How could "trans fat" possibly be "bad?"

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by montygram, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. montygram

    montygram Guest

    All the "bad news" is based on "correlations" and "associations."
    There was quite a bit of investigation into "trans fat" a few decades
    ago, and those studies did not find the major health risks being
    claimed for "trans fat" today (see "Modern Nutrition in Health and
    Disease" (by Shils and Young, 7th edition, or "Diet and Health" by the
    National Research Council, for example).

    If claims about "trans fat" are to be taken seriously, they need to be
    rooted in science. Would you avoid a food because a local religious
    fantatic told you not to eat it because he received a message from
    God? If you would, you can stop reading this post now.

    So how can we define "trans fat" in a scientific way? It's possible,
    but only in an abstract way that is unrelated to health. For example,
    you need to have a fat source that has some unsaturated fatty acids in
    it to begin with. Then you force hydrogen into at least some of the
    double bonds, creating an artificially saturated one. So let's say you
    have a highly unsaturated oil, safflower oil. Now you do a very light
    hydrogenation, and only convert a very small number of the double bonds
    into saturated ones. Is this now "trans fat?" It's effects on your
    body will be nearly identical to the safflower oil, with one exception:
    you may have stripped all the natural antioxidant protection from that
    oil (if it hadn't already been by the "refining" process, that is).
    Now let's take another example: you take a fat source like coconut oil,
    which is 92% saturated, and using hydrogenation, make it into 93%
    saturated. Is this now a "trans fat?" It may be, but it is irrelevant
    in terms of health, unless there is a toxic nickel content at this
    point (nickel is used in the hydrogenation process).

    You should be asking yourself, "why haven't experiments been done that
    control for all these variables, and also contro for different
    hydrogenation percentages?" The answer is not easy, and probably
    involves politics, sociology, economics, and psychology, but clearly,
    the scientific method is being ignored here. So let's say you
    hydrogenate half of the double bonds in the fat source. Would that be
    like eating about half your fat calories from coconut oil and half from
    safflower oil? On the molecular level, is there any difference? And
    isn't that very similar to what most Americans are eating, in terms of
    the kinds of fatty acids molecules, regardless of whether it is called
    "trans fat" or not?

    There is a key difference. If you were to use fresh, unrefined
    safflower oil, and eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods with it, you
    would doing something a lot less unhealthy than someone who eats
    "processed" foods that have preservatives that basically stop working
    when they are in your mouth as you are eating them. That can be
    measured scientifically, and often is (such tests are Rancimat and
    ORAC, for example).

    There is no argument on this point, for example:

    "...reducing the proportion of unsaturated fatty acids which are at
    risk of oxidation creates shortening that is less likely to turn
    rancid. For example, a typical candy bar might have a shelf life of 30
    days without use of hydrogenated oils, while the same product with
    hydrogenated oils can last up to 18 months."

    Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/trans-fatty-acid

    It is also known that people who consume large amounts of coconut
    product have very low rates of "chronic disease." So it's not an issue
    of double bonds by themselves, but double bonds AND a lack of
    antioxidant protection, and that is the "killer combination" that
    exists in most of the foods that are said (by the "experts") to contain
    "trans fat."
    Otherwise, how could it be "dangeorus?" The same bonds are in all fat
    sources. We know coconut oil is fine, and it is highly saturated. We
    know that most "experts" are saying you need to eat quite a bit of
    fatty acids that have double bonds. "Trans fat" has an amount of
    double bonds that is close to olive oil, which is being touted by the
    "experts" as the "healthiest" oil. As I've said in other posts, low
    quality olive oil is very bad news, whereas the highest quality olive
    oil is fine, but don't heat it or eat it if it has a rancid taste to
    it. Why? Because if there are a lot of double bonds, they need to be
    protected with antioxidants, and the high quality olive oil will have
    quite a bit of squalene, which is a potent antioxidant, whereas the low
    quality olive oil may have none by the time it reaches your mouth.

    Many "experts" are talking about "trans fat" as if it is something from
    a science fiction movie: "mutant fat from mars." If you don't
    understand or "believe" me, do your own experiment: get some mice and
    feed half of them the cheapest vegetable oil you can find, along with a
    standard "chow" that is low fat or no fat. Feed the other half a
    "trans fat" source such as "partially hydrogenated" palm kernel oil.
    The fat should be around 25-30% of daily calories. See which group
    lives longer.

    A new fat source, consisting of fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil
    blended with "vegetable oil" that is highly unsaturated is now being
    marketed as "trans fat free." If my argument is correct, this fat
    source should be no better than existing the existing major "trans fat"
    sources, like margarines. Again, if you were to give half of a group
    of animals the new concotion, and the other half the old "trans fat"
    laden margarines, there should be little if any difference, unless one
    of them has a significanly higher amount of antioxidants. So first the
    Rancimat test could be run on these two fat sources. If the Rancimat
    tests were about the same, then you could do the experiment on the
    animals. Accoriding to the "experts" who are raging against "trans
    fat," the animals on the new concoction should live longer and
    healthier lives. According to my argument, there should be little
    difference, though the new concoction may actually be less healthy
    (this has to do with a tangential issue, so I won't go into it here).

    Again, you should be asking yourself, "why won't these 'experts' do
    such simple and inexpensive experiments that would be conclusive?"

    I don't know, but now, for a hundred dollars or so (the mice would cost
    about $10 for a bunch of them), you could do it yourself and find out.
     
    Tags:


  2. On 10 Feb 2006 20:17:43 -0800, "montygram" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"...reducing the proportion of unsaturated fatty acids which are at
    >risk of oxidation creates shortening that is less likely to turn
    >rancid. For example, a typical candy bar might have a shelf life of 30
    >days without use of hydrogenated oils, while the same product with
    >hydrogenated oils can last up to 18 months."
    >
    >Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/trans-fatty-acid


    What is a "typical candy bar"? And why would you use such a silly example? I
    realize that the website used the example but you used it also signifying that
    you agree with it.

    Ora
     
  3. montygram

    montygram Guest

    It was an example of the danger: lipid peroxidation. If you used a fat
    source that was 100% saturated, it would last for months, at least. I
    have had bottles of coconut oil that I stored about 2 years, and it had
    no antioxidants added to it - no additives of any kind. When I opened
    it up, it still tasted like it was fresh. This was the Coconut Oil
    Supreme brand, which I got on a web site, for those interested (I have
    no affiliation with them, and actually I now buy the cheap local stuff,
    because I only use it to "butter up" pans for bread baking). This
    example shows that even when highly unsaturated fat sources have been
    partially hydrogenated, you still have to worry about them "going bad"
    after a mere 30 days.

    Again, if you don't understand it all, you don't have to - just do the
    simple and inexpensive experiment and see for yourself.
     
  4. montygram

    montygram Guest

    I should also mention that I do agree with this poster in that the
    statement is problematic because it is true that a product made with
    partially hydrogenated palm kernel or coconut oil will last a long
    time, whereas a much more unsaturated oil that is minimally
    hydrogenated will not last nearly as long, so there should be more
    precision in the statement. As I said, that was not why I cited it.
    Rather, I have argued for a different kind of "nutritional science" -
    one that examines what is happening at the molecular level, as well as
    in actual diets, as opposed to making up abstract, misleading
    categories like "saturated fat," "trans fat," "fiber," etc.

    Another point worth making is that the early studies on "trans fat"
    found that it raised total and LDL cholesterol, while lowering HDL or
    having little efffect. This is only "bad" if your cholesterol has been
    damaged by oxidation. If not, "high" LDL and TC is healthy, if by that
    is meant TC in the 200-220 range, for example (as Ancel Keys himself
    pointed out in 1979, if not earlier). You can read books like "Heart
    Failure," "The Cholesterol Conspiracy," "Saturated fat may save your
    life," and "The Cholesterol Myths" to see how the evidence is
    misunderstood, though some of these authors are unaware of the key
    point about how cholesterol is damaged by free radicals (or at least
    they were not aware when the books were published).

    As an aside, I must say this new google feature that allows one to rate
    posts is excellent. Now, instead of having to hear the same people
    make the same remarks (that I have refuted over and over again), they
    can just give all my posts the worst rating without actually reading
    any of the post, thereby sparing those who seek scientific explanations
    the usual nonsense.
     
  5. Cubit

    Cubit Guest

    Partialy hydrogenating oils dates back to the beginning of the last century.
    In the 50's many common foods were established as Generaly Accepted As Safe
    without any studies.

    There is no incentive for industry to pay for studies on substances they are
    already allowed to use in foods.

    My guess is that some transfat will turn out to be good, and some transfats
    will turn out to be bad. In the meantime, there needs to be a review of
    substances used in our foods, which do not exist in nature.

    It may be a coincidence that CVD and mental illnesses have increased since
    the 20's when margarine was a cheap substitute for butter. However, I have
    a hunch that industrial transfats are poison.

    How could "trans fat" possibly be "bad?" By building cellwalls out a form
    of fat that does not exist in nature, one may interfere with the complex
    functions of the cell walls.
     
  6. Cubit wrote:

    > How could "trans fat" possibly be "bad?" By building cellwalls out a form
    > of fat that does not exist in nature, one may interfere with the complex
    > functions of the cell walls.


    Finally, a reply that I can reply to.

    Approximately 2% of the caveman diet consisted of trans-fat. They have
    the same negatives as saturated fat, plus trans-fat will lower your HDL
    levels.

    They are no more a poison than rancid PUFSAs are.

    They are hardly worth mentioning since you usually do not have the
    opportunity to avoid them by reading food labels. Hence, your only
    strategy is to minimize your consumption of junk food.

    Avoid junk food and you have accomplished a number of objectives.
    Hence, there is little or no reason to talk about trans-fats.
    --
    John Gohde,
    Achieving good Nutrition is an Art, NOT a Science!

    The nutrition of eating a healthy diet is a biological factor of the
    mind-body connection. Weighing in at 17 web pages, The Nutrition of a
    Healthy Diet ( http://naturalhealthperspective.com/food/ ) is now with
    more documentation and sharper terminology than ever before.
     
  7. David Harmon

    David Harmon Guest

    On 10 Feb 2006 20:17:43 -0800 in sci.med.nutrition, "montygram"
    <[email protected]> wrote,
    >So how can we define "trans fat" in a scientific way? It's possible,
    >but only in an abstract way that is unrelated to health.


    It's simple. If some of the carbon double bonds are in a trans
    configuration, then it is a trans fat. If all of them are cis, then
    it is not. About as non-abstract as one could hope for.
    Do you disagree with that?

    Whether or not it is related to health is not a matter to be
    answered by definition.
     
  8. montygram

    montygram Guest

    "Trans fat" may mean that one double bond was changed within a huge
    amount of a fat source, and that is true of natural sources of fat,
    such as dairy. Such as fat is not at all dangerous. "Trans fat" where
    almost all is now saturated is also fine, unless toxic nickel or
    something like that is also in there. My point is that the real
    problem is that the food that is called "high in trans fat" acts as an
    oxidizing agent more than most other fat sources. They add
    antioxidants later, such as the alpha form of vitamin E, which
    unbalances tocopherols, and appears (from preliminary studies) to be
    unhealthy (in the context of the "typical" diet, anyway).

    As to notions of "disrupted lipid bilayer membranes," Gilbert Ling has
    demonstrated that this is ridiculous. Read one of his books. He
    examines all the evidence in great detail. The problem is too many
    double bonds, of whatever configuration, and improper antioxidant
    protection. The trans form will interfere with AA metabolization, but
    that is actually good ("anti-inflammatory"), though it's better not to
    have any AA in your body in the first place, and of course a huge
    amount of trans double bonds in the diet is bad news, though it's not
    clear whether it's from the lipid peroxidation or something else.
    Experiments could be done though, by giving animals a lot of trans
    double bonds, but also diverse and plenty of antioxidants, while
    another group got no added antioxidants. If the trans configuration
    was dangerous by itself, both groups should have similar health
    problems.

    Ask yourself, "why hasn't a simple, inexpensive, on point, and
    definitive study been done?"

    The reason is that most "experts" are on the "wrong track," thinking
    that the configuration is the problem, when it is too many double bonds
    and not enough proper antioxidant protection.

    But "trans fat" makes no sense, because, as I said, with a highly
    saturated fat source and few trans bonds, the physiological effects
    will be the same as a highly saturated fat source. With a light
    hydrogenation of a highly polyunsaturated fat source, the effects will
    also be the same, as long as the non-hydrogenated PUFA oil has been
    refined using modern methods (I'm assuming no antioxidants are added to
    any of these fat sources).
     
  9. Knack

    Knack Guest

    "montygram" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > "Trans fat" may mean that one double bond was changed within a huge
    > amount of a fat source, and that is true of natural sources of fat,
    > such as dairy. Such as fat is not at all dangerous. "Trans fat" where
    > almost all is now saturated is also fine, unless toxic nickel or
    > something like that is also in there.


    I eat baked salmon fillet once per week. I have observed a remarkable
    difference between farm raised Atlantic salmon and wild Pacific chinook
    salmon as a result of cooking for 10 minutes in a 350°F (177°C) oven. The
    latter fish then shows an alabaster white fat which has mostly drained off
    the flesh and semisolidified off to the side, whereas the former fish does
    not show this at all. Because the observed fat is neither liquid nor
    transparent, I conclude that it is saturated fat.

    Wild salmon flesh reportedly contains far greater concentrations of EPA and
    DHA PUFAs than farm raised salmon flesh. So is the aforementioned fat a
    saturated fat that preexisted before the fish was baked, or is it instead a
    saturated transfat that formed as a result of the reaction between the
    omega-3 PUFAs and fleshborn water?

    Note that the flesh of the wild salmon did *not* have a "marbled" appearance
    of saturated fat (as is seen in a raw beef steak) before I cooked it.
     
  10. Knack

    Knack Guest

    "montygram" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > All the "bad news" is based on "correlations" and "associations."
    > There was quite a bit of investigation into "trans fat" a few decades
    > ago, and those studies did not find the major health risks being
    > claimed for "trans fat" today (see "Modern Nutrition in Health and
    > Disease" (by Shils and Young, 7th edition, or "Diet and Health" by the
    > National Research Council, for example).


    About that book you mentioned-- 'Diet and Health'. Are you referring to
    'Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk', the book
    published by the National Academy of Sciences way back in 1989? If so, has
    it been updated with any new editions since 1989?
     
  11. Knack

    Knack Guest

    "montygram" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > If you were to use fresh, unrefined
    > safflower oil, and eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods with it, you
    > would doing something a lot less unhealthy than someone who eats
    > "processed" foods that have preservatives that basically stop working
    > when they are in your mouth as you are eating them. That can be
    > measured scientifically, and often is (such tests are Rancimat and
    > ORAC, for example).


    First of all you are comparing apples with oranges. Why not instead compare
    processed foods with and without the added antioxidants? And why do you
    believe that the added antioxidants of processed foods stop working when
    they are consumed? Since you're the one making the claim, the burden of
    evidence is on you.
     
  12. David Harmon

    David Harmon Guest

    On 13 Feb 2006 02:50:12 -0800 in sci.med.nutrition, "montygram"
    <[email protected]> wrote,
    > My point is that the real problem is that the food that is called
    >"high in trans fat" acts as an oxidizing agent more than most other
    >fat sources.


    Why is fat with trans bonds more of an oxidizing agent than with cis
    bonds?
     
  13. Jenn

    Jenn Guest

    Hi everyone! I am a college student in a nutrition and computers class
    and I am completing an assignment where I have to subscribe to a
    listserv and reply to topics. So I figured I will just post what I
    have been taught about Trans fats for those who may need it broken down
    to a simpler level =-)
    Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids that are produced when vegetable
    oils are partially hydrogenated. They are used to improve freshness of
    products because hydrogenated oils are able to resist rancidity longer
    than un-hydrogenated oil (they increase the shelf life of a product) as
    well as produce taste and texture improvements such as flakier pie
    crusts, crispier chips, and spreadable margarine. Trans fats are
    currently looked at in a negative way becuase they have been shown to
    raise LDL levels and reduce HDL levels, these results pose a higher
    risk for heart disease.
     
  14. joni

    joni Guest

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