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By Beatrice Trum Hunter From her book
'Consumer Beware. Your food and what's been done to it'.

Margarine, in addition to its hydrogenation, has other objectionable features that make it an artificial product. An artificial butter like flavour and odour are achieved with Diacetyl. To ensure enjoyment of these these qualities, isopropyl or stearyl citrates are added.These additives are euphemistically labelled "flavour protectors".Additional attempts to achieve butter-like qualities are made with artificial colour, lecithin to imitate the frying behaviour of butter, and synthetic vitamins to "enrich" the product. Sodium Benzoate, benzoic acid or citric acid may be added as preservatives. The benzoates are known poisons, with severe reactions in sensitive individuals, resulting occasionally in death. In addition to these items, which usually appear on the label, emulsifiers (monoglycerides, diglycerides, and others) may be present but undeclared.

A fat is distinguished from an oil by its physical consistency. At room temperature if solid, it is considered a fat; if liquid, an oil. How is the liquid oil or soft fat hardened? It is exposed to a high temperature and placed under pressure. Hydrogen is then bubbled through the oil in the presence of nickel, platinum or some other catalyst. The hydrogen atoms combine with the carbon atoms, and the product becomes saturated or hardened. The new compound bears no relationship to the original oil. It is dark, malodorous or foul smelling grease. It is then bleached with corrosive chemicals to finish the change from an organic to an inorganic substance; from a live to a dead concoction.Technologists' skill are used to bleach, filter and deodorise it into a pure white, odourless, tasteless, highly artificial fat. It may be processed further for making shortening, lard or margarine.

The heating of the oil ruins its original character, with destruction of all vitamins and minerals as well as an alteration of proteins. The essential fatty acids (EFA) are destroyed or changed into abnormal toxic fatty acids antagonistic to EFA..The synthetic fat forms new molecular structure unacceptable to the human physiology. Dr. Hugh Sinclair at the Laboratory of Human Nutrition, Oxford University, has found that lack of EFA "is a contributory cause in neurological diseases, heart disease, arteriosclerosis, skin disease, various degenerative conditions such as cataract, arthritis and cancer".

John H. Tobe, in his book "Margarine- The Plastic Fat" wrote: "Finely pulverised nickel is used in practically all processes of hydrogenation. It is clearly admitted in a book entitled 'Industrial Chemistry' that all the nickel can never be filtered out no matter how hard they try. A quote from this book: 'The commercial procedure is to suspend finely divided nickel in the oil heated to 250 to 300 degrees F(121 to 149 degrees C) and blow in hydrogen gas... The nickel is used in amounts of 0.5 to 1 percent of the weight of the oil'.

I checked further and to my utter amazement I found that the product used by the industry at large is a substance called Raney Nickel. Very few people know, but the Merck's Index reveals that Raney Nickel catalyst is prepared by fusing 50 parts nickel with 50 parts aluminium, for use as catalyst for the hydrogenation of organic compounds with gaseous hydrogen. Usually from 1 to 10% of the substance to be reduced is employed. In 'Industrial Chemistry' they state 0.5 to 1 percent catalyst is used. Merck's Index reads from 1 to 10 percent is used. Doctors- good, respectable, intelligent,capable medical men of unimpeachable integrity - recommend and advise that their patients who are in danger of or have had heart troubles, give up the use of butter and instead, use margarine. May God in His mercy on the medical men who are giving this advice to their patients - and even more so on their patients."

Henry A. Schroeder, M.D. wrote in 'Journal of Chronic Diseases' : "There is no assurance that nickel, if used as a catalyst leaves no residue in the product. This element, even in minute quantities in the diet, is suspected of being a carcinogen (Cancer causing). In addition, the role of abnormal metals such as nickel has been studied in relation to arteriosclerosis. One metal can replace another and inactivate it in a biologic system, so that there is a possibility that the nickel competes with an essential metal in the enzyme system of the body and produces a vitamin B6 (pyrodoxine) deficiency. This vitamin plays an important role in converting saturates to unsaturates in the body."

Sir John McMichael, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of London says: "Many doctors have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by propaganda into widespread acceptance of a dietary fashion for polyunsaturated fats".

Margarine manufacturers have advertised their wares as containing unsaturates. Significant quantities are unlikely, regardless of the raw materials used, because of the hydrogenation of the product. Many claims fail to tell the whole story, and typify what advertising agencies call "avoidance of negative appeal". Slogans have been devised so that "a little inaccuracy saves a world of explanation". Advertising copywriters for margarine have shifted from direct to indirect health claims. References to heart disease or doctor's prescriptions are made less frequently. Instead these have been superseded by phrases like "high in unsaturates" or "low in saturated fats".

It is well to remember the observation of Dr.Franklin Bicknell about World War 2 in   Norway where margarine factories had been destroyed, arterial diseases decreased. In England, during the same period, with margarine factories intact, arterial diseases increased. He commented:"...our increasing arterial degeneration a preventable pandemic disease of modern foods and especially of modern bread, milk and margarine".

Despite the shocking implications of hydrogenation, the process is used almost universally by food processors. Far worse, it is accepted and fully sanctioned by government agencies responsible for the consumer's welfare. It is difficult, if not virtually impossible, to avoid hydrogenated fats, commonly used in restaurants, bakeries, and hundreds of consumer food products; packaged dehydrated soups, chocolates, sweets, bread, biscuits, etc.



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This article was published on Wednesday 27 September, 2006.
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1.Ayurveda Sanctuary, Karnataka, India
2.Atmasantulana Village, Near M.T.D.C., Karla, Maharashtra
3.Jiva Ayurveda Clinic and Panchakarma Centre, Faridabad, Haryana
4.Solai Panchakarma Treatment Centre, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
5.Ayurveda Sanctuary, Udupi, Karnataka, India
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8.Shri Dhanwantri Ayurvedic College, Chandigarh
9.The Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam Clinic & Research Institute (AVC) – Coimbatore, Tamilnadu.
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1.Solai Panchakarma Treatment Centre, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
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4.Atmasantulana Village, Near M.T.D.C., Karla, Maharashtra
5.Jiva Ayurveda Clinic and Panchakarma Centre, Faridabad, Haryana

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