Altered Fats

Namaste

When it comes to oils, most of us can barely distinguished between samples of mineral oil, safflower oil, flaxseed oil, motor oil, etc. especially if we are  blindfolded and they are presented to be sniffed, touched, and tasted.  This is the reason the concept of ‘vegetable oil’ or ‘salad oil’ was readily accepted among Americans in the 1950s when corn and other oils came onto the market that previously offered only olive oil, lard, butter, and margarine.  The oils were marketed with an eye toward long shelf life, ensuring that a bottle of vegetable oil could languish on the shelf in the supermarket without going bad over a period of months.

If we use corn as an example, it is a fact that some of the oils that can be squeezed and dissolved out of a corn kernel are quite susceptible to spoilage while others are very stable.  High profit margins therefore dictate that the vulnerable fraction of the oil be removed which results in a product of remarkably stability.  When the unstable (but valuable/nutritional) portion of the oil is removed, what remains is nutritionally undesirable or even toxic.  Still, these altered oils may taste just fine.  They are toxic because they have been altered to lengthen their shelf life.  The result is a man-made oil that provides us with molecules we do not need and deprives us of those we do need.  The toxic oils are probably the most important issue in human health, but the effects of their toxicity are quite different from those presented by other kinds of toxicity, so we allow.

Fat Fact 1.  Whatever fats you eat become your fat.  If you each chicken fat, your fat reflects the fatty acid composition of the chicken.  Dietary fats enter the fat stores and cell membranes without being altered.  Dietary fatty acids come into the body by a very direct path without being identified, dissembled, or reassembled.  Their path consists of a vessel that delivers all the fats and oils of your meal directly to a large blood vessel at the base of the neck just below the collar bone.  (Ever wondered about that bump?)  Their digestion is non-destructive and intended only to convert the fats and oils into tiny droplets that can float into the blood.  Keeping in mind that many oil manufacturers are free to use whatever source of shortening is currently most available or cheapest on the market, we should consider what droplets we want floating in our blood before making the purchase.

Fat Fact 2.  Although the body has the capacity to make fat molecules on its own, it generally does not do so.  However, there are two essential fatty acids that the body cannot make which are exclusive to material for making all of the prostanoid hormones.  These are linoleic acid (safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, etc.) and alpha-linolenic acid (flax, hemp, chai, etc.).  When the manufacturers of vegetable oil developed methods for squeezing different seeds to extract their oils, the oils were able to survive without becoming rancid because alpha-linoleic acid was removed.  Are they the ones tampering with our hormones because they produce and affordable product?  Or are we the ones tampering with our hormones because we choose affordability over quality.  Now is a good time to choose quality oils especially if we are suffering due to hormonal imbalance.

Fat Fact 3.  All the cell membranes of the body are made of fatty acids.  This allows them to be flexible enough to perform their functions.  Optimal function also means the ability to communicate with each other.  Prostanoid hormones are one of the most important means for such communication.  Each cell needs to be open to such communication while at the same time it must be closed off from the water that surrounds it.  The fabric of their waterproof membranes is like velvet and made of fatty acids.  Linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids make the cell membrane flexible, allowing the forming of various kinds of pockets in which protein and carbohydrate molecules float in the fat to be receptor sites for messenger molecules coming from other cells.

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