Sat, Jan-17-04, 22:34
Plan: Paleo 99.5%
Location: San Diego, CA
Oh wow! I happened to buy a jar of coconut oil on a whim, then I looked up coconut oil to see why this oil was supposed to be good (it's about 100% saturated fats) and finding a lot of stuff about it. I'm thinking the saturated fat thing is another example of junk science.
Here's an excerpt, which slams CSPI
III. ORIGINS OF THE ANTI-SATURATED FAT AGENDA
The coconut industry has suffered more than three decades of abusive rhetoric from the consumer activist group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), from the American Soybean Association (ASA) and other members of the edible oil industry, and from those in the medical and scientific community who learned their misinformation from groups like CSPI and ASA. I would like to review briefly the origins of the anti-saturated fat, anti-tropical oil campaigns and hopefully give you some useful insight into the issues.
When and how did the anti-saturated fat story begin? It really began in part in the late 1950s, when a researcher in Minnesota announced that the heart disease epidemic was being caused by hydrogenated vegetable fats. The edible oil industry's response at that time was to claim it was only the saturated fat in the hydrogenated oils that was causing the problem. The industry then announced that it would be changing to partially hydrogenated fats and that this would solve the problem.
In actual fact, there was no change because the oils were already being partially hydrogenated, and the levels of saturated fatty acids remained similar, as did the levels of the trans fatty acids. The only thing that really changed was the term for hydrogenation or hardening listed on the food label.
During this same period, a researcher in Philadelphia reported that consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids lowered serum cholesterol. This researcher, however, neglected to include the information that the lowering was due to the cholesterol going into the tissues, such as the liver and the arteries. As a result of this research report and the acceptance of this new agenda by the domestic edible oils industries, there was a gradual increase in the emphasis on replacing "saturated fats" in the diet and on the consuming of larger amounts of the "polyunsaturated fats." As many of you probably know, this strong emphasis on consuming polyunsaturates has backfired in many ways: the current adjustments being recommended in the U.S. by groups such as the National Academy of Sciences replace the saturates with monounsaturates instead of with polyunsaturates and replace polyunsaturates with monounsaturates.
Early promoters of the anti-saturated fat ideas included companies such as Corn Products Company (CPC International) through a book written by Jeremiah Stamler in 1963, with the professional edition published in 1966 by CPC. This book took some of the earliest pejorative stabs at the tropical oils. In 1963, the only tropical fat or oil singled out as high in saturated fats was coconut oil. Palm oil had not entered the U.S. food supply to any extent, had not become a commercial threat to the domestic oils, and was not recognized in any of the early texts. An observation by the editorial staff of Consumer Reports noted that
"...in 1962...one writer observed, the average American now fears fat (saturated fat, that is) 'as he once feared witches.'"
In 1965, a representative of Procter and Gamble told the American Heart Association to change its Diet/Heart statement, removing any reference to the trans fatty acids. This altered official document encouraged the consumption of partially hydrogenated fats. In the 1970s, this same Procter and Gamble employee served as nutrition chairman in two controlling positions for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Lipid Research Clinic (LRC) trials and as director of one of the LRC centers. These LRC trials were the basis for the 1984 NIH Cholesterol Consensus Conference, which in turn spawned the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). This program encourages consumption of margarine and partially hydrogenated fats, while admitting that trans should not be consumed in excess. The official NCEP document states that "...coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil...should be avoided..."
In 1966, the U.S. Department of Agriculture documents on fats and oils talked about how unstable the unsaturated fats and oils were. There was no criticism of the saturated fats. That criticism of saturated fat was to come later to this agency when it came under the influence of the domestic edible fats and oils industry, and when it developed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. These Dietary Guidelines became very anti-saturated fat and remain so to this day. Nevertheless, as we will learn later in my talk, there has started some reversal of the anti-saturated fat stance in the works in this agency in 1998.
In the early 1970s, although a number of researchers were voicing concerns about the trans fats, the edible oil industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were engaging in a revolving-door exchange that would (i) promote the increasing consumption of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, (ii) would condemn the saturated fats, and (iii) hide the trans issue. As an example of this "oily" exchange, in 1971 the FDA's general counsel became president of the edible oil trade association, and he in turn was replaced at the FDA by a food lawyer who had represented the edible oil industry.
From that point on, the truth about any real effects of the dietary fats had to play catch-up. The American edible oil industry sponsored "information" to educate the public, and the natural dairy and animal fats industries were inept at countering any of that misinformation. Not being domestically grown in the U.S., coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil were not around to defend themselves at that time. The government agencies responsible for disseminating information ignored those protesting "lone voices," and by the mid-1980s, American food manufacturers and consumers had made major changes in their fats and oils usage -- away from the safe saturated fats and headlong into the problematic trans fats.
Enig and Fallon (1998/1999) have reviewed the above history in "The Oiling of America" published in the Australian magazine Nexus. The magazine has placed this review on the internet and it can be viewed or downloaded from the Nexus website. The internet addresses for the websites are http://www.peg.apc.org/~nexus/OilingAmerica.1.html and http://www.peg.apc.org/~nexus/OilingAmerica.2.html
Harrumph! It gets worse:
VII. COMPARISON OF SATURATED FATS WITH THE TRANS FATS
The statement that trans fatty acids are like saturated fatty acids is not correct for biological systems. A listing of the biological effects of saturated fatty acids in the diet versus the biological effects of trans fatty acids in the diet is in actuality a listing of the good (saturated) versus the bad (trans).
When one compares the saturated fatty acids and the trans fatty acids, we see that
(1) saturated fatty acids raise HDL cholesterol, the so-called good cholesterol, whereas the trans fatty acids lower HDL cholesterol (Mensink and Katan 1990, Judd et al 1994);
(2) saturated fatty acids lower the blood levels of the atherogenic lipoprotein [a], whereas trans fatty acids raise the blood levels of lipoprotein [a] (Khosla and Hayes 1996, Hornstra et al 1991, Clevidence et al 1997);
(3) saturated fatty acids conserve the elongated omega-3 fatty acids (Gerster 1998), whereas trans fatty acids cause the tissues to lose these omega-3 fatty acids (Sugano and Ikeda 1996);
(4) saturated fatty acids do not inhibit insulin binding, whereas trans fatty acids do inhibit insulin binding;
(5) saturated fatty acids are the normal fatty acids made by the body, and they do not interfere with enzyme functions such as the delta-6-desaturase, whereas trans fatty acids are not made by the body, and they interfere with many enzyme functions such as delta-6-desaturase;
(6) some saturated fatty acids are used by the body to fight viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, and they support the immune system, whereas trans fatty acids interfere with the function of the immune system.
My thought at this point is people are trying to manipulate the food industry and government to force us to eat what is most profitable to them. So my gut instinct is to disbelieve everyone until there are better studies done that aren't sponsered by industry.
So... I eat what I think is right: A mixture of fats that I think are healthful and tasty. That includes lots of saturated fats, coconut oil, butter and try to get omega's in my diet too. It's sort of like praying to all the gods and hoping that one of them is listening.
Last edited by Nancy LC : Sat, Jan-17-04 at 22:44.