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Hydrogenated oil & Heart Disease

August 15, 2012  return to Oil page

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The rate of heart disease began to climb in the 1930's. By 1950, it was apparent that there was a huge increase in heart disease, particularly myocardial infarctions. The American Heart Association was formed, and in their original statement, they singled out the trans fatty acids found in hydrogenated oils as the probable source of heart disease. Hydrogenated fats are made from vegetable oils that are artificially hardened. However, Dr. Fred Matson who worked for Proctor and Gamble (who makes hydrogenation equipment and hydrogenated fats) was on the American Heart Association Advisory Board, and he was able to persuade them to drop all reference to trans fatty acids in hydrogenated oils, and instead they laid the blame for this great increase in heart disease on saturated fats from animal products. These altered documents actually encouraged the consumption of the very hydrogenated oils that were the prime suspect. The edible oil industry has a lobby called the Institute for Shortening and Edible Oils which supervised what was happening at the American Heart Association. The result was that dieticians were trained to promote processed foods. Finally in the 70's and 80's this same Dr. Fred Matson held two controlling positions in the Lipid Research Clinical Trials that led to the National Cholesterol Education Program.

By the early 70's, the American Heart Association stated that Americans had elevated levels of cholesterol in their blood and it was necessary to lower these cholesterol levels in order to avoid heart disease. All Americans in the "at risk" category were encouraged to substitute polyunsaturated vegetable oils for all saturated fats. The people behind this advice were the Institute for Shortening and Edible Oils. But they were pushing this lipid (fat) hypothesis without really having any evidence that there was any truth to it. In the early 70's, research was coming in from all over the world and some of it supported the lipid hypothesis, but much of it did not. The dissenting testimony was ignored. Their final report claimed that animal fats caused cancer and heart disease, and vegetable oils prevented them.

VEGETABLE OILS, HEART DISEASE AND CANCER My co-author, Mary Ennig from the University of Maryland, who is considered the foremost authority on lipids in America reviewed the data and noticed that people consuming a lot of vegetable oils had more cancer and heart disease, and people eating traditional foods with the animal fats had less cancer and heart disease. She published a report about her conclusions in a scientific journal, and subsequently received a surprise visit from a delegation from the edible oil industry and the margarine industry who advised her that her department wouldn't get any more funding if she continued to follow this line of research. Subsequently, when she applied for funding for her research, she was refused.

The Framingham study was supposed to support the theory that if you had high levels of cholesterol in your blood, you were more prone to heart attacks. If you evaluate their graph honestly, it shows that the difference in the heart attack rate is fairly constant, from 200 all the way up to 1,000. So what is all the fuss over cholesterol about? The truth about the Framingham study came out in 1972 in an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine in which William Castelli, the director of the Framingham study stated that the more saturated fat, the more cholesterol, the more calories one ate, the lower the peoples' serum cholesterol was. They also found that people who ate the most cholesterol and the most saturated fats weighed the least and were the most physically active.

Continue to increased Cancers in people with low cholesterol due to drugs