Interesterified fat is a new ingredient you're gonna start to see on your ingredient lists, and please watch out for it. Being someone who's often talking about nutrition, sports medicine and health I'm usually engrossed in a variety of conversations at parties and yesterday was no exception. A friend came to me with a box of graham crackers and asked me about some new fat she'd never seen before. I read the ingredient list and there it was, a fat I had never seen before either. So I wake up this morning and to my amazement still remembering the name of the fat I plug the name into Google and start to read. To me it started to seem like this was the food industries new replacement for hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oil. A new form of fat reportedly equally as bad as trans fat. But, without some science, the alarmists out there could just be paranoid. Further investigation was needed.
So I went to the internet source of all things research - PubMed. Pub Med has the synopsis of most registered scientific research journals and if there's been research done, you'll at least find an abstract on PubMed, enough to give you a good idea and a good reference or two to further your research.
A n d s o I d i d...
It seems public education & awareness of trans fats are pressuring industry so much they have to "stick and move" and try to find some other alternative to strategically keep their products on the shelf longer and preserve those higher profit margins. You see, the more a company has to rotate their products in/out of a grocery store because of expiration dates, the less profit they make on those items. Understandably, any business owner would want to do the same thing. But with trans fats, hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils and the new Interesterified Fat, they are doing it at the expense of your health.
To get an Interesterified Fat, they "hydrogenate the oils fully. The oils become fully saturated and there are no trans fats left. But fully hydrogenated oil is hard and inedible. So the smart aleck scientists mix it with liquid oils and put it through other chemical processes to create a semi-solid grease like margarine and vegetable shortening"(1)
According to an article in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism entitled Stearic acid-rich interesterified fat and trans-rich fat raise the LDL/HDL ratio and plasma glucose relative to palm olein in humans by Sundram K, Karupaiah T, Hayes KC.; both interesterified fat and trans fat from partial hydrogenation were found to raise LDL and lower HDL cholesterol(2).
This means, food scientists have found a brand new way to raise your bad fat, lower your good fat and give you a greater chance at having a heart attack or stroke at a younger age. Once again proving my point that science is hard pressed to improve on something mother nature made.
And...guess what??? That's not all the good news. Fasting plasma glucose levels tested at the end of each test fat period revealed a significantly high value after interesterified fat intake, even more than with the partially hydrogenated oil tested. This stuff raises the amount of glucose (sugar) streaming through your blood, something found in ALL of the humans subjects tested(2). This means your triglycerides go higher too. Wooopee...you're getting closer to that heart attack...
So the news is out. Let me restate it plainly and right from the research (with my comment in red).
1. Both interesterified fat and trans fat from partial hydrogenation were found to raise LDL and lower HDL cholesterol(2). This means it raises your bad cholesterol and lowers your good cholesterol.
2. Fasting plasma glucose levels tested at the end of each test fat period revealed a significantly high value after interesterified fat intake. This means this new interesterified fat increases the sugar levels in your blood.
So consider this a public health warning: Interesterified Fats are as bad and possibly worse than trans fats. Stay away from them. There are no safe levels of ingesting trans fats and I'm telling you there's no safe level of consuming interesterified fats.
Now, for the political types out there:
Being a businessman myself, I'm all for profits. I'm not going to hide that. I mean, why else would you be in business? But, being a physician, I have to fully explain to each patient all the possible side effects of my treatments. I actually have a form that has all of the possible side effects on it that the patient has to read, sign and date. Then, after than, some patients ask me about them and we have a conversation based on those possibilities as it pertains to their particular case. AND...I'm still in business. So why is it we have to have yet another way to deceive the public that an ingredient in the "food like substances" they are selling is is bad for us? Why wont the government (the people supposedly out to protect us) make industry fully and openly inform us so we can make an educated decision for ourselves and our families? If there's an ingredient in a company's product that is harmful to the public, it should have a warning label - period! Let the public decide after that. After all, this is one main factor that drives supply and demand and is an integral part of capitalism! Industry can't be industry with out the consumer. I challenge industry to openly and honestly inform us of the ingredient in their products...and in plain ole' simple language.
Consider yourself informed and warned.
2. Stearic acid-rich interesterified fat and trans-rich fat raise the LDL/HDL ratio and plasma glucose relative to palm olein in humans; Sundram K, Karupaiah T, Hayes KC. Nutrition & Metabolism 2007, 4:3 (15 January 2007)
Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He is 1 of 230 chiropractic sports injury specialists in the United States and practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.