Excerpted from:

11 Charts That Show Everything Wrong with Our Modern Diet

by Dr. Mercola

Three decades ago, the food available was mostly fresh and grown locally. Today, the majority of foods served, whether at home, in school or in restaurants, are highly processed foods, filled with sugars, harmful processed fats, and chemical additives.

During that same time, obesity rates have skyrocketed, and one in five American deaths are now associated with obesity. Obesity-related deaths include those from type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, dementia, and depression, as nearly all have metabolic dysfunction as a common underlying factor.

Abandoning Traditional Fats for Processed Vegetable Oils Has Led to Declining Health

Fats help your body absorb important vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E, and fats are especially important for infants and toddlers for proper growth and development. Moreover, when your body burns non-vegetable carbohydrates like grains and sugars, powerful adverse hormonal changes typically occur. These detrimental changes do not occur when you consume healthy fats or fibrous vegetables.

As explained by Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose in particular is “isocaloric but not isometabolic,” which means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. Furthermore, saturated fats, although supplying more calories, will NOT actually cause you to get fat, nor will it promote heart disease.

Unfortunately, the healthiest fats, including animal fats and coconut oil, both of which are saturated, have been long portrayed as a heart attack waiting to happen. Meanwhile, harmful hydrogenated vegetable oils such as corn and canola oil have been touted as “healthful” alternatives. Ditto for margarine.

Boy, did they get this wrong. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The hydrogenation process creates incredibly harmful trans fats, which the US Food and Drug Administration is now finally considering banning altogether. (I’ll review the health hazards of trans fats in further detail below.) Clearly, switching from lard and grass-fed butter—which contains heart-protective nutrients—to margarine and other trans-fat rich hydrogenated oils was a public health experiment that has not ended well.

Low-Fat Fad Has Done Unfathomable Harm

Conventional recommendations have also called for dramatically decreasing the overall amount of fat in your diet, and this fat aversion is yet another driving factor of metabolic disease and chronic ill health. As I and other nutritional experts have warned, most people (especially if you’re insulin or leptin resistant, which encompasses about 80 percent of Americans) probably need upwards of 50-85 percent of daily calories from healthful fats. This is a FAR cry from the less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fats recommended by the US Department of Agriculture.3 As stated in the featured article:

“The first dietary guidelines for Americans were published in the year 1977, almost at the exact same time the obesity epidemic started. Of course, this doesn’t prove anything (correlation does not equal causation), but it makes sense that this could be more than just a mere coincidence.

The anti-fat message essentially put the blame on saturated fat and cholesterol (harmless), while giving sugar and refined carbs (very unhealthy) a free pass. Since the guidelines were published, many massive studies have been conducted on the low-fat diet. It is no better at preventing heart disease, obesity or cancer than the standard Western diet, which is as unhealthy as a diet can get.”

There’s no telling how many have been prematurely killed by following these flawed low-fat guidelines, yet despite mounting research refuting the value of cutting out fats, such recommendations are still being pushed.

Increased Vegetable Oil Consumption Has Altered Americans’ Fatty Acid Composition

The increased consumption of processed vegetable oils has also led to a severely lopsided fatty acid composition, as these oils provide high amounts of omega-6 fats. The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1:1, but the typical Western diet is between 1:20 and 1:50. Eating too much damaged omega-6 fat and too little omega-3 sets the stage for the very health problems you seek to avoid, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, just to name a few. To correct this imbalance, you typically need to do two things:

  1. Significantly decrease omega-6 by avoiding processed foods and foods cooked at high temperatures using vegetable oils
  1. Increase your intake of heart-healthy animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil

The Dangers of Hydrogenated Soybean Oil

About 95 percent of soy is genetically engineered to have resistance to glyphosate and is loaded with this highly toxic herbicide. But even if you have organic soy, most of it is hydrogenated. Hydrogenated soybean oil has, like sugar, become a major source of calories in the US diet. Americans consume more than 28 billion pounds of edible oils annually, and soybean oil accounts for about 65 percent of it. About half of it is hydrogenated, as soybean oil is too unstable otherwise to be used in food manufacturing. In 1999, soybean oil accounted for seven percent of consumed daily calories in the US.

Part of the problem with partially hydrogenated soybean oil is the trans fat it contains. The other part relates to the health hazards of soy itself. An added hazard factor is the fact that the majority of soybeans are genetically engineered. The completely unnatural fats created through the partial hydrogenation process cause dysfunction and chaos in your body on a cellular level, and studies have linked trans-fats to:

  • Cancer, by interfering with enzymes your body uses to fight cancer
  • Diabetes, by interfering with the insulin receptors in your cell membranes
  • Decreased immune function, by reducing your immune response
  • Reproductive problems, by interfering with enzymes needed to produce sex hormones
  • Chronic health problems such as obesity, asthma, auto-immune disease, cancer, and bone degeneration
  • Heart disease, by clogging your arteries (Among women with underlying coronary heart disease, eating trans-fats increased the risk of sudden cardiac arrest three-fold!)
  • Increase blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, while lowering levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol
  • Interfering with your body’s use of beneficial omega-3 fats

Besides the health hazards related to the trans fats, soybean oil is, in and of itself, NOT a healthy oil. Add to that the fact that the majority of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered, which may have additional health consequences. When taken together, partially hydrogenated GE soybean oil becomes one of the absolute worst types of oils you can consume. Unfortunately, as stated in the featured article:

“[M]ost people don’t have a clue they’re eating this much soybean oil. They’re actually getting most of it from processed foods, which often have soybean oil added to them because it is cheap. The best way to avoid soybean oil (and other nasty ingredients) is to avoid processed foods.”

Read the Full Article here.

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