Change Your Oil Revised July 2013

oilchangeMany people think “healthy fats” is an oxymoron largely because fat was demonized in the eighties by many health professionals. Food manufacturers were quick to recognize opportunities to make huge profits and “low-fat” foods were created. The vilification of dietary fat is now suspected of contributing to the obesity epidemic partially because food manufacturers replaced fat with sugar, which comes with its own issues.

Furthermore, saturated fats were once believed to cause heart disease, thanks to a faulty study by Dr. Ancel Keyes, which was adopted by most health professionals as the word of dietary law.  This motivated health conscious people to switch to vegetable oils. Now there is evidence that switching from saturated fats to polyunsaturated fats, common in processed vegetable oils, has contributed to higher rates of cancer.


One reason is that polyunsaturated oils are highly unstable and vulnerable to oxidation and turning rancid.  Oxidation causes cancer. Oils that are rancid are highly toxic to humans (and pets. Sadly, most pet food is made using rancid fats).


To add to the danger, conventionally produced vegetable oils are processed using toxic chemicals like hexane, heptane, caustic soda, and other chemicals, the safety of which is unproven, to mask the rancid smell of processed oils.

In addition to the dangers of oxidation and rancidity, there are also concerns about the omega-6 content of polyunsaturated oils. A recent San Francisco study demonstrated that under laboratory conditions, omega-6 fatty acids could accelerate the growth of prostate tumor cells.  They are also suspected of contributing to breast cancer in post-menopausal women.


Other studies show that improving the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio can lower the risk of certain cancers. Specific recommendations vary, but most experts suggest a ratio of between 1:1 and 1:4 at most. The average modern diet has an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1:20 or more!


The rapid increase of vegetable oils in our diets during the past century is largely responsible for this imbalance. While some vegetable oils do contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, for the most part, they consist of omega-6. Some experts recommend increasing omega-3 consumption, but it is more effective to reduce omega-6 intake, by eliminating or drastically decreasing polyunsaturated oil consumption, including canola, soy, corn, and sunflower oils.


Further compounding the unhealthy fat issue is the hydrogenation of vegetable oils.  Hydrogenated oils and any foods made with them are the leading cause of heart disease and a major contributor to neurological disorders. Simply put, hydrogenated oils (or trans fats) are poison in the human body. They accelerate the buildup of plaque in the arteries and are suspected of causing cancer.

Food producers create hydrogenated oils for the convenience of food producers, primarily so that those foods taste good and can sit on the shelf for months without going bad. Therefore they significantly contribute to profits.

High-fat, low-fat, saturated fat, hydrogenated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega 3, omega 6; it’s all very confusing. So what are we supposed to do?


First we need to recognize that healthy fats are an integral part of a complete diet. Avoiding fats actually causes chronic disease. Your brain is made of fat and it needs saturated fat. Even brain-friendly omega-3 fatty acids can’t be utilized without ample saturated fat. In addition, saturated fat facilitates nerve signals and hormone production. All of these systems rely on saturated fat to function, and to keep you healthy and ultimately, alive.


A diet rich in saturated fats protects your heart. Saturated fat reduces Lp(a), which is associated with increased risk for heart disease, and contributes to higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which keep your heart healthy. In traditional cultures saturated fat was revered and even coveted as a source of vital energy.

Many nutrients are fat-soluble and failure to include healthy fats in meals results in many of the nutrients consumed not being absorbed by the body. Beta carotene, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E are three nutrients that require fat in order to be absorbed and used by the human body.  We need saturated fat to transport calcium to our bones, which is why dairy products naturally contain both calcium and saturated fat. Calcium supplements don’t do much good if saturated fat is lacking in our diet. By consuming fats with nutritional supplements, the effectiveness of the phytonutrients in supplements multiplies.

It doesn’t take much fat to aid the absorption of important vitamins and nutrients. Eating just five or ten nuts, or one-fourth of an avocado, provides plenty of dietary fat for transporting nutrients and aiding their absorption.

Saturated fats also boost our immune systems because they contain specialized fatty acids, which are naturally antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral. These important fatty acids include lauric acid, myristic acid and caprylic acid. A diet rich in these beneficial fats provides the body with essential building blocks to fight pathogenic substances.


It is vitally important to choose the right kind of fats for your diet and the right amount because fats are high in calories. Healthy fats include real butter, (ideally from grass-fed cows), virgin (meaning cold-pressed) coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, hemp-seed oil and other fats from plant sources such as nuts, seeds, and avocados. These healthy fats should be consumed with every meal. Oils from fatty fish like wild salmon are also beneficial. Even the fat in beef can be called healthy if eaten in moderation and if those animals were grass-fed, not grain-fed.

It is advisable to give up cheap fats such as low-cost vegetable oils. To do so requires the abandonment of most processed foods as they are almost always made with cheap, usually hydrogenated, vegetable oils. Say good-bye to crackers, deep-fried foods, baked goods, indeed, the entire snack aisle of your local grocery store.

Healthy fats are more expensive than unhealthy fats but this is one case where spending extra money significantly protects your health.

Finally, use oils appropriately. For example, extra-virgin olive oil is ideal for salad dressings and dishes that will simmer because it has a low flash point (or temperature at which it begins to burn). Flax oil should never be heated. Butter, coconut oil and peanut oil can stand higher temperatures and are more appropriate for cooking at high temperatures. Ideally, it is best to give up fried foods, because all fried fats contain trans fatty acids.

Sadly most people are more careful about the condition of the oil in the engines of their cars than about the oils they consume to fuel their bodies.  Changing your oil is an integral part of maintaining good health.

Sources for this article include:,,,

Butter vs. Margarine

butterpicRevised July 2013

Margarine is the generic term used for butter substitutes. Its history goes back almost 200 years to the discovery of margaric acid from whence margarine derives its name. Over the years various ingredients have been used to concoct a less expensive spread than butter including beef tallow, whale, seal, and fish oils, vegetable oils and sometimes even a little butter.

Both butter and margarine are water-in-oil emulsions; they have similar calories, depending on the amount of water in the margarine or “spread”. Sadly, most people erroneously think they are interchangeable.

Margarine consumption surpassed that of butter in the late 1950’s when some scientists proposed a correlation between the consumption of saturated fats and blood-serum cholesterol levels with heart disease. Doctors began advising their patients to use margarine instead of butter.

Many people still believe in this supposed cause and effect but the explosion of heart disease in our society would suggest otherwise. Food manufacturers seized the opportunity to increase profits by using cheaper inferior ingredients while proclaiming the health benefits of their products.

Margarine is a manufactured “food”, generally accomplished by passing hydrogen through (often) inferior quality oil in the presence of a nickel, cadmium, or palladium (all toxic heavy metals) catalyst. The addition of hydrogen to the unsaturated bonds results in saturated bonds, effectively increasing the melting point of the oil and thus hardening it.

This process creates trans fats, which the body does not recognize as food and ironically are now known to contribute to heart disease and other diseases like cancer. Furthermore, the oil is extracted at high temperature, which damages the oil and destroys the vitamin E in it. The advertisements and the packaging for margarine are usually deceptive lies, stating it contains ‘polyunsaturated oil’, when the processing saturates or partially saturates the oil.

Butter has many nutritional benefits, where margarine has few. Butter contains antioxidants, which help offset free-radical damage to cells. It is a source of vitamin A, D, E, and K, calcium, selenium, and conjugated linoleic acid, which helps maintain lean body mass, prevents weight gain and may reduce certain cancers. Butter fat helps the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. And it tastes better.

Although many people are sensitive to cow’s milk dairy products, often butter is well-tolerated because butter is almost a pure fat, and does not contain many of the allergens found in other milk products.


One issue is the treatment of dairy cows. They are often pumped full of antibiotics and hormones which naturally land in the milk.


The argument that margarine helps control cholesterol is a myth as most cholesterol is manufactured within the body; a maximum of about 4% of all cholesterol comes from the diet.  Cholesterol is the raw material for the adrenal stress hormones and the sex hormones. The body often reacts to stress by producing more cholesterol allowing the body to make more stress-fighting hormones. Therefore it is quite likely that the consumption of trans fats stresses the body to produce more cholesterol.


The human body is not designed to consume manufactured food but thrives on a diet of whole, real food. Butter is a natural food and one of the best sources of important fat-soluble vitamins. You will pay more for butter, but nutritionally, for its purity, and its taste it is well worth it. Just remember, all things in moderation; the body is not served by eating any fat, including butter, by the pound.



Sources for this article include:


This site is sponsored by margarine producers who proclaim the “debate is over”.  It is included in this list in the interest of balance:

Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin

Brace yourself for an onslaught of news about and admonitions to be vaccinated for the flu.  Recent reports indicate that this year’s flu vaccination includes protection against H1N1 but in all likelihood, H1N1 will be a non-issue.  Flu vaccination manufacturers simply guess at which strains of the flu might be prevalent each season and they are reportedly accurate less than 30% of the time.

Are you interested in having a higher degree of protection from the flu and enjoying other health benefits as well?  Look no farther than Vitamin D.  Here are some facts:

Vitamin D is misnomer; it is actually a hormone produced by the skin upon exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B rays.  For years, humans spent a huge portion of their time in the sun but recently we’ve almost all become deficient in this miracle substance, largely because we’ve been made afraid of the sun.  If we do venture out, we are slathered in sunscreen, which keeps out harmful rays but actually reduces our ability to manufacture Vitamin D by as much as 95%.  Small wonder modern diseases have such a stranglehold on our population.

Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your body; therefore it is sometimes called the Sunshine Vitamin. It takes about 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure for our bodies to manufacture all the Vitamin D we need to have optimum health.  The darker one’s skin and the higher one’s latitude on the planet, the lower the effectiveness of our Vitamin D “factory”.  Our bodies will shut down the factory once we have manufactured about 20,000 iu of this hormone, therefore it’s impossible to overdose. There is evidence that tanning beds can mimic the sun’s ability to facilitate Vitamin D production; readers are cautioned to use them sensibly.

Vitamin D is vital to keep our immune systems functioning.  That is why it is effective at warding off the flu.  Last year my doctor surprised me by advising me to supplement my diet with 2000 iu per day to avoid the flu.  (Doctors are generally not prone to providing information on nutrients, hence my shock).

Vitamin D is also effective at preventing a myriad of modern diseases including heart disease, various types of cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, depression and osteoporosis. (Many people think calcium prevents osteoporosis but in studies where calcium was supplemented without Vitamin D, the calcium was ineffective).

In fact, the recent prevalence of these diseases can be attributed in part to our Vitamin D deficiency.

  • 32% of doctors and med school students are vitamin D deficient.
  • 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient.
  • 48% of young girls (9-11 years old) are vitamin D deficient.
  • Up to 60% of all hospital patients are vitamin D deficient.
  • 76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin D deficient, causing widespread vitamin D deficiencies in their unborn children, which predisposes them to type 1 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia later in life.
  • Up to 80% of nursing home patients are vitamin D deficient.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D is a mere 400 iu.  Remember, RDA’s were designed as nominal doses, the least amount required to sustain minimal health and prevent such diseases as rickets, a softening of bones in children, potentially leading to fractures and deformity.  Some experts say we need as much as 10,000 iu per day.

Vitamin D is activated in our bodies by our kidneys and liver. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair one’s ability to activate circulating vitamin D. Obesity also impairs vitamin D utilization in the body, meaning obese people need twice as much vitamin D.

Vitamin D is found in some food products including oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, fish liver oils, eggs, liver, and mushrooms. Dairy products are routinely fortified with Vitamin D but you have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D. Skim milk and other low-fat dairy products reduce the absorption of Vitamin D because it is a fat-soluble nutrient, requiring fat to be transported through the body.

It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet and unfortunately most manufacturers fortify foods with the synthetic version, D2.  Our bodies most effectively use the natural version, D3.  If you purchase supplements look for D3 or cholecalciferol; some experts advise buying gel caps instead of tablets.  Vitamin D supplements are relatively inexpensive.

I urge you to consider supplementing your diet with Vitamin D, particularly in the fall and winter. If you get a chance to take a winter vacation to a sunny locale, leave the sunscreen in your bag until you’ve been out for half an hour or so.  Midday sun is most damaging so if you avoid exposure between 10AM and 2PM, you may be able to dispense with sunscreen altogether.

By the way, I took my doctor’s advice and I had no colds or flu last year and I didn’t have to stand in line for a flu shot.  I recently added Vitamin D to my regimen of supplements for this season and I hope to take a couple of winter escapes to soak up some sun.

Sources for this article include Wikipedia and Natural News, which has over 300 articles related to Vitamin D.  It’s interesting reading that is sure to bolster your health.