I admit it. I'm a "sweet-o-holic." My nutrition motto during my pre-heart bypass years was, "Life is Uncertain. Eat Dessert First." And it still is.
When I was a kid I couldn't wait for those mouth watering delicious pies and cakes to come out of the oven.
The shortening that Mom used for baking in those days was Crisco. Some of you may remember their slogan, "Cooks who know trust Crisco."
History shows that this trust was misplaced. It definitely was not a heart healthy food. And it isn't a whole lot better now.
For more than half a century the public had no inkling that one tablespoon of Crisco contained 2 grams of trans fats...or that trans fats are instrumental in causing heart arteries to clog.
In the Harvard School of Public Health Nurses Health Study, it was shown that people who "enjoyed" only 3 grams of trans fat (about 27 calories per day) in their diet increased their risk of heart attack by nearly 200%! Not what the average person would call heart healthy foods.
Prior to 1909, dietary fats primarily consisted of butterfat, beef tallow, and lard, but in 1909 Procter and Gamble began marketing Crisco, the miracle shortening composed largely of partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.
The effect of trans fats on human health was largely kept quiet by special interests until Dr. Mary G. Enig, one of the world's leading biochemists and a pioneer in research on fats and oils published her findings in 1978.
Although there's no way for me to prove it, I am convinced that Crisco played a leading role in the clogging of six of my favorite arteries.
If you have been counting on a government agency (the FDA) to guide and protect you from choosing unsafe foods, I suggest that you take a look at their record.
The US Food and Drug Administration bureaucracy took more than 25 years to finally consent to showing the amount of trans fats on food labels, and even today does not warn against their dangers to our health.
As a concession to food processors they are allowed to show "zero" trans fats on the label if the amount is less than 1 gram per serving, however the serving size on the label is usually understated.
Can you depend on their diet recommendations?
Sorry, but their advice leaves much to be desired.
As of September 2012 their Nutrition Committee allowed 2 grams of trans fats in a heart healthy diet.They recommend limiting saturated fat, and instead use vegetable oils that have been ruined by processing. You be the judge.
For years the American Heart Association has maligned eggs, meat and dairy products as "cholesterol producing" which their "experts" contend increases risk of heart disease.
Dr. Enig responds, "The fact is that for the last four decades, saturated fats have been condemned for the misdeeds of polyunsaturated fats, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates."
Saturated fats are not only good for you...they are essential, and may keep you from having a heart attack or stroke. Your body needs saturated fat to nourish your heart, brain, nerves and hormones. Every cell membrane is ideally made up of 50% saturated fat including your brain.
So what are the lessons here? Be careful who you trust. The tried and true heart healthy food that our ancestors ate, such as butter, meat and eggs not only taste best but they are the best heart healthy foods!
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