Fake Health News

Fake Health News: “In Defense of French Fries”

That was the title of an article on Harvard’s website. The author’s review of a study showing 2+ times per week eating fries increases your death rate was that once a week should be no big deal.

This says Fake Health News to me! At the risk of seeming like a food evangelist, I will explain.

Junk Oils

The number one food avoidance I discuss with people every time now is junk oils. Canola and vegetable oils are absolutely terrible for human biology.

These oils are better termed industrial seed oils. They are manufactured by a very chemically abusive fashion, including using hexane which is also used in the production of gasoline.

Sound appetizing so far? Just getting started…

These seed oils are mostly omega 6 fatty acids, Linoleic acid (LA) to be proper. While they are considered essential, like omega 3, it is just because the body cannot make internally – they must be consumed. Source matters though, and the industrial seed process is one to steer clear of.

Further, the relationship between omega 3 and omega 6 must be somewhere close, probably within the 1:3 to 1:1 ratio internally (this can be measured on a blood test). Consuming these seed oils in any kind of appreciable quantity can easily throw the balance off – I have seen reports of people walking around with 1:25. That is not healthy.


Think rust. This is a process where oxygen interacts with a product. Omega 6, and 3 for that matter are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The more unsaturated they are (poly=many), the more susceptible to oxidation they are. And this is a problematic property at room temperature, let alone dealing with the manufacturing process.

Enter frying.

These extreme heats quite plainly destroy the oils via oxidation – quickly. Restaurants do not change the oils out at any kind of frequency to blunt this effect, as it happens almost instantly and at any appreciable heat.

Vegetable oils contain mostly heat-sensitive polyunsaturated fats. When heated, these fragile fats turn into toxic compounds including trans fat.258 The heat sensitivity issue means that all processed vegetable oils, and all products that contain vegetable oil, necessarily contain trans fat. Canola oil degrades so rapidly that a testing company, needing to find the purest canola oil to use as a standard against which other oils could be compared, couldn’t locate any canola oil even from pharmaceutical-grade manufacturers with a trans fat content lower than 1.2 percent.259 This means that vegetable oil, and products made from vegetable oil, contain trans fat—even when the label seems to guarantee them trans free.

Catherine Shanahan M.D., Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food1

Dr. Shanahan’s book details so many of these facts very well. The notes I saved on my Kindle are available for you to read here.

Introduce fried food with oxidized industrial seed oils into your body, and you just lit an oxidation fire.

Worse than cigarettes?

Yep, at least in one case. The endothelial cells that line delicate tissues such as blood vessels (including erectile tissue – penis and clitoris) are very sensitive to oxidation. One plate of fries caused endothelial dysfunction for 24 hours, where as cigarettes only 4 hours.

This isn’t a prescription to smoke but rather a wake up call to the consequences of some foods.

You are what you eat

Since essential fatty acids must be brought in thru the diet and put to use as building blocks at the cellular level, you are what you eat – quite literally – when it comes to oils. The study below analyzed omega 6 oil content stored in fat cells.

These findings support the hypothesis that adipose tissue LA concentration has greatly increased in the United States over the last half century. Between 1959 and 2008, adipose tissue LA increased by 136%, representing a major shift in the adipose tissue concentration of a bioactive FA (fatty acid).
Because of its influence on multiple physiologic and pathophysiologic processes, LA has the potential to play an important role in human health. At the same time that the LA content of adipose tissue has been increasing, the United States has experienced substantial changes in disease prevalence. Cardiovascular disease risk has declined (52), whereas the prevalence of obesity (53), diabetes (54), and asthma (55) have increased.

Increase in Adipose Tissue Linoleic Acid of US Adults in the Last Half Century
Stephan J Guyenet Susan E Carlson Author Notes
Advances in Nutrition, Volume 6, Issue 6, 1 November 2015, Pages 660–664 2

Here is a graph showing the increase in LA content in our own fat cells:

US adipose tissue LA concentration, 1959–2008. Increase in adipose tissue LA concentration over time across all subcutaneous sites (R2 = 0.83; P < 0.001) (A). Increase in adipose tissue LA concentration over time, buttocks and abdominal subcutaneous only (R2 = 0.86; P < 0.001) (B). LA, linoleic acid.3

Ignore American Heart Association Advice on Oils

Complete trash (except for olive oil – that is good):

Here’s an alphabetical list of common cooking oils that contain more of the “better-for-you” fats and less saturated fat.

American heart association 4

These are the exact same oils that have taken up residence in our body in a corresponding fashion with chronic disease.

Why? Money is involved here. This ties into the coconut oil hoax last year – sneaky Canola money was behind that fake news. Please see my earlier post outlining the facts.

Avoid These Oils At All Costs

So, if twice a week increases death rates are you good with once a week introducing these oils directly into your fat cells for long term storage? I am not. Any regularity is an issue. Once in a great while won’t cause long term issues, but consistently making them a part of your diet will. If you have an event where it will be unavoidable, powerful antioxidant supplementation would be prudent. Vitamin E, liposomal glutathione, or Astaxanthin are good choices.

Bottom line: look for any of the oils on the AHA list above (except olive) and throw them in the trash. Common sneaky products such as mayo and dressings are often common culprits – trash them too. Even some olive oils are combined with canola to save on cost and increase the smoke point (read labels closely). How many sources can you find in your pantry?

See more Fake Health News Stories here

  1. Catherine Shanahan M.D., Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, pg. 135, loc. 2926
  2. https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/6/6/660/4555155
  3. https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/6/6/660/4555155
  4. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/healthy-cooking-oils

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