This is a great article about how McDonalds went from beef fat to trans-fat because of media pressure, eventho´the later is worse than the former.
Once an ideology gets lodged in an institution it becomes very hard to change. No one wants to admit that he was wrong, so the errors continue year after year uncorrected.
Maybe McDonalds Did Something Right!
By Bette Dowdellon 09/03/2011
It’s hard to know how to hold your face when people paint themselves into a corner and insist that’s not where they are.
Here’s the deal, self-appointed busybodies screamed and yelled and hollered about McDonalds using beef fat to cook their fries. Knowing in their heart of hearts that McDonalds was evil, they loudly accused McDonalds of purposely risking our very lives with saturated fat.
The media, of course, joined in. Joining causes with no basis in fact seems to give them joy.
And so it was in 1990 that McDonalds switched to trans-fats. The busybodies who suggested that action took a bow. The media congratulated themselves on humbling McDonalds.
Well, now, there’s an oops! Trans-fats, liquid vegetable oils shot through with hydrogen to make them solid at room temperature–and to extend shelf life–cause catastrophic damage.
Not long ago, Mayo Clinic came out with a study confirming the dastardly nature of trans-fats. Trans-fats, sayeth the Mayo poobahs, lower our high-density lipoprotein, which we want to be high, and raise our low-density lipoprotein, which we want to be low. Plus, transfats raise triglycerides. This, they explained, raises the specter of heart disease as far as they eye can see.
Two teensy problems. First, while yanking our cholesterol around can’t be a good idea, cholesterol levels don’t cause heart disease. However, Mayo et al can’t say that because Big Pharma has no solution for the actual problem, and they’re not ready to embrace the vitamins that get the job done. (At least, not until Senator Dick Durbin succeeds in handing control of nutritional supplements over to Big Pharma.)
Second, the problem described by Mayo–cholesterol that blocks blood vessels–has nothing to do with cholesterol levels, but with cholesterol gone astray–the real problem behind heart disease.
Further down in their findings, Mayo talks about the inflammation that trans-fats cause. Bingo! That’s the problem! Trans-fats rough up the lining of our blood vessels. Cholesterol, with the best of intentions, rushes in to coat over the resulting cracks and rough spots. In the face of persistent inflammation, though, this ends up causing blockages. Get rid of inflammation, and you get rid of the problem.
Bottom line, trans-fats cause crazy levels of inflammation. Which means nobody should eat oleo, no matter what the label claims. Oleo is trans-fat city. Vegetable oils are bad for us in any case–whether partially hydrogenated into trans-fats or not. Our bodies can’t deal with the massive amounts of Omega 6 they pour into us.
How then shall we cook?
Not to worry. We have excellent alternatives, but the saturated-fat police can’t admit it. Coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil offer all sorts of health benefits–but they’re saturated fats. And there goes that red flag flapping again. Sigh.
The anti-saturated-fat crowd won’t admit they were and are wrong about saturated fat. Fact is, they downright refuse to admit even the possibility that they messed up. So they stay wrong, And mad. And self-righteous. In their eyes, nothing changes.
But truth marches on. Saturated fats are not a problem. I repeat, saturated fats are not a problem. They don’t raise cholesterol, even if cholesterol were a problem. More importantly, they don’t cause inflammation.
But McDonalds still can’t go back to using beef fat–the least-bad alternative–because the same people who started the problem are ready to raise a ruckus again. No mountain of evidence can persuade them from their cause.
Well, while they all duke it out, we have to protect our health. Cook with butter, coconut oil, palm oil or palm kernel oil; it takes some getting used to, but it’s worth the effort. And make salads with virgin olive oil.
See? That wasn’t hard. We’ll move on and let others continue their outdated debates.