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Insight of the Day

Posted May 23rd, 2011 in Fats and tagged , , , , , , by Rebecca Lane
Heating vegetable oils to the point where they smoke can cause trans-fats to form

Heating vegetable oils to the point where they smoke can cause trans-fats to form

Just read today’s insight from Bob Proctor and had to share because it is something that I believe completely:

“One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.” – Earl Nightingale, Author and Speaker, 1921-1989

This is something that I have always believed and never really followed through on. I’m always reading about food and its healing powers – and I really want to be knowledgeable so that I can share it with everyone that I meet. And I know that keeping on top of new research in the field is critical to helping people make change in their life.

Just yesterday, I was sitting at a Vegetarian Dim Sum restaurant in NY Chinatown with a table full of foodies and nutritionists. We had a disagreement about how trans-fats could be created. Most said that the flipped trans-bonds could be created only through hydrogenation – but I was sure that I had read somewhere that the trans-bonds could also be made from overheating vegetable fats and by deep frying. So, as soon as I got home (and remembered) I checked in Udo Erasmus’ book Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill and found that indeed trans-bonds can replace the natural cis-bonds if overheated – here’s the reference on page 107:

“Cis-double bonds have both hydrogen atoms on the carbons involved in double bonds on the same side of the molecule. The twist that occurs at high temperatures reached during frying, deep-frying, hydrogenation and, to a smaller extent, deodorization, flips the hydrogens on the carbons involved in double bonds onto opposite sides of the molecule.”

This is really important knowledge because frying unsaturated fats like olive oil and vegetable oil at high temperatures can cause not only the fats to break down and become rancid and full of free-radicals, but also can cause trans-fats to be formed which are unnatural and damaging to the body. If oils become so hot that they smoke or turn brown – the random free radical reactions due to light, oxidation-rancidity and heat-twisting effects combine, interact and synergize each other’s destructiveness.

Research has shown that damaged fats can produce atherosclerosis (trans-bonds are stickier than cis-bonds), can impair cell respiration and other cell functions, inhibit immune functions, and lead to cancer. (page 115 of Erasmus)

I realize that I need to give more background information and define some terms to make this valuable knowledge for everyone, but the point that I’m making is that removing margarine and shortenings and partially-hydrogenated oils from our diet is only a starting point. Fried foods can be just as damaging and we need to be aware of their effects on our bodies when we choose to include them in our diet. When heating vegetable oils, use vegetable stock and water to keep them cool and to stop them from burning and becoming damaged. This technique makes little difference to the taste but huge difference to the health of the oils.

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