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The fat to “worry” about is not saturated fat – it’s soybean oil
What is pretty clear, SOMETHING in the modern diet, is a problem………. it is making us fat, depressed and demented.
Now modern diets are very different from traditional diets, and depending on your bias, you can pick your poison.
It can be blamed on
- Too much sugar, specifically high fructose corn syrup.
- Too much fat, specifically saturated fat, particularly of animal origin.
- Too little fiber.
Into the mix, you can add, gluten, food additives, micronutrient imbalances, heavy metals, pesticides, GMOs, microplastics …….etc.
The one thing, the is pretty clear, is whatever ever IT IS, and I suspect it isn’t ONE thing, it is associated with highly processed foods.
The fat of processed foods
Now one of the chief ingredients of processed food, is soybean oil. To put some numbers on this, there has been a 1000 fold increase in the consumption of soybean oil, in the 20th century.
The reason for soybean oils popularity.
It’s relatively cheap and, as an added bonus, it lowers cholesterol levels.
The principle way soybean oil, does this, is through COMPETITION. Seed oils, contain, plant versions of cholesterol, collectively referred to as phytosterols. These guys, use the same transporter, as cholesterol, to get into the body……….. when there are lots of phytosterols, in a meal, fewer cholesterol molecules, get absorbed.
Less cholesterol in, translates to less cholesterol circulating. Yah !
Of course, it also means more phytosterol in and phytosterols, have their own health issues……….
Linoleic acid under the spot light
Despite their cholesterol “benefits”, soybean oils have been shown to be obesogenic and diabetogenic in rodent systems.
The ingredient, that has been fingered is linoleic acid.
It changes how cells talk to one another.
Click, to learn more about cell talk and why That “healthy” chicken and mayo sandwich is making you FAT
The problem with linoleic acid, hasn’t completely gone, un-noticed, there have been attempts to decrease the linoleic acid levels, through genetic engineering. One such product, is Plenish® – it is a soybean oil, which is low in linoleic acid and high in oleic acid.
NOTE : Oleic acid, is the fatty acid, that dominates olive oil.
Subtracting linoleic acid
A team or researchers, based in Riverside, California, decided to test out, the health benefits of Plenish®, relative to traditional soybean oil and another, plant based oil i.e. coconut oil. Now, instead of focusing on lipid levels, which is the usual strategy, when it comes to “oil” research, these guys opted to look at brain health.
Reasoning that the brain, ultimately, RUNS THE SHOW.
They focused on the effect of different oils, on the health of the hypothalamus. This is the body-brain relay station : it conveys the body’s nutritional status, to the brain and then issues, instructions from the brain to the body, about what to do.
Since, chopping out bits of brain, in humans, would be unethical, they opted to feed, male mice, of the C57BL/6N clan, fat enriched diets.
Fat enriched diets
5 dietary options were studied.
There was a low fat version, viv chow, with 13.4 % of energy coming from fat, the rest were high fat, with 40 % of calories coming from fat. To avoid confounders, the team only looked at plant fats.
The fats included, combinations of coconut oil (CO), soybean oil (SO) and Plenish (PL).
Plus there was a phytosterol plus coconut oil, version.
In terms of the fatty acid profiles
Linoleic acid dominated in the soybean oil, oleic acid in the Plenish®, with lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid, dominating in the coconut oil.
So what happened ?
In terms of metabolism
The mice on the low fat diet, were the skinniest and these little guys, were eating like horses, they had to – their chow, had 25 % fiber in it, so it was not high in calories. The animals on the higher fat diet, were ALL heavier, but it was much of a muchness, with one exception.
The animals on the traditional soybean oil diet i.e. high linoleic acid diet, were marginally HEAVIER.
In terms of sugar control, baseline was taken to be the mice on the low fat diet.
Eating a diet rich in coconut oil, had no impact on glucose levels.
Those on both versions of the soybean diet, showed impaired glucose tolerance, while the coconut oil, supplemented with phytosterols mice, ended up having the best sugar levels.
In terms of the relay station
Gene transcription in the hypothalamus showed two patterns, this can be seen in the heat map of hypothalamic gene expression (RNA-seq) at 24 weeks.
The pattern for coconut oil, closely matched the pattern seen, in mice, following a low fat diet. The soybean oil, patterns were quite different. In terms of the numbers, the low linoleic acid version was marginally better, with 101 genes expressing differently, from the low fat diet. In the case of the high linoleic acid, soybean oil, 158 genes were different.
Of course, it is hard, to say, whether gene expression changes are good or bad.
But they do hint, that the animal’s body chemistry has changed.
And that these changes, go beyond being heavier.
Oxytocin stands out
One gene expression change, that stood out like a soar thumb, was that of oxytocin.
Oxytocin it is THE LOVE hormone.
Not the PG rated, love, but the love that bonds people, particularly a Mom to her baby.
Oxytocin imbalances are associated with obesity and diabetes, but they’re also seen, in other scourges of modern living e.g. depression and autism.
Could diets high in soybean oil be part of the story ? Maybe.
It’s not a linoleic issue
The “fail” for Plenish®, in this study, suggests linoleic acid is NOT, the bad guy, in soybean oil.
But there is definitely something “rotten” in soybean oil.
So, if you want to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY, steer clear of soybean oil. It’s not an oil, you’re likely to use in your kitchen, but it is the oil that dominates, in processed foods i.e. foods that come in boxes and packets. There is also, a high probability, that it will be in foods you encounter when you eat out, at restaurant.
NOTE : Not all restaurants use it, ask what’s being used and use this, as a guide, when choosing where to eat out.
Modern food processing techniques mean we’re increasingly eating fake food. The extra and missing ingredients in our diet are making us fat and sick.
Substituting vegetable oils for saturated fat, definitely lowers your cholesterol levels. But does this protect your from heart disease ? In a word – NO.
Being sedentary i.e. not moving enough, is a big health issue. TV remotes, cars, obesity are all blamed, but the real culprit, might be what you ate for dinner