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Vegetable oils, or more correctly, highly processed seed oils, might be the most toxic food additive there is, and it’s found in almost every man-made food.
The history of vegetable oils goes way back to the late 1800’s and the manufacturing of soap and candles. In 1870, when crude oil was first discovered and replaced cottonseed oil as fuel for lamps, Procter and Gamble decided to use the unwanted and cheap cottonseed oil instead of the exclusive rendered pork fat to manufacture soap. In the early 1900’s P&G discovered that they could hydrogenate cotton seed oil and turn it into a solid liquid that resembled the properties of animal fat. And thus – from a highly toxic waste product – the first cooking oil (Crisco) was born in 1911.
So, yes. Vegetable oils are not made from vegetables, they are made from seeds. The most common ones are canola, corn, cottonseed, sesame, peanut, soybean, and sunflower. The low cost of these oils made them wildly popular all over the world while propaganda campaigns was launched towards animal fats. One example is the $1.5 million donation that the American Heart Association received in the late 1940’s from Procter and Gamble to kindly refer these industrial seeds oils as “vegetable oils” – a ‘healthier’ alternative to animal fats. Shortly thereafter, a pseudoscientist named Ancel Keys, introduced his doctored diet-lipid hypothesis, in which he made it seem that saturated fats and cholesterol was linked to heart disease. Today, we know that it is vegetable oils, especially in combination with carbohydrates that causes cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, Ancel’s hypothesis has made a lot of damage throughout the years, and many doctors and dieticians still believe in this old and deadly pseudoscience.
To understand how toxic and unhealthy these Frankenstein oils are, we simply need to take a look at the manufacturing process and the toxicity of the seeds themselves.
The seeds are gathered and removed from the plants. Next, they are heated to extremely high temperatures. This causes the very unstable unsaturated fatty acids to oxidize, creating very harmful byproducts.
After the heating process, the seeds are processed with a petroleum-based solvent, such as hexane, to increase the amount of oil that can be extracted from them.
Since the oils have a very unpleasant smell, the manufacturers then proceed to use several chemicals to deodorize the oils. This process produces trans-fats, which are well documented to be very harmful to our health.
Finally, they add even more chemicals to improve the color of the oils. The end result is a highly processed energy-dense, nutrient-poor oil with a lot of chemical residues, trans-fats, and oxidized byproducts such as aldehydes. Among the chemicals and additives are BHA, BHT, and TBHQ – synthetic antioxidants that has shown to have endocrine-disrupting and immune-disrupting effects. And even worse, since unsaturated (and poly-unsaturated) fats are highly unstable, the oxidation process continues after it’s been bottled and packaged – and even more so if influenced by heat, oxygen and/or light. While they are very harmful when used at home, the toxicity reaches extreme levels in fast-food restaurants where the oil is re-used and re-heated many times.
Too add insult to injury, consuming these seed oils raises our omega-6 to omega-3 ratios, increasing inflammation, which has significant consequences to our health.
Our ancestral ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 used to be 1:1. In westernized modern diets heavy in seed oils, this balance has been found to be in the range of 10 to 1 and as high as 20 to 1.
And lastly, the overwhelming majority of the seeds used to manufacture these deadly oils are derived from genetically modified plants. Few studies have been conducted on the long-term safety of consuming GMO foods, but many countries are now recommending to limit or avoid them.
Seed oils (vegetable oils) has been linked to asthma, autoimmune disease, cognitive and mental health diseases, diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular- and hearth disease, gut diseases (IBS and IBD), infertility, macular degeneration, and osteoarthritis.
So, to sum up. There is not a single scenario where ‘vegetable oils’ would be useful or recommended – and this include any form of margarine or vegetable ‘butter’. It’s all toxic sludge. Also, there is no evidence in any literature that the human body need unsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids from plants – the opposite is true as they are very unhealthy. You only need saturated fats and some polyunsaturated fats in the form of omega-3. All found in animal foods.
So, instead of these deadly seed oils, when cooking and adding fatty acids to your diet, use butter, ghee, lard, tallow, duck fat, and, in worst case scenario, coconut oil.
The TDEE formulas are derived from an average of people following a typical westernized/modern diet. This kind of diet is high carbohydrate and made up of at least 70 to 80 percent of plant foods (keep in mind that almost all junk food, soft drinks, etcetera are made from plant foods and plant (seed) oils). And we know that plant foods contain fiber (that binds up proteins and makes them non-absorbable), antinutrients (that block minerals), contains no usable vitamins and a lot of toxins that causes inflammation, and that the carbohydrate content (starches) is mostly indigestible – especially if the ‘food’ have been re-heated. This means that on a typical ‘fitness’ diet, your calorie- and macronutrient program might show 200g protein, 200g carbohydrates, 80g fat, and 2300 kcal. But in reality, you might only absorb 160g protein, 120g carbohydrates, 60g fat, and get only 1700 kcal! And if you have gut issues, as most people who consume plant foods have, you may absorb even less. In other words, these ‘energy requirement’ calculations are very skewed.
With that in mind, what do you think will happen when you go full animal-based/carnivore and you actually absorb 91 to 95 percent of what you consume? Yes, you will only need 60 to 70 percent of the ‘calories’ you used to consume if you use the same TDEE formula. And no, this will not make you hungry as a nutrient-dense animal-based diet will cover all your nutritional needs. Hunger and cravings are simply a sign of nutrition deficiencies.
It’s also important to understand that there are no calorie receptors in our body. Your body does not measure how many calories it gets. It has no idea. Calories are a concept of physics, not a concept of physiology. Calories is simply a unit of heat-energy from burning something and increasing the temperature of a given mass of water by 1 °C. That is not how our bodies work. Also, if you place 100 calories of sugar in your mouth, the physiological response is totally different from if you were to place 100 calories from animal fat in your mouth.
If you swallow that sugar, you get an insulin response. If you swallow the fat, you get no insulin response at all. The body responds to hormones and that is how it knows what to do when you have consumed something.
If you consume carbohydrates, insulin will go up. If you consume protein, insulin will go up, and so will your protein synthesis by the activation of mTOR and some other signaling pathways.
In other words, there are different receptors for amino acids, for fat, and for hormones that will be activated by what we eat or do.
If your nutritional base is covered, your inclination to overeat will be very low and since you consume nutritional-dense animal foods, you will be satiated very quickly. Your body will also be much more efficient and your food absorption will be top-notch, which means that your need for ‘calories’ will be much lower than someone with gut issues and bad absorption (as in vegans, vegetarians and most people following a typical modern diet with harmful foods).
In other words, energy requirements, as in ‘calories’, varies greatly from person to person. It’s not as simple as muscle tissue, metabolic rate and activity levels, it’s also about food choice and composition, general health, hormone levels, and especially gut health.
So, as a coach, when someone is switching to an animal-based diet, I look at previous nutritional habits and diets, medication, gut health, muscle mass and body weight, daily activity, exercise, and a lot more. I use several calculations as well as experience to get to a ‘calorie’ baseline where we will start. From there it’s all about observation and feedback. Every 2 to 3 weeks we evaluate and adjust the intake of food. And when adjusting, it’s not only about the energy within the food, it’s about macronutrient ratios, choice of food stuff/sources (replacing/switching things around to get where we want to go), and so on.
Also, as your body heal, your gut flora improves, and previous hormone imbalances get resolved, your energy needs will shift and then stabilize. And in the end, when you’re healthy in body and mind, you will instinctively eat what you need and when you need to. When following our natural diet, it’s actually very simple. And in the end, all you need to do, from time to time, is to evaluate your progress toward your goals and adjust from there.
Anyone who at least has glanced at nutritional science should know that carbohydrates are non-essential. It’s simply an alternative energy source. As humans, we are designed to function at peak efficiency without them.
Unfortunately, the misconception that carbohydrates are our ‘preferred’ fuel has been so ingrained in most of us, that we believe it to be a universal truth – even among dieticians and nutritional professionals.
The reason this misconception gained momentum, and has been accepted as truth, is because some early observations about the way the body handles each macronutrient when all three of them are available after a meal. When all three macronutrients are available, the first thing to get metabolized are carbohydrates. From that, early pioneers in nutritional science made a pretty big leap in logic; they assumed that since the body burned glucose first, it must prefer carbohydrates over the other macronutrients.
To understand this simple mechanic of metabolic priority, we only have to look at alcohol. A lot of scientists within the nutritional field actually call alcohol the fourth macronutrient, as it is metabolized differently from carbohydrates, protein, or fats.
If you provide the body with all four substances at once (alcohol, carbohydrates, protein and fat), it will metabolize the alcohol first, then the carbohydrates, and then the fat and protein. So, does this mean that our body prefers alcohol as an energy source? Of course not. Our body metabolize alcohol first because it has to handle the most toxic substance to limit the potential damage.
So, the next question is, does our body metabolize carbohydrates before protein and fat because it’s preferred or because it’s harmful? Well, considering that fats and protein are essential, while carbohydrates are not, the answer should be pretty obvious.
And if we look further, at how our body metabolizes carbohydrates, we see that this process produces toxic oxygen radicals which must be decomposed immediately, as they would otherwise cause damage to cells. To lessen the impact of these free radicals, our need for antioxidants increases. And as you know from my post about antioxidants, meeting the need without other negative side-effects can be close to impossible.
Another problem with carbohydrates are the production of triglycerides, especially from fructose. Not to mention that high blood sugar/glucose levels damages arterial tissue and blood vessels, which is why our body obsessively try to control the amount of glucose it allows in our blood. Actually, in a healthy human, only one tenth of one percent of the carbohydrates we can store as glycogen are allowed in the bloodstream at one time. Compare that to the huge amounts of fats and amino acids in your blood and you should clearly see that carbohydrates are not our body’s preferred fuel source, but instead a potential poison that has to be carefully handled.
This is why our body has to prioritize any excessive amount of glucose in the blood before it can return to its normal metabolism. Glucose must be kept low because it is harmful.
And for the carb-shills and any gullible carb-lover, the glucose that our body actually need on a daily basis (including our brain, that actually prefers ketones), are provided by gluconeogenesis – a natural metabolic process that generate glucose from metabolizing fats/lipids and amino acids. When your body is healthy and functions as intended, you will always have enough glucose from gluconeogenesis even if you exercise and do heavy labor all day. And even better, as fat-adapted, you have access to enormous amounts of fuel to keep you going for way longer than anyone on a carbohydrate metabolism. Claiming that you need carbohydrates for energy or to function is simply one of the most ignorant statements one can do.
Just because we have the ability to metabolize carbohydrates for extra energy as a function of survival when we can’t acquire enough animal foods, does not mean that it is good and healthy – especially not long term. Consuming a little bit of carbohydrates a couple of times a week is not a big deal if your dietary foundation is based on quality animal foods. However, consuming carbohydrates daily – and especially several times a day and/or together with toxic vegetable oils – is a sure recipe for premature aging, metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, many modern diseases, and a reduced lifespan.
I was introduced to the Glycemic Index (GI) back in late 1996 as it began to gain popularity in the bodybuilding and fitness community. At that time, we thought we had found the holy grail of carbohydrate and insulin management. How wrong we were.
Not only is the glycemic index pseudo-science, carbohydrates in any form are bad for us. To start, the glycemic index value of a food can vary by 20 percent or more within an individual and by 25 percent or more among individuals – and that is in highly standardized conditions where a group of people consume exactly the same single source of carbohydrates, like white bread or pure glucose as used in studies. Actually, when you sum up all variations, the numbers presented in a GI-chart has an error variable of 94 %. Now, bring that food into a meal with added fats, amino acids and fiber, and the reaction on blood sugar levels between different individuals will be all over the place. In other words, the value of the glycemic index in predicting changes in blood sugar is abysmal.
The main question though is… does it even matter? Even if you could get a ‘lower blood sugar response’ from focusing on certain ‘low glycemic carbohydrates’, they all end up as sugar/glucose in the bloodstream anyway and that is, physiologically, the last thing you want to happen. Your body still has to do everything it can to rid itself of that excessive amount of glucose as it is very damaging to our arterial tissue and blood vessels. It doesn’t matter if carbohydrates are absorbed quickly and causes a high spike in blood sugar, or if they digest slowly and causes a pro-longed medium curve. In the end, that carbohydrate-rich food has to digest and every single gram will be turned into glucose nonetheless. And that also mean that the body has to release pretty much the same amount of insulin to deal with that amount of carbohydrates, no matter if it is deemed ‘fast’ or ‘slow’. And as far as insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes goes, either repeatedly high spikes of insulin or chronic elevated levels of insulin over time will have the same effect and outcome. So, no matter what kind of carbohydrates you consume, they will contribute to this metabolic disease. And the more often you have them, the quicker you will arrive.
I will touch on the ‘necessity’ of carbohydrates in another post where I will also explain that they are NOT our preferred fuel and that they are, in fact, very toxic. If you care about your health and longevity, you should not consume carbohydrates on a daily basis – and trying to apply the glycemic index will do absolutely nothing for you, because it is absolute rubbish.