With obesity on the rise, in step with an abundance of other ailments, disease, depression, etc., is anyone else in the slightest bit disturbed by Dunkin’ Donuts catchy marketing phrase—“America runs on Dunkin’?”
I cannot tell you the amount of times I hear a radio advertisement for Dunkin’ Donuts, only to hear it followed by an ad for an anti-depressant, or weight loss surgery. It is no wonder people are struggling with their health. Heck! If I were still trying to fix my problems with donuts, lattes and bagels, seduced by cream cheese (or any junk food, for that matter), I would be on that Doctors examining table right now.
The messages we receive seem to be convoluted a bit, eh? It becomes an endless cycle of junk food, followed by obesity, depression, high cholesterol, etc., that we then try to remedy with a pill, or even scarier—surgery! I would never condemn someone for seeking one of these solutions as an answer to their problems. Sometimes it seems like the only way out. Advertisers would certainly like to have us believe that, at least. Luckily, it isn’t. There is a better way.
It starts with understanding the difference between fat, fat and fat.
First of all, all fats are far from the same. Often time fat is condemned as being evil. Fat, itself is not the issue. Some fats are great! Some are good. Some are bad. And some are just downright, horrific. Hydrogenated oils are one of them.
Hydrogenated oils, of any kind, are just bad news bears. Hydrogenation is a “special industrial process” that alters the chemical structure of an unsaturated oil, so that it becomes classified as a partially saturated oil. In other words, it is an unnatural process that alters the chemical structure of a fat. It makes liquid fat, solid. Big Food likes hydrogenated oils because they add flavor that is both cheap, and shelf-stable. In turn, these chemically altered fats are more difficult for the body to process, which, places stress on the body.
Hydrogenated oils and trans fat.
A few years back, there was this big hype about trans fat. From an onlooker’s point of view, it could have seemed like, all of a sudden, trans fat were the root cause of all the world’s problems. Trans fat are responsible for raising bad cholesterol, in addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and an endless amount of problems. Due to the hype, many products, wishing to stay in the game, may have altered their ingredients slightly, and now proudly display “Contains no trans fat!” on their packaging.
Hip! Hip! Hooray, right? Not necessarily. Actually, if a product contains only a very minute amount of trans fat (less than 0.5g, per serving), it can claim that it contains zero (And who actually eats the recommended serving size?). The real truth is, if a product contains any ingredients that are hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or it contains margarine or shortening… it does contain trans fat. Trans fats, even in seamlessly small amounts, accumulate in the body. (Imagine stacking blocks of trans fat in your body). And while an excess of any fat is not a good thing, there is not one good thing about trans fat in the diet. Plain and simple—trans fats, and hydrogenated fats, DAMAGE the body, and weaken the immunity.
These dangerous little guys are lurking around every corner. Just because a product claims that it is low in fat, or calories, does not mean that it is a free ticket for consumption. However, in a society that relies on the calorie, or fat, content of a product, in order to estimate its health status, it can be undeniably easy to fall prey, and ignore the more frightening ingredients. (Anyone ever suck on those Baskin-Robbins, sugar-free hard candies (or any sugar-free candy, for that matter)? I did. Sure, they may be “sugar-free,” but they contain ingredients like HYDROGENATED STARCH HYDROLYSATE. That does not sound even remotely nutritious).
The easiest way to avoid bad fats is simply to avoid processed foods.
Why? Processed foods are produced in mass quantities, and meant to last for months, maybe even years, on the shelves of your grocery store. There is nothing fresh about them. Less fresh, more processed, more additives, means less nutrients, regardless of what the package reports.
Additionally, while processed goods, as a whole, are not beneficial, I always have to wonder about the products that use the statement, “Contains 0 Zero Trans Fat,” as a major selling point. You don’t see an avocado with a trans fat free label, but you do see it advertised on candy, popcorn, peanut butter, cookies, crackers, frozen foods, fast food, salad dressing, donuts, etc. etc. etc. These are all foods that may contain hydrogenated (fill in the blank).
It is all about reaching back to the basics.
Feel good about what you put into your body, and your body will feel good.
Have you ever been surprised to find that a certain food contained hydrogenated oils? How has eliminated processed food from your diet, made you feel?