There are a few foods that I tend to denounce as being “unhealthy” these days: 1) Soy because of its anti-thyroid, pro-estrogenic, and anti-digestive properties (GMO or not), 2) Uncooked, raw above ground vegetables due to their high fiber and cellulose content which can slow down bowel transport time (encouraging a feeding and breeding ground for gut bacteria), create inflammation within the intestinal tract due to “poking,” and, of course, cause digestive disturbances, 3) Grains (although some may not be as digestively degrading, such as rice) because of their anti-digestive, pro-inflammatory, pro-allergen, and possible chemical toxicity, and 4) Unsaturated Fats, specifically the existence of any Polyunsaturated variety, because of their high susceptibility to oxidation (exposure to oxygen that can immediately damage the molecular structure), thus creating free-radicals amongst many other immune-suppressing properties (excess estrogen, unstable cell walls, low thyroid response, excess cholesterol levels in the blood, etc.)
Today we’ll focus on Unsaturated Fats from vegetable, seed, and nut oils, and why the H-E-double hockey sticks these stinkin’ things are causing all sorts of dis-eases and cancers despite our being told that “diet doesn’t affect disease” or that “essential fatty acids promote health (hence the name)” or that “saturated fats cause unhealthy cholesterol levels” or that I’m just going to stop there.
The main unsaturated fats involved are found in soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, sesame oil, sunflower seed oil, palm oil, almond oil, and any others that have any sort of high percentage unsaturated fat content on the label. Chemically, the material that makes these oils very toxic is the polyunsaturated fat itself. (Peat) Polyunsaturated fats are extremely unstable due to their more-than-two double bonds characteristic – the greater the amount of double bonds (and a lack of respective binding hydrogen molecules), the greater the unsaturated, the greater the instability, and the greater risk for oxidation. It is rather impossible to completely eliminate Polyunsaturated Fats from the diet because many of the farm-raised animals that we consume are fed a diet of said fats via soy, corn, and other grains, and vegetable oils are the restaurant industry standard when it comes to cooking oil because it’s cheap and chefs are taught (marketed) to use the oils in culinary school. As in humans, animals will use dietary fat for body processes, conversions, and you name it – one such is to replenish the cell wall and structure. In the late 1940′s, chemical toxins were used to suppress the thyroid function of pigs, to make them get fatter while consuming less food. When that was found to be carcinogenic, it was then found that corn and soy beans had the same antithyroid effect, causing the animals to be fattened at low cost. The animals; fat becomes chemically similar to fats in their food, causing it to be equally toxic, and equally fattening. (Peat)
Let’s get into some why’s…
Digestion and Immunity
“All systems of the body are harmed by an excess of these oils. There are two main reasons for this. One is that plants produce the oils for protection, not only to store energy for the germination of the seed. To defend the seeds from the animals that would eat them, the oils block digestive enzymes in the animals’ stomachs. Digestion is one of our most basic functions, and evolution has built many other systems by using variations of that system, as a result, all of these systems are damaged by the substances which damage the digestive system.”
“The enzymes which break down proteins are inhibited by unsaturated fats, and these enzymes are not only for digestion, but also for production of thyroid hormones, clot removal, immunity, and the general adaptability of cells. The risks of abnormal clotting, inflammation, immune deficiency, shock, aging, obesity, and cancer are increased … Since the unsaturated oils block protein digestion in the stomach, we can be malnourished even while ‘eating well.’
Hot vs Cold – Liquid vs Solid – Stable vs Unstable
“The other reason is that the seeds are designed to germinate in early spring, so their energy stores must be accessible when the temperatures are cool, and they normally don’t have to remain viable through the hot summer months. Unsaturated oils are liquid when they are cold, and this is necessary for any organism that lives at low temperatures. For example, fish in cold water would be stiff if they contained saturated fats. These oils easily get rancid (spontaneously oxidizing) when they are warm and exposed to oxygen. When the oils are stored in our tissues, they are much warmed, and more directly exposed to oxygen, than they would be in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidize is very great. These oxidative processes can damage enzymes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy.”
“Seeds contain a small amount of vitamin E to delay rancidity.” (The vitamin is simply used as protection for the plant, just like how humans produce cholesterol or store fat as a protective mechanism. But we’re promoted that the plants, seeds, nuts and their oils contain “nutrients” for human consumption – bullshit!)
“Plants produce many protective substances to repel or injure insects and other animals that eat them. They produce their own pesticides. The oils in seeds have this function. On top of this natural toxicity, the plants are sprayed with industrial pesticides, which can concentrate in the seed oils.”
“All systems of the body are harmed by an excess of these oils. There are three main kinds of damage: one, hormonal imbalances, two, damage to the immune system, and three, oxidative damage.”
All of these points from Ray Peat’s “From PMS to Menopause: Female hormones in context” are something to consider… considering we are told that unsaturated fats are healthy, vegetable oils are healthy, saturated fats are unhealthy, saturated fats increase heart disease, to eat more unsaturated oils, eat more corn, eat more soy, eat more wheat and grains, eat less meat, eat less saturated fat, and so the saga continues. There’s a lot of minor details to go into everything, i.e. saturated fats from commercially raised animals tend to be saturated with toxins, chemicals, and are also coupled with toxic unsaturated fats because of their diets. In that case, yes, saturated fats can be harmful, but that’s no reason to go denouncing or eliminating the very substance that keeps us alive on a daily basis from all of the indigestible and immune suppressing substances we have grown up eating.
If you’d like to discuss this perspective along with other health-related insights, please contact me for a FREE Conversation.