Seven in 10 Americans believe that coconut oil is a healthy food, but that’s not what the nation’s heart disease experts think. “There’s no basis at all for that,” Frank…
“The case against low-fat milk is stronger than ever,” announced Time magazine this spring. “Some research suggests people who consume full-fat dairy weigh less and are less likely to develop…
“Miraculous.” “Amazing.” “Life Saving.”
For some reason, people love coconut oil. Really love it.
And because people really love it, the coconut oil myths have spread like dandelion seeds on a windy day.
At a Greek or Middle Eastern sandwich shop, should you order the gyro or the falafel? Gyro is a blend of lamb and beef, the falafel is fried chickpea patties.…
“Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats,” Americans are advised by the new Dietary Guidelines for 2015-20120 issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The…
A front-page Washington Post article claims that the animal fat in milk and cheese may not be bad for your heart, after all. “Repeated research on milk, not funded by…
On June 17th, the Food and Drug Administration ended a battle that started a quarter century ago. The FDA banned partially hydrogenated oil, the source of artificial trans fat. The food industry will ask the FDA to allow specific amounts in certain foods, but I hope the FDA permits only levels that won’t harm consumers.
Food with trans fat entered our food supply more than a century ago, when chemists found that reacting liquid oils with hydrogen turned them into more-solid fats. That led to shortenings like Crisco (which replaced lard, butter, and beef tallow) and stick margarines. After World War II, the floodgates opened. Partially hydrogenated oils were cheap and shelf stable, and companies began to use them in thousands of foods.
Vegetable oil, usually a liquid, can be made into a semi-solid shortening by reacting with hydrogen. Partial hydrogenation reduces the levels of polyunsaturated oils and also creates trans fats, which promote heart disease.
A committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded in 2004 that on a gram-for-gram basis, trans fat is even more harmful than saturated fat. Many food manufacturers have replaced hydrogenated shortening with less harmful ingredients.
The Institute of Medicine had advised consumers to consume as little trans fat as possible, ideally less than about 2 grams a day (that much might come from naturally occurring trans fat in beef and dairy products). Harvard School of Public Health researchers estimate that trans fat had been causing about 50,000 premature heart attack deaths annually, making partially hydrogenated oil one of the most harmful ingredients in the food supply.
“Poisonous.” “Toxic.” “Avoid like the plague.”
Is canola oil healthy? For some reason, people love to hate it. Really hate it.
That’s partly because the canola plant is derived from rapeseed, which contains a toxic compound called erucic acid and bitter-tasting compounds called glucosinolates.
For decades, experts have advised us to replace saturated fats (in foods like meat, dairy, and butter) with unsaturated fats (in foods like oils, nuts, and fish). Now some controversial studies are challenging that advice. Here are the facts behind the headlines.