I was listening to Nina Teicholz, an investigative science journalist, who has the most fascinating, or perhaps scary is a better word, book on vegetable oils. To start with, vegetable oils are not made from vegetables, they are made from seeds and beans. Vegetable oils are a very recent addition to the human diet. And one that has only really become ubiquitous recently. The natural fats that we used to eat were suet, lard, butter and tallow, plus coconut oil and palm oil in Asian countries. Vegetable oils were actually used to lubricate machinery during the industrial revolution. (Yikes! It gets worse). In order to stabilise vegetable oils, which go rancid very quickly in their unprocessed form, they hydrogenated these oils in the 1910s. Originally the plan was to use these more stable hydrogenated oils as soaps, but they thought that it looked a lot like lard and poof puff Crisco was invented and marketed as a modern marvel. This was when margarine came on the scene as well. In the 1940s vegetable oils became much more prolific because they were able to stabilise them enough to sell in your local grocery store. They were marketed as a health food and The American Heart Association began actively promoting unsaturated fats like Crisco. What’s worrying about the amount of vegetable oils being consumed, is what Nina describes as the outcome of the ‘Pure Study’; the largest ever epidemical study ever in this area showed that the people with the lowest amount of saturated fat, lead to the highest risk of stroke. Is this from the low level of saturated fat? Or the high level of vegetable oils? Unknown, but I think I’ll stick with my butter! Nina a book where you can learn more call The Big Fat Surprise.