W1D5 – First Week Wrap-Up

So far this week, we’ve covered some benefits of the real food we’ve been eating. Just as important though, are the benefits of avoiding the processed food products we haven’t been eating.

The Big Three Things We Haven’t Eaten:

  1. “Vegetable” Oil
  2. Wheat
  3. Added Sugar

Press on for some of the reasoning behind avoiding these three “neolithic agents of disease” as they’re sometimes called.

“Vegetable” Oil

You may have noticed that I keep putting vegetable in quotations. I do this because “vegetable oil” is quite a misnomer:

Not to mention that, with the exception of fruits like olive and coconut (and a few oddballs like cold-pressed peanut oil), all “vegetable” oils are extracted using the poisonous solvent hexane—and this chemical process is responsible for over two-thirds of the hexane emissions in the United States. Soybean processing facilities emit a gallon of hexane for each ton of soybeans processed—which means a large soy processing plant emits over five million pounds of hexane per year!

Even more importantly, hexane processing strips the remaining nutrients from the oil, and turns a significant quantity of polyunsaturated fats into inflammatory, artery-clogging trans fats! (Anywhere from 0.5% to 4.2% of the total, according to this paper…and you won’t see them on the nutrition label, either.) Since replacing just 2% of calories with dietary trans fat is associated with a doubling of death risk from cardiovascular disease, this is a significant health issue.

“Vegetable oil” isn’t a food. It’s an industrial product, and it has no place in our diet.

“Vegetable” Oil has a few other problems as well. Being primarily MUFA and PUFA, it is highly unstable (vulnerable to oxidation), and as such, shouldn’t be stored at room temperature in clear bottles (like at the grocery store) or heated (like in most restaurants in the country). Also, the majority of that PUFA is of the Omega-6 variety, which as we learned on Monday, is pro-inflammatory.

In the future, use this article to decide which oils to use.


First, go learn a little bit about wheat. (This is an excerpt from a book reprinted on a blog).

Second, read about two gluten studies.

Third, take in this “Case for Going Gluten-Free“.

Fourth, check out this study that showed elevated inflammatory markers in non-coeliac subjects in response to gliadin (a glycoprotein in wheat).

And if you’re still not convinced there may be something here, review this study titled “Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects without Celiac Disease“.

From the abstract:

On a visual analog scale, patients were significantly worse with gluten within 1 week for overall symptoms (P=0.047), pain (P=0.016), bloating (P=0.031), satisfaction with stool consistency (P=0.024), and tiredness (P=0.001).

Added Sugar

Definitely the least detrimental of the three in my opinion, but still not your friend; the issue with added sugar is primarily large doses of fructose.

The Bottom Line

I’ve found that a very productive way to approach your diet is the following:

Only eat foods that improve your health.

You can argue all day about whether the big three above really damage your health (they do), but it doesn’t matter. At the very least, they are displacing other foods in your diet that could actually be improving your health.

So throw out the french fries, bagels, and soda – and eat some real food instead.

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