would take pages to tell all the Crisco story but I shall highlight a few details. It started at the turn of the twentieth century in 1900.
The Crisco Story
When I Google the story of Crisco, I come across the following articles. The Rise and Fall of Crisco, How marketing trumped Nutrition, Who Killed Lard?, Fascinating Saga of Crisco, and many others. It is not longer one doctor or one research team who has uncovered the Crisco impact on our health today. Let me give a very abbreviated version.
Proctor and Gamble (P&G) made soap and they found a new market when they got into fats. Lard is a major component of soap making. The meat packing companies had a monopoly on the price of lard and tallow. Lard is from pigs, and tallow is from cows. P&G worked to gain control of the cottonseed oil business. By 1905 they owned eight cottonseed mills in Mississippi. Then German chemist Kayser helped P&G develop hydrogenation. Adding hydrogen atoms to the fatty acid chain they made cottonseed oil look like lard.
Electric lights were replacing the need for candles so P&G changed their focus to making this hydrogenated cottonseed oil a food to replace lard. Crisco stands for CRYStalized Cottonseed Oil. CRISCO. When they introduced it to the public it was done by brilliant marketing. They called it “a healthier alternative to cooking with animal fats” “more economical than butter.”
By the 1930s, partially hydrogenated oils were cheap. They were typically made from oil left over after crushing heavily subsidized soybeans to make animal feed.
By the 1940s they found that partially hydrogenated oils had a long shelf life and could be cooked at high temperatures so restaurants changed from animal butter, tallow and lard and went to shortening and new oils.
The serious problem began in late 1957- 1961 when Ancel Keys did his lipid hypothesis and in 1961 when he was on the cover of Time magazine warning readers that saturated fat raised cholesterol and cholesterol caused heart disease. This was the beginning of the “Eat a low fat diet”. Found to be a faulty study, the damage was done and apparently has still not recovered. Saturated fat was made the villain. Trans fats took center stage and we consumed them in great portions in the 1960s, 1970s on into the 1990s.
I remember using lard and changing over to Crisco, when I cooked with my mom in the 50s and 60s. In fact i was so careful to use only Crisco because it was white and pure and make my baked goods come out so great. What we as consumers did not know was that the process to change this oil into solid was partially hydrogenated and a trans fatty acid. I was unknowingly making myself and my family ill.
These fats were advertised as better for you than animal fats, saturated fats, coconut oil and palm oil. In the 1980s coconut oil was replaced in popcorn at movie theaters with new fangled oils touted to be healthier. Fast food restaurants switched to partially hydrogenated oils as “a great boon to Americans’ arteries.”
Money over Nutrition
American Heart Association (AHA) was there from the beginning.They believed the lipid hypothesis, but felt uncertainty about the use of partially hydrogenated oils so they put together a statement, “Partial hydrogenation of polyunsaturated fats results in the formation of trans forms which are less effect…in lower cholesterol concentrations. It should be noted that many currently available shortening and margarine are partially hydrogenated.” Dr Fred Mattson of P&G told AHA to change the statement they had about trans fats where they stated there were a cause of heart disease. So AHA removed it and by altering this statement the public was encouraged to continue using or start using partially hydrogenated fats.
In the 1960s the Edible Oil Industry supervised the AHA, The American Dietetic Association, and the American Heart, Blood, and Lung Association. In the 1970s and 1980s, Mattson held two control positions on the Lipid Research Clinics Trials that lead to the National Cholesterol Education Program.
Money trumped nutrition, health and life.
Studies were found to be found false but the American Medical Association had accepted it. FDA and USDA was ran by people from companies that benefited financially from making these products.
In the 1990s trans fats were found to implicate heart disease so new rules were made about their use. Crisco changed their recipe. They cut the amount of trans fats in one serving to less than .5 gms. When products do that, they can state they have “NO trans fats”. If you eat more than one servings, you are getting trans fats.
Why do Americans think cholesterol needs to be regulated and believe it increases heart disease?
This is a slide from Weston Price, Oiling of America compiling a summary of what the American Heart Associate and the American Medical Association put together as guidelines based on the false lipid hypothesis and pressure from food industry companies. Please click on the link above to read their entire article.
CHOLESTEROL TOO HIGH: Average level of serum cholesterol in most American men and women is undesirably elevated. Important to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
MUST MEASURE CHOLESTEROL: Measurement of cholesterol should be routine in physical examinations, even in early adulthood.
DIETARY ADVICE: Americans in “risk” category should receive “appropriate dietary advice.”
REDUCE SATURATES: Americans in “risk” categories should reduce intake of saturated fat by substituting polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
PROCESSED FOODS: Modified and ordinary foods useful for this purpose should be readily available on the market, reasonably priced and easily identified by appropriate labeling. Any existing legal and regulatory barriers to the marketing of such foods should be removed.
MORE STUDIES: More studies need to be done to determine whether modification of plasma lipids (lowering cholesterol) can reduce CHD.
Food companies fund study after study to try to prove their side. Science strives to find new oils and now they are really into sunflower oil for chips and crackers. Soybean oil is in most foods.
Animal fats have never been proven to cause heart disease.
High cholesterol has not been proven to cause heart disease.
We need our cholesterol checked because years ago, a committee got together and said it was the test to know if we would get heart disease. But those with low cholesterol actually have more overall health problems than those with high.
The hair care industry could have said, Everyone one with short hair are more susceptible to heart disease so make sure you grow your hair long. It is ridiculous right? So are the cholesterol regulations. They built the science they used to set up the guidelines on false information. This science benefited the food industry.
The Hidden Cause of Coronary Artery Disease
Dietary cholesterol eaten from animal fats, coconut oils, palm oil, and eggs are not responsible for hardening arteries.
Cholesterol made from excess sugar does harden arteries. Sugar was added to food to make them taste better when low-fat diet became the norm. Take out one item and replace it with another. The mixture of bad fats and high sugar are the deadly combination causing disease.
Good fats are traditional fats. The kind your great grandparents used. Grass fed butter, animal fats, and cold-pressed traditional oils like olive, flax and sesame. Tropical oils such as palm and coconut. Our bodies require saturated fats. They are NOT solid in our body. We are at 98 degrees, remember.
Do Not use man-made fats, partially hydrogenated fats and the new vegetable oils and animal fats that have been heated over and over. Do not use margarine and hydrogenated fats.
We do not consume polyunsaturated oils, soy, corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed oils. If you use these oils, use them very infrequently.
One of the greatest factors used in the advertising of Crisco, hydrogenated oils and trans fats over animal fats and saturated fats is FEAR. If you can be scared into using something are too scared to use something, their advertising is successful. After using the correct fats for 10 years, we find fear in others to believe or use saturated fats. Yes, they use coconut oil, olive oil and even butter, but lard and tallow still have great fear associated with them.
Be afraid of results from studies funded by food companies and others who have something to gain. We did our own study with our own body. Get brave and try it.