Hope you’re doing well.
Today, I want to share with you my take on David Gillespie’s new book: Toxic Oil, which was recently published in Australia.
Gillespie is a corporate lawyer turned into an author (http://sweetpoison.com.au/?page_id=2). His first book is Sweet Poison Why Sugar Makes Us Fat.
It has brought so much controversy as he is neither a dietitian/nutritionist nor a health professional nevertheless saying that sugar is poisonous. (and i’m thinking- where did all these come from!)
Today, we won’t be talking about his first book but his latest one- Toxic Oil: Why vegetable oil will kill you and how to save yourself.
Before we start, I just want to make myself clear that I am just lining out the position statement on this book by Heart Foundation, released in February 2013. I have no interest or association with anyone or any food industry. I am here, as a dietitian, to reach out and inform the evidence surrounding this book. Why did I do it? Just because it is my interest to get the right message out to consumers and public. Because it bothers me that someone can publish a book based on theory which is against the national guideline, against the scientific evidence.
This is what the description of the book- from Itunes Books:
Everything you believe about fat is wrong.
Polyunsaturated oil – everyone knows it’s good for you, right? Wrong! And we all know artery-clogging, cholesterol-forming saturated fat is bad for you, don’t we? Wrong again! In his previous book Big Fat Lies, David Gillespie showed that these ‘truths’ are in fact myths, based on poor research and bad evidence.
‘Vegetable oil’, which isn’t made from vegetables at all, but manufactured from seeds, has systematically replaced saturated fats in our diets over the past one hundred years, but our rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are higher than ever.
There have been many studies done in the past. All chronic diseases, including heart disease, are not caused by only one particular thing. There are always a few factors affecting heart disease in an individual. Take Mr.A- he is a successful businessman, a smoker, exercise everyday, eat quite healthily with occasional junk food. Can he have a heart disease? Maybe. And if he did have a heart disease, could we really pinpoint the cause? Is it the smoking? Is it the occasional junk food? or is it the stress? or perhaps the combination of everything? It’s really complex and it’s difficult to determine a single cause.
Literatures show that replacing saturated fat in your diet with unsaturated fat, in particular polyunsaturated fat, reduce your heart disease risk. This is in contrary to what Gillespie says in his book. The Heart Foundation believes that the claim in his book is dangerous, misleading and wrong (quoted from the position statement by Heart Foundation). If you follow such advice, it could lead to the rapid development of serious health conditions.
This position statement regarding unsaturated fats and heart disease risk is not only by Heart Foundation, but also by the worlds leading health organizations, such as World Health Organisation, British Heart Foundation and American Heart Association. On national level, this is supported by Dietitians Association of Australia and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC- contributor of our Australian Guide to Healthy Eating).
So, now you see what I meant- how could a lawyer give such advice- not to mention advice against world leading health organization?
The Heart Foundation, like other health organizations, is committed to helping Australians lead a healthy lifestyle by recommending advice based on good quality, strong scientific evidence and is continually reviewing the evidence.
To cut the story short- everyone, don’t be afraid of healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).
Image from http://www.livestrong.com/article/399182-safflower-vs-sunflower-oil/
Evidence shows that omega-6 polyunsaturated fats reduce your bad or LDL cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol, which helps to lower the risk of heart disease.
and what about saturated fats? until this date, the literatures still strongly stand that saturated fats and trans fat are unhealthy fats. too much of it increases cholesterol and over the time causes the build up of fatty material on the inside of your blood vessels. These material blocks the blood flowing through the blood vessels and is a major cause of heart disease (stroke or heart attack). If you can imagine, you’re watering the garden with your water hose. If we are being slack and say- there is soil and dirt built up on the inside of the water hose, over the time the water flow is reduced and eventually blocked completely. no water coming out of the other side of the water hose=no blood flow which means no oxygen to the heart and brain thus stroke or heart attack occur.
Image from http://www.wisegeek.org/how-does-artery-plaque-build-up.htm
the last thing I want to talk about is margarine. there is a claim that margarine and some oils are unhealthy because they undergo industrial process and have trans fats.
this was true a gazillion years ago. margarine in history (this was years and years and years ago) did contain trans fat due to the hydrogenation process (converting oil to a solid spreadable margarine).
However, Australian margarine nowadays are made from locally grown polyunsaturated and monounsaturated plant seed oils, water, milk and salt to taste. The most important thing is hydrogenation is no longer used in margarines and polyunsaturated oils on the supermarket shelf contain negligible trans fats.
Image from http://www.hospitalityinfocentre.co.uk/Fats%20&%20OIls/margarine.htm
If you see preservatives on the label- it is often citric acid or lemon juice and is put to keep the spread tasting fresh. And what about carotenoids? it is there for colour.
I hope I’m not confusing anybody here! What you have to remember from this rather-long-post are:
- there is no reason to be scared of polyunsaturated oils. use them wisely, i’m not saying that you should drizzle generously, but there is absolutely no harm in using polyunsaturated oils.
- saturated fats and trans fats are unhealthy fats. they can be found in butter, processed foods, junk foods, biscuits and cookies, etc. we should minimize them in our diet.
- Australian margarines contains almost no trans fat. if there is, it would be negligible and we shouldn’t need to worry!
- I would never recommend anyone to buy this book. waste of money for incorrect information. head over to a trustworthy website such as Heart Foundation website, DAA website, etc. even better, find an Accredited Practising Dietitian near you, if you need help! we are here to help!
- pass this message to your friends and family! we want everyone to get the right, evidence-based information.
If you need more information on Heart Foundation’s statement on Gillespie’s book Toxic Oil, please click Heart Foundation statement – Toxic Oil – David Gillespie Feb 2013 (1) for the complete statement.
For more information about the Heart Foundation position on healthier fats, click here.
For more information about the Heart Foundation position on saturated fats, click here.
For more information about the Heart Foundation position on sugar, click here.
If you want to know what Paula Goodyer of Sydney Morning Herald has to say about Gillespie’s Toxic Oil, click here. I was really glad when she stated “I’m inclined to take dietary advice from respected nutritionists, rather than lawyers.”
Heart Foundation. 2013. Heart foundation response to claims in David Gillespie’s Toxic Oil.
Images of Gillespie’s Toxic Oil book and its description are from iTunes- Books website https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/toxic-oil/id602050247?mt=11.
Image of Gillespie’s Sweet Poison book is from iTunes- Books website https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/sweet-poison/id491198216?mt=11
Disclaimer: this post is intended only for education and is based on Heart Foundation’s statement which you can find on the references or Heart Foundation website. I am not associated with any industry or organization. and I did not receive any monetary reimbursement for this post.