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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Spice Wreck

I'm not sure what makes me angrier; the fact that dangerous trans-fats are everywhere in our food supply, the fact that FDA officials pretend to do something about trans-fats but really do very little, or the fact that the FDA has actually gone out of its way to demonize saturated fats and dietary cholesterol by tying them to trans-fats, as if the comparison were perfectly natural. These guys never cease to infuriate me!

-------------------------------------------- Hiding in plain sight --------------------------------------------

While shopping the other day I checked the ingredients label on a bottle of mixed black and red pepper. (I'm allergic to garlic, so I have to check labels to make sure it's not hidden in the mix.) What WAS hidden in with the pepper came as a shock: partially hydrogenated oil. In other words: trans-fats!

I expect to see the word "hydrogenated" on packaging for baked goods, crackers, chips, etc. - but ground pepper? I recently read an FDA report on trans-fats that included this unsettling fact: The average daily trans-fat intake for American adults is 5.8 Grams. Nearly six grams per day! And if we're even picking up trans-fats in spices, it's no wonder we're getting so much of this deadly junk in our diets. And how much is too much?

According to the FDA: "While scientific reports have confirmed the relationship between trans-fat and an increased risk of CHD (coronary heart disease), none has recommended an amount of trans-fat that the FDA could use to establish a Daily Value."

That's 100 percent partially hydrogenated hogwash. In previous e-Alerts I've told you about a 2002 report from a National Academy of Sciences panel that attempted to set a safe intake level for trans-fatty acids. The panel's conclusion: "The only safe intake of trans-fat is zero." Hello? FDA? This is the National Academy of Sciences calling. We've had your Daily Value of trans-fats ready for five years now. You can drop by and pick it up at any time.

-------------------------------------------- FDA math grade: F --------------------------------------------

The FDA report on trans fats does two very annoying things. 1) It requires food manufacturers to note the trans-fat content in every product that contains more than half a gram of trans-fats per serving. Any product with less than 0.5 grams per serving can claim "zero trans-fats."

This is a classic bait-and-switch, and you have to imagine that one of the reasons our average daily intake of trans-fats is unacceptably high is because there are so many products with "No trans-fats!" prominently displayed on the packaging, when in many cases that's completely false. "No trans-fats" should mean NONE, not "less than 0.5 grams of trans-fats per serving." 2)

The report demonizes saturated fat and cholesterol by lumping them together with trans-fats. Quote: "Consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL)...which increases the risk of coronary heart disease." Humans have been consuming saturated fats and cholesterol for eons. They're natural components of our diets.

Trans-fats, on the other hand, are the byproducts of oil processing. They're not natural, they're completely man-made, and they're very dangerous (linked to cancer risk as well as heart disease). Of course, the FDA - the Big Kahuna of mainstream nutrition - must always give the impression that saturated fats and dietary cholesterol are the primary sources of heart disease. With this report, it almost seems as if FDA officials are thinking: "Okay, if we have to recognize the dangers of trans-fats, then saturated fats and cholesterol are going down with the ship."

-------------------------------------------- On the level -------------------------------------------

If the FDA and other mainstream powers-that-be have convinced you that saturated fats and dietary cholesterol really should be considered just as dangerous as trans fats, consider this quote from the March 2006 issue of The Douglass Report Newsletter: "Last year, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a review of saturated fat studies from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California.

The authors concluded that reducing saturated fat does not prolong life or lower the incidence of coronary heart disease. The UC authors wrote: 'The conclusion of an analysis of the history and politics behind the diet-heart hypothesis was that after 50 years of research, there was no evidence that a diet low in saturated fat prolongs life... Overall, dietary intervention by lowering saturated fat intake does not lower the incidence of nonfatal coronary artery disease; nor does such dietary intervention lower coronary disease or total mortality.'"

And in another issue of The Douglass Report, Dr. William C. Douglass II takes on margarine, which is a partially hydrogenated nightmare: "Margarine dramatically increases the risk of coronary heart disease as compared to butter. In fact, according to a 1999 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53 percent over eating the same amount of butter."

I honestly don't expect the FDA will ever level with the public about the real dangers of trans-fats or the truth about saturated fats and dietary cholesterol.

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