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One piece of French fries is equal to smoking a cigarette: how food is slowly killing people

'14.06.2024'

Olga Feoktistova

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Eating a piece of French fries can be equated to smoking a cigarette. Daily Mail exposes the truth about vegetable oils in everyday foods that pose serious health risks.

When you go to the supermarket, read the list of ingredients on food packaging.

Vegetable oils are found in many of them, including salad dressings, canned fish, processed foods, diet drinks and infant formula.

These oils are usually made from seeds, so you can find sunflower, corn, canola, soybean, cottonseed and even safflower in the products.

Vegetable oil is a global industry. It generated more than $2020 billion in 100, and that figure is projected to increase to $2027 billion by 130. About a third of the calories in your diet probably come from this substance. It affects our metabolism, about which medicine knows little. Reason for which health human beings are increasingly at risk, indicated directly on the label.

The link between vegetable oils and poor health is well established and supported by significant scientific research. Vegetable oil can cause cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

On the subject: Coffee not only invigorates, but also helps to avoid dangerous diseases: results of a new study

Vegetable oil is an industrial product that did not exist just over 150 years ago. Before this, many human populations relied on animal fats such as butter, beef and lard.

But vegetable oils are radically different. Their production requires technologically advanced equipment, and not a simple stone press, butter churn or knife.

However, despite the complexity of processing these foods, they are currently the largest source of dietary fat. They account for more calories in our diet than sugar or flour.

Toxins

The main problem with these oils is that they are very high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These compounds are very prone to react with oxygen, a process called oxidation.

Oxidation of the oil produces new compounds collectively called lipid oxidation products (LOPs). Many of them are extremely toxic. By consuming these oils, we expose our bodies to hundreds, even thousands of different types of toxic LOPs.

This became known to scientists thanks to new technologies.

Toxicologists conduct real-life tests on vegetable oils in homes and restaurants. They found that the oils contained high concentrations of toxins.

Even more toxins are created when oil is heated for cooking, whether at home, in restaurants or in food factories.


Yet more toxins are produced if food is reheated, such as when leftovers are reheated.

Toxins that scientists have discovered in vegetable oils lead to pneumonia when inhaled. In addition, they have identified a variety of toxins that are associated with breast cancer, organ failure and fertility problems.

In contrast, experiments with heated coconut oil and butter have shown that they contain virtually no toxins.

What's wrong with French fries?

Aldehydes are perhaps the most dangerous category of the many families of toxins found in vegetable oils. This family of chemicals includes formaldehyde, a preservative for corpses, and many of the toxins that make cigarette smoke carcinogenic and irritating to human tissue.

Toxic aldehydes produced in frying oil can leach into food.

In 2019, Martin Grootveld, professor of bioanalytical chemistry and chemical pathology at De Montfort University in Leicester, led a study published in the prestigious journal Nature. It found that a 5-ounce (142 g) serving of French fries cooked in vegetable oil contained 25 times more carcinogenic aldehydes than the World Health Organization's permissible upper limit.

Professor Grootveld said the amount of cancer-causing aldehydes he found in a serving of French fries was equivalent to the amount consumed by smoking up to 25 cigarettes. There are approximately 5 fries in a 25-ounce serving, so eating one straw has the same effect as smoking one cigarette.

Deep frying leads to more toxins

The level of damage to polyunsaturated oils due to oxidation follows the same basic principles as skin burns: it is dependent on time and temperature.

Experts warn that the longer oil is cooked and the higher the cooking temperature, the more toxins are created.

Eric Decker, professor of food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA, is one of the most cited scientists in the field of agriculture.

It places special emphasis on preventing oxidation in our food products. The professor said that when it comes to producing toxins, "the biggest risk factor is deep frying oil."

When deep frying, oils are exposed to high temperatures for a long time. Fast food chains often have policies instructing employees to reduce toxicity: frying oil should be changed once a week. Smaller eateries and chains may not do this.

Pan frying comes in second.

A report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2000 noted alarmingly high rates of lung cancer in nonsmoking women who used vegetable oils during pan-frying and deep-frying.

Many people know that deep frying is unhealthy and avoid deep-fried foods. This is why Professor Grootveld is more concerned about shallow frying food in pans using vegetable oil.

It's not just about deep-fried food, and it's not just about restaurants. This can happen in your kitchen.

Body fat becomes similar to vegetable oil

Dr Stefan Gayene is an independent neuroscientist who has researched how increasing the consumption of vegetable oils affects body fat.

In the journal Advances in Nutrition in 2015, he published a review of 50 years of research into the body fat composition of Westerners.

The proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in body fat gradually increased from 9,1% of all fatty acids to 21,5%. This corresponded with the increase in public use of vegetable oils. The more vegetable oil people consumed, the more their body fat became similar to vegetable oil.

Our altered body fat composition causes a fundamental shift in our body chemistry. This exposes our cells and tissues to a chemical imbalance called oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress releases carcinogenic toxins in cells that can damage proteins and DNA.

Is there a link to Alzheimer's disease?

In 1906, German pathologist Alois Alzheimer examined sections of brain tissue from a woman who had died of dementia praecox. He discovered unusual accumulations of protein, which he called amyloid plaques.

But the origin of the plaques eluded scientific explanation until American and Japanese researchers reported in 2001 that the plaques were caused by oxidative stress. Their research showed that oxidative stress damages proteins, creating tiny droplets of cellular debris.

Our brain cells have waste disposal systems that can remove most types of waste. But not all - and not amyloid. Amyloid that cannot be removed by scavengers accumulates inside the cell and eventually begins to form amyloid plaques.
Accumulating plaques slow down cellular activity. This slows down the brain's processing speed—and that's when symptoms usually begin.

Many degenerative diseases develop in a similar way.

How to cleanse the body

A study conducted in 1960 showed that the half-life of PUFAs in body fat is between 350 and 750 days. This means that it takes that long to withdraw only half of them.

More recent studies indicate a similar figure: an average of 580 days. So, we're looking at three or four years of cutting out vegetable oils to normalize the amount of PUFAs in body fat.

The good news is that people usually feel better within a few weeks of quitting vegetable oils, especially if they suffer from chronic pain or stomach problems, as the level of inflammation in their body is significantly reduced.

"The Hateful Eight"

List of oils to avoid:

  • corn oil;
  • rapeseed oil;
  • sunflower oil;
  • soybean oil;
  • cottonseed oil;
  • safflower oil;
  • grape seed oil;
  • Rice bran oil.

"The Delightful Dozen"

List of good fats:

  • melted butter;
  • extra virgin olive oil or unfiltered refined olive oil;
  • unrefined peanut oil;
  • unrefined coconut oil;
  • unrefined avocado oil;
  • Sesame oil;
  • unrefined palm oil;
  • pork fat;
  • salo;
  • chicken fat;
  • unrefined tree nut oils (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.).
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