It is official. Last week the FDA issued a press release stating that most foods in your local grocery store are no longer on the GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) list.
Given that (according to Marketplace news) “…processed foods are, plus or minus, 70 percent of what most of us eat,” the FDA’s current release is very big news indeed.
And yet, no one is talking about it, reporting on it, or warning the public about these foods. We’re far too busy posting cute cat photos and sharing links about Caitlyn’s transformation to be concerned about 70% of the foods we eat.
Oil Types and Factory Processing
Up until last week, PHOs (partially hydrogenated oils), were considered safe for public consumption by food safety governing bodies. The only people who warned against these foods were dieticians and scientists who had your best health in mind; sadly most of them have been chastised and labeled as “health nuts” for the last two decades.
While the governing bodies did tell us to steer clear of trans fats – mandating that packaged foods be clearly labeled – they’ve never released a report on ATF (artificial trans fats) until now.
To get you up to speed on all this terminology:
- Trans Fats are the result of hydrogenating oils. Food companies make trans fats by pumping hydrogen into a vegetable oil, which turns them into solids and makes them shelf-stable.
- Artificial Trans Fats are made from the same vegetable oil, only it has been partially hydrogenated (aka PHOs) to a solid form, making them shelf-stable as well.
For the record, just because a food product can sit on the shelf without spoiling for 6 months to one year, does not make it healthy for your body. These fats and oils have been so far removed from nature that our bodies don’t even recognize them as food or nutrients.
Why Is Hydrogenation Harmful To Health
PHOs, ATFs, Trans Fats – whatever you choose to call them – they all have the same harmful effect on your health. They all can result in chronic disease and ailments such as obesity, heart disease, memory loss, Alzheimers and potentially cancer. Lesser damage from consuming these fats is hormonal imbalances and inhibition of insulin receptors; all while stifling immune system response and leaving you vulnerable to a much wider incidence of ailments and disease.
While you may wonder where the proof of these claims might be, it isn’t hard to see the connection once you understand how our bodies process foods and why natural foods are the only solution to proper nutrition.
According to Dr. Sears, “Franken-fats have abnormally shaped molecules that interfere with your cells’ ability to metabolize omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. And shortages of these essential fatty acids make you vulnerable to cancer, diabetes and heart disease.”
Dr. Sears (and other medical professionals) will tell you what the FDA won’t; trans fats contain rancid oils that generate oxidative stress reactions, damaging arterial walls. When this happens in our bodies, our immune systems send the stickiest form of LDL cholesterol with calcium to repair the damage.
The repair is not a standard apoptic response whereby damaged arterial cells are replaced, they are instead patched. To patch the damage, blood cholesterol has to oxidize and the calcium must harden. This natural body process accelerates atherosclerosis.
Finally, if we continue to consume PHOs, ATFs, and hydrogenated fats, our HDL levels decrease. HDL cholesterol is our only natural response that could clean away the sticky LDL-calcium patch once the arteries have been mended.
The Foods Involved In The Latest FDA Release
If you don’t know which foods include PHOs, ATFs or Trans Fats, please allow me to clarify.
Practically every food that has more than two ingredients in the box, container, plastic wrapping, glass jar, foil package, or tetra pak. You can’t trust the nutrition table to disclose the truth, which I’ll cover in a later article, you must look at the ingredients for PHOs. If you spot them I want you to ask yourself, “Is this worth dying over?”
Since you’ll never see the label “Contains PHOs,” here’s what to look for: oil. That’s it, that’s all you have to look for. Oil. Once you see any type of oil in the ingredient list, put the product back on the shelf. It is also worthy of note that every dietary oil made in North America is made from a GMO plant including cottonseed, canola, and soy.
The only oil that is now safe for consumption is “virgin” oil – which is unlikely to be found because virgin oils don’t have much of a shelf life and the reason why food manufacturers don’t use them. Vegetable oils cannot be stabilized for the shelf (or dairy section) without hydrogenation. Hydrogenated oils – fully or partially hydrogenated – are trans fats.
You’ll find them in margarine. All breads (even specialty bakery breads) and baked goods. Mayonnaise. Salad dressings. Canned pasta sauces. Many soups. Peanut butter. Cake mixes. Greek yogurt dip. Even instant mashed potatoes. Even those cute little jars of marinated artichoke hearts and pickled vegetables.
Stay Healthy: Avoid Processed Oils
To live your best possible life, do not buy foods with an unnatural shelf life.
If a nutritional therapist or any diet consultant has told you that you must shop the outer aisles of the grocery store, or only eat natural fresh foods, thank them. They’re not being obsessive. They’re being fastidious because they care about your health. And finally, the FDA agrees.
Marketplace: “Processed foods make up 70 percent of the U.S. diet” (March, 2013) http://www.marketplace.org/topics/life/big-book/processed-foods-make-70-percent-us-diet
FDA: “The FDA takes step to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods” (June 2015) http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm451237.htm