Archive for October, 2012

Not a food

The best way to describe trans fats or TFA (trans fatty acids), also called partially-hydrogenated oils, is that they are a form of manufactured or synthetic fat which is unfamiliar to the body’s digestive system.

The Food industry touts the advantage of trans fats as slowing food spoilage from rancidity. But therein lays a clue about the danger of trans fats. If microbes that normally cause spoilage can’t recognize trans fats as food, then it’s NOT food. To bacteria and molds, trans fats are more akin to a soft plastic than true fats.

It’s the same for humans. Continuous consumption of trans fats causes a virtual cascade of problems in the body which can lead to or exacerbate many forms of cardiovascular disease including coronary disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), stroke, arteriosclerosis, as well as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity7, 8, cancer and other potentially fatal diseases.

As the body attempts to digest trans fats, the trans fats cause systemic inflammation4, liver dysfunction, and damage to the function of the cell membranes.1, 4

Trans fats may compromise fetal and early infant growth and development,2 cause infertility in women, and contribute to cognitive decline6.

The consumption of trans fats raises blood levels of the unhealthy low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, while reducing levels of healthy, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol.5

The cumulative costs to our health care system over decades of industry-masked pervasive use and consumption of trans fats in our food has to be in the tens (if not hundreds) of billions of dollars.

So why is it allowed?

All about shelf life and profits

If trans fats are so toxic, why is the food industry allowed to use them so pervasively? Follow the money; it’s all about shelf life and profits. Think of the profits of having 10%, 30% or 50% less spoilage, or the commercial advantage of being able to extend the expiry dates of products by 800% or more! Furthermore, trans fats can be made very cheaply, thus they further heighten the profit margins of the mass food producers.

Industry has known all along

Knowing, full well, the negative physiological effects of trans fats upon consumers, the food industry has been quick to respond, but not as you might think. Rather that remove trans fats from the processed foods we eat, instead, whole new industries and profit centres sprang up as their way of pretending to fix the problem.

Since trans fats cause higher production of bad cholesterol (LDL), a whole new market for premium-priced “low cholesterol” foods was created. Not to miss the action, the pharmaceutical industry jumped in with its cholesterol-lowering “statins” and has enjoyed a virtual feeding frenzy, to this day, selling statins (with its own associated health risks)11, 13 to combat cholesterol.

Little attention has been paid to the fact that trans fats and statins also lower good cholesterol (HDL), which is used by the body to convert sunlight into Vitamin D12. Deficiency in Vitamin D causes another whole cascade of health problems.

Deceptive labeling

Enlightened consumer-complaints, that the disclosure of trans fat content on product labeling is confusing and misleading, have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Even worse, it appears that Government regulators allow, in fact, foster deliberate industry deceit of trans fat content, through false and misleading labeling gimmickry.

Food producers are allowed to put “0 g” of Trans Fats on their labels if the amount is 500 mg or less per “serving”.14  By reducing the serving size to a fraction of what a person would realistically use, one will frequently encounter products (i.e.: some brands of peanut butter, for example) that will say “Trans Fats: 0 g.”, and show “hydrogenated vegetable oil” as the second or third ingredient. So, unsuspecting conscientious mothers may still be loading their kids with trans fats, consciously making an effort not to do so, all because of trick labeling.

(A good tip when it comes to buying peanut butter, is to reach for the jar that describes the ingredients as “just peanuts”. The peanut oil will be separated at the top, but all one has to do is thoroughly mix it once, then keep it in the refrigerator so that it will remain mixed.)

The fact remains that, from a nutritional point of view, the consumption of trans fats is not safe at any level9. To the body, it’s a foreign chemical like any other toxic substance and should not be allowed in our food. Yet, there it remains.

The news isn’t all bad, though. With no credit due to the regulators, but rather to an enlightened public using internet communication tools such this, a growing number food processors, restaurants, etc. are acting ahead of the regulators, to reduce the use of trans fats in their products in order to preserve their markets.9

However, honest labeling, at the very least, must still be made mandatory.10


  1. Kilmer S. McCully, Martha McCully,  “The Heart Revolution”, Book; Harper Perennial, ISBN: 0-06-092973-1 (pbk.), pp45
  2. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:212-5. “Role of trans fatty acids in health and challenges to their reduction in Indian foods.” (Abstract:
  1. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;63 Suppl 2:S5-21. “Health effects of trans-fatty acids: experimental and observational evidence.” Mozaffarian D, Aro A, Willett WC. (Abstract:
  1. Atheroscler Suppl. 2006 May;7(2):29-32. Epub 2006 May 18. “Trans fatty acids – effects on systemic inflammation and endothelial function. Mozaffarian D. (Abstract:
  1. Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2011 Jul;31(181):56-9. [Trans-fatty acids–effects on coronary heart disease].[Article in Polish] Karbowska J, Kochan Z. (Abstract:
  1. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2011 Jul-Sep;5(3):161-4. Epub 2012 May 1. “Overview of trans fatty acids: biochemistry and health effects.”Bhardwaj S, Passi SJ, Misra A. (Abstract:
  1. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2010 Dec 27;64:650-8. [Dietary trans-fatty acids and metabolic syndrome]. [Article in Polish] Kochan Z, Karbowska J, Babicz-Zielińska E. (Abstract:
  1. Website, How Trans Fats Accelerate the Obesity Epidemic; Mercola, JM. (Website Link:
  1. Website, Trans-Fat: What Exactly is it, and Why is it so Dangerous? Mercola, JM. (Website Link:
  1. Science Daily, “Call for Truth in Trans Fats Labeling by US FDA: Study Shows How Deceptive Food Labels Lead to Increased Risk of Deadly Diseases”; (Website Link:
  1. “Statins news, articles and information” (Website Link:
  1. – Vitamin D precursors require cholesterol for conversion. (Website Link:
  1. – Cholesterol is required by the body to synthesize vitamin D. Do Statin Drugs Cause Vitamin D Deficiency? (Website Link:
  1. Deceptive Food Labels Can Result in Significant Intake of Trans Fat:

Related articles from


The System

“Spending on health care is rising more rapidly than earnings for workers and their families.”1

When it comes to acute medical care in North American hospitals, we rank among the top nations in the world. US and Canadian hospitals are performing exemplary work in trauma, organ transplant, open heart, brain and other surgeries that save thousands of lives every year.

When it comes to chronic health care the record is abysmal.

The Social Security Advisory Board’s 2009 Report on “The Unsustainable Cost of Health Care” ( shows that spending on healthcare is growing faster than the national income and is expected to grow another 70% in the decade of 2008-2018.

The top 4 (of 8) cited reasons in descending order are technology (includes a significant cost of drugs component), insurance (i.e: protection against unanticipated large out-of-pocket expenses.), aging and demographics (1.e.: baby boomers), and “health status of the population” (i.e.: increases in chronic diseases and obesity).

With sky-high drug costs in the top category, one has to question how many non-drug options might be employed to significantly reduce healthcare costs and perhaps even deliver a better quality of health care.

For Starters, consider the following:

  • There are 200 million prescriptions written per year for beta-blockers to treat heart attack and stroke patients. The American Medical Association reported on a large study that showed little or no benefit to the patients with cardiovascular disease, with possibly even harmful effects in some cases.2
  • The “’over-giving’ and broad-scale use of antibiotics in the community, (is) a practice which has the effect of unnecessarily speeding up the ability of bacteria to evolve their defences.”3.  Read more: 3.  This is leading to alarming increases in resistant bacterial strains in hospitals, all-too-frequently causing the deaths of already immune-compromised patients.
  • America’s healthcare-system-induced deaths are the third leading cause of the death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer. There are12,000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgery, 7000 deaths per year due to medication errors in hospitals, 20,000 deaths per year due to other errors in hospitals, 80,000 deaths per year due to infections in hospitals, and 106,000 deaths per year due to negative effects of drugs. (Source: ,11.

What can be done to improve healthcare?

  • Smoking cessation is something that would significantly contribute to reduced healthcare costs. In a free society such as ours one of the best ways to achieve smoking reduction is through education. There have been great strides in the last couple of decades as smoking gradually loses its social appeal.
  • Reduce over-use of antibiotics (see 3.)
  • Reduce over prescribing of drugs (see above)
  • Medical doctors must learn nutrition: (Front cover of  the prestigious journal “Science” shows that disease prevention comes from food, not pharma5.: Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine’, had it right from the beginning when he said, “Let food be thy medicine.”
  • All healthcare practitioners, food suppliers and governments must provide incentives (example) 9 and education to the public on diabetes prevention10 through weight management, proper diet, avoidance of fructose loading6, avoidance of trans-fats, along with the value and benefits of proper exercise.
  • Our Governments’ and public focus on disease prevention and health promotion will be the only way to save our healthcare systems.  Currently 75% of our healthcare costs go to diseases that are preventable. This insanity can not be sustained by taxpayers.
  • Governments must enforce honest food-product labeling
  • Governments must allow integrative and complementary medical clinics to practice alongside with conventional medical clinics (on the same funding formula as their unchanging colleagues enjoy). Conventional clinics that do not keep up with informed consumer demand would gradually be forced to change, or fall by the wayside.
  • Drug plans must also cover patient use of health-promoting natural supplements along with the already funded pharmaceutical drugs that usually have serious side effects.  Some insurance company health plans have already begun doing this when a patient’s doctor request patient reimbursement for product cost that the physician believes will hasten the recovery.
  • Governments should have a funding formula, similar to that for drug plans, for natural supplements which have proven efficacy and are recommended by the patient’s health professional.
  • Governments could also give tax allowances (or tax credits), under the same provisions as stated above, for insurance companies and for taxpayers who use natural supplements to carefully maintain their good health.
  • The Health Care System must be made more Transparent, Efficient and Accountable. All facets of the the Health Care delivery system must be reconfigured in light of: 1. Promoting Prevention First, 2. Providing Improved Care Team Coordination, 3. Improving Electronic Record Keeping and Inter-Departmental Information Transfer Coordination, 4. Improving the Objective Application of Evidence-Based Treatment, and 5. Providing More Affordable 24/7 Access.  This trend has already begun.12

What can YOU and I do about it?

  • Start by protecting yourself and your family with self-education, by doing all the due diligence you can. We must become our own best Health Care Advocates.
  • Learn how to read trick product labeling that gives only part of the information you are seeking, and often that, in deliberately confusing ways. (Trans fat labeling, for example, is designed to deceive the consumer into believing, in many cases, that the product contains far less than is actually present.)
  • Keep after your politicians and demand honest disclosure in all product labeling. There must be quantitative disclosure of ALL ingredients such as trans fats, GMO7. content, etc.
  • Make relentless use of petitions and emails. They should be sent at every opportunity to politicians at state/provincial and federal health department bureaucrats and legislators.

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OpHealthChoices is a general integrative-health optimization information source tied to current leading-edge research reviews and referral links to professional and other informed opinion, focused upon health awareness/education and disease prevention.

Optimum Health is cultivated by making informed choices and habits with respect to diet, exercise, and toxin avoidance.

In order to thrive in today’s complex and fast-paced world you must become your own best Health Care Advocate.