Doing the Can Con
The You Docs are making progress, but they’re not there yet. Their last column in my local newspaper had them starting out on a mostly solid footing – and then they stumbled.
The You Docs
“Soybean oil is the most used vegetable oil in North America, found in scores of prepared foods,” Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen began. “The oil contains about 55 percent linoleic acid (aka omega-6 fatty acid) and is considered a major contributor to the epidemic levels of obesity, diabetes, fatty liver and insulin resistance.”
Soy far, soy good. Then comes this: “Researchers found that after replacing saturated fats from coconut oil with soybean oil, lab animals were even more likely to gain weight, and develop diabetes and insulin resistance!”
Thus, the high-stepping docs begin their descent. Soybean oil is even more unhealthy, they are saying, than saturated fats from coconut oil. They refuse to end their campaign against saturated fats, even after acknowledging months ago that an enormous mega-analysis reported in March 2014 in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine had found that saturated fats were not implicated in cardio or cardio-related (such as stroke) diseases — or anything else, for that matter. The analysis included 72 studies involving more than 600,000 people in 18 countries. And a host of highly credentialed alternative physicians have long said that saturated fats were not unhealthy, and some have issued a long list of ways in which they are actually healthy.
“So what’s with GMO soybean oil?” they wrote next. “It’s low in linoleic acid and has about the same fatty acid composition as olive oil. Sounds promising. But those same researchers also found that it’s equally linked to obesity, diabetes and fatty liver.” The docs said the researchers concluded that some “‘unidentified component of soybean oil affects the liver and overall weight gain.’”
“So don’t go GMO – or regular soybean oil, either!” the docs wrote. The easiest way: Eliminate fried and prepared foods from your menu, and go with odd omegas: omega-3 (from walnuts and canola oil) … .”
Mary Enig, Ph.D., and Sally Fallon
Stop right there. Go with canola oil? The You Docs are still embracing the myth that canola oil is healthy. It’s a complex subject, as is demonstrated by a 2002 treatise of 4,806 words, referencing 29 sources, by medical writer Sally Fallon and the renowned lipid biochemist/nutritionist Mary Enig, Ph.D., who died in September. But, after detailing the evolution of canola oil in the modern diet and pointing to a number of studies on the oil’s effects, Fallon and Enig concluded:
“These studies all point in the same direction–that canola oil is definitely not healthy for the cardiovascular system. Like rapeseed oil, its predecessor, canola oil is associated with fibrotic lesions of the heart. It also causes vitamin E deficiency, undesirable changes in the blood platelets and shortened life-span in stroke-prone rats when it was the only oil in the animals’ diet. Furthermore, it seems to retard growth, which is why the FDA does not allow the use of canola oil in infant formula. When saturated fats are added to the diet, the undesirable effects of canola oil are mitigated. Most interesting of all is the fact that many studies show that the problems with canola oil are not related to the content of erucic acid, but more with the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and low levels of saturated fats.”
There you have it. The You Docs apparently are unaware of the history of canola oil and the many studies that that show it shouldn’t be consumed.