Trans-Fats. A Little Bit Goes A Long Way Toward Dementia & Alzheimer’s:
We owe an awful lot to technology.
Everything we use to occupy our free-time, improve job-performance, and just become better-educated people can be tied to it in one way or another.
In the future, people who need help with their Health will get help from it too.
Whether it’s precision-surgery, high-resolution imagery, or even AI + Big Data finding & inventing things no human could,
But Technology isn’t always a good thing. And a team from Japan are finding that sometimes its unintended consequences can destroy your health…
Technology Rebuilds The World And Then Eats It:
So, we’re communicating back and forth over several types of networking, through computers, with switches in-between,
Anything you’d want to know can be answered on the internet, which is like a giant intellectual-technology storehouse,
And even X-Rays, MRIs, CT-Scans, and modern drug development are all the results of mountains of it, too.
But The Short Answer for the current work shows that when food-science invented trans-fats, they got it very wrong.
So wrong, that people who eat foods with those fats in them have a much higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease than those who don’t.
Read on to find out more…
Mass-Production And Affordability From Processed-Food:
So the food-science industry started with good-intentions.
Make food cheaper. That’s pretty-much it.
How do you do that? -Mass-produce.
Henry Ford, Adam Smith, & Frederick Winslow Taylor’s collective-invention is the lynchpin to modern affordability of basically anything.
But the food-science industry had a problem dating back to the weirdest Albanians in history, and perhaps even the Mongolians.
Food is perishable.
How are you going to make something cheap, if it spoils before it sells?
Preservatives are one answer, but the sneaker one is this: Stable Ingredients.
And that’s where our old nemesis, Trans-Fats come in.
Because they’re cheap, don’t compromise taste, and last a really long time without going rancid like Butter.
The Crisco Kid Strikes Again. I Really Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!:
So you could keep anything that needed some kind of room-temperature-solid fat in it on the shelf for a looong time.
And that was great to keep people fed on all kinds of interesting things, starting in 1911 with Crisco.
Which they loved, because thanks to many wars, butter was both expensive and scarce.
And then finally in the groovy 60s and 70s, the margarine craze came in full-swing with large food-producers using up all the surplus soybean-oil and turning it into that scary yellow substitute.
But even before then, there were rumblings that something wasn’t right about this recent bout of technological interference by Man,
But they were about 30 years ahead of their time.
And people Still could not believe it wasn’t butter!
Affordable Food Bites Back, Scary Study Results!:
So a few heart-attacks later, and we get to the current work.
About 1600 people in Japan with an average age of 70 and no symptoms of Dementia were studied.
Their blood-levels of Trans-Fats were measured at the start and each person was ranked into one of 4 groups based on how high that level was.
They were then tracked for the next 10 years, with about 380 eventually getting some form of the disease.
So for the group with the highest initial level of Trans-Fats, 25% got Dementia.
Even more chilling is that the second-highest-scoring group also had about a 25% rate, too.
It’s only until you get to the lowest-initial Trans-Fat group that the rate goes down to about 20%.
But wait, it gets worse. Because now the data gets controlled for external-factors.
Once they remove the data from people with other diseases that could add to the Dementia diagnosis rate,
The subjects who had the highest levels were greater than 50% more likely to get the disease than the lowest-level group.
And a bit weirder, the 2nd-highest group were almost 75% more likely than the lowest group to get sick.
What Did They Eat & How Does This Happen?:
So Trans-Fats are mainly-consumed through our old frenemy, Ultra-Processed Foods.
The bulk of these sources posited by lead-author Dr. Toshiharu Ninomiya are:
1) Sweet Pastries
2) Our old pal from the 70s, Margarine
3) Candies & Caramels
4) Non-Sweet Croissants
5) Non-Dairy Creamers
6) Ice Cream
7) Snack Foods Like Rice Crackers or Similar
8) Mass-Produced Cookies
9) Frozen Pizza
10) Microwave Popcorn
11) Fried Foods from any source, Including Restaurants
But Wait! I Thought This Stuff Was Outlawed!:
In 2015, the FDA did put in a ruling that would outlaw Trans-Fats in US food within 3 years.
But then, food-producers were given an extension of 1 year.
And still technically, if allowed by the FDA, a producer can still include them.
In addition to that, there is a loophole that hasn’t been closed yet.
If a product can be said to have equal to or less than 0.5g of TFs per-serving, then they may still be included in the product.
The problem with that is they still seem pretty toxic, even in small-doses.
Dr Ninomiya points-out that you could still have several small servings of these .5g or less items,
And STILL rack-up a fairly-substantial daily intake of total Trans Fats.
Not only that, but there is still some question of whether or not TFs will be excluded from bulk commercial food-items and thus the customers who buy in-size from them.
Also, it is still unclear whether or not TFs will be banned from Restaurants in any way,
Because they may fall under different regulations than companies that mass-produce food in factories like Hostess Cakes, etc.
One other problem the Japanese or other non-US subjects would have is,
TFs are not yet outlawed there the way they are here, so it may be much easier to consume them abroad unknowingly.
So What Are Trans-Fats And Does This Happen?:
The way most of this is produced is to stabilize an oil and thicken it a bit,
It has Hydrogen bubbled through it,
Creating a different type of chemical bond in the chain than something like Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
Which is runny at room-temperature, or Butter which is more solid.
Hence the term, Partially-Hydrogenated.
Strangely-enough, fully-hydrogenated does not appear to be as unhealthy, because the chemical bonds are more like those in butter.
How Do Scientists Think Trans-Fats Are Associated With Disease & Dementia?:
But the way Science thinks it kills you goes a little like this:
1) It wrecks all of the blood-cholesterol. HDLs, LDLs, Trigs, and C-Reactive Protein
(why the hell they didn’t just name it C.R.A.P. I will never know)
2) It disrupts your body’s ability to Metabolize Fat, even the good stuff like EPA, DHA, and Omega-3
3) Because CRAP goes up, this indicates a big rise in Inflammation; -right freaking inside your blood-vessels, too!
4) This has particularly-nasty effect in a large heart-vessel, which is why it gives people CAD, or Coronary-Artery Disease
5) It also gives you Depression by inhibiting a good component of Fish Oil in your Brain
6) The Inflammation TFs cause also occur in the Hippocampus part of the Brain; Ground-Zero for Alzheimer’s
7) They also impede the action of key-proteins that contribute to the process of Memory
8) TFs may also be over-consumed, having some loose association with Obesity & Diabetes, too.
Loopholes And “Dietary Plutonium”:
And that’s where we get a really-important quote about the level of danger TFs pose,
Especially with respect-to that Less Than 0.5g/Serving Loophole.
In 2006, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and his colleagues studied TFs and came up with a staggering result:
“On a per-calorie basis, trans fats appear to increase the risk of CAD more than any other macronutrient, conferring a substantially increased risk at low levels of consumption (1 to 3% of total energy intake).”
-This means for the average male on a 2,000 Calorie/Day diet that between just 20 and 60 calories of TFs can significantly-increase his risk of at-least CAD.
Since Fat is generally stated as 9 Calories/g, that means between 2 and 6 grams/day,
Or between 4 and 12 of those “Trans-Fat-Free”, less than 0.5g/serving loophole-items,
Is the amount it takes to start hurting you. Absolutely Tiny.
Almost right up there with scorpion venom.
So What Can We Do About It Going Forward?:
Just as we’ve talked about in the past, it’s probably a great idea to stay away from ultra-processed foods,
There may also not be a guarantee that your favorite fast-food place isn’t using some form of partially-hydrogenated TFs,
Especially in their french-fry oil; and really, how can you be absolutely-sure?
And that little change would make a big difference if you’re going to eat a hedgehog-sized portion of them, too.
Another idea that keeps coming up, Cooking At Home is almost always healthier and less-fattening.
Existing Inventory & Loopholes May Persist For Awhile:
As for the rest of any processed-foods, the supplies of anything with TFs in them will slowly tail-off after May 2019,
Even though some will probably linger in unexpected-forms for awhile.
There is also no guarantee that the replacement for partially-hydrogenated oils in UPFs will be any safer,
Especially for your coronary artery, your circulatory-system, or even your brain.
So we’ll all probably have to still be careful out there about our Dementia risk from hidden trans-fats until more news from that FDA change; especially considering the loopholes…
• Source: Kyushu U.
• Source Study: Neurology – Serum elaidic acid concentration and risk of dementia, The Hisayama study