Shocking but true: there’s a food worse than sugar

Apparently there’s an enemy in our food supply that is so devastating, it’s giving sugar a run for its money for the “unhealthiest food on the planet” award. According to a new study, it can wreak even more havoc than fructose, the sugar that puts you on the fast track to obesity and diabetes. I’ll tell you what this all-too-common food is in just a moment, but first, let me fill you in on some of the study details…

Researchers from California designed this study with the goal of finding out whether fat or sugar caused the greatest health problems. They fed mice a series of four diets that mimicked what Americans typically consume. Now, as you probably know, animal studies aren’t my first choice when it comes to research. But the genes in our livers and the genes in the livers of mice act fairly similarly. And this study produced some profound results that I thought were worth sharing.

I also liked the fact that this study took a side-by-side look at the impact saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and fructose had on obesity and diabetes — two of the main diseases I love to hate.

So here’s what the four diets consisted of:

  1. The first consisted of 40% unsaturated fat, which was mainly from soybean oil
  2. The second was mainly 40% saturated fat which consisted mainly of coconut oil
  3. The third was 40% soybean oil with added fructose.
  4. And the fourth was 40% coconut oil with added fructose.

To keep things even, each of the four diets had the same amount of calories, and roughly the same quantity of food.

The theory was that the mice who ate the diet comprised of fat and fructose would gain the most weight and develop more health problems. Because it’s well-known that fructose is a principle driver when it comes to developing diabetes.

But what happened was something completely different.

The mice that ate the first diet rich in unsaturated soybean oil gained 9% more weight than the mice who consumed diet No. 3 that combined soybean oil and fructose.

Even more startling (to the researchers, anyway): The mice who ate the soybean oil diet gained 25% more weight than the mice who ate the coconut oil diet. Which, once again, proves the point I always make: Saturated fat is not your enemy

In fact, the unsaturated soybean-oil diet was, by far, the most devastating. Those mice had fattier livers and more insulin resistance. Which, as you know, are both signs of “stowaway sugar,” metabolic syndrome and diabetes. (To read more about stowaway sugar and the havoc it wreaks on your health, refer back to the April 2014 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter.)

Why does this matter? Because soybean oil is in everything. In fact, half of all the vegetable oil produced in the world is soybean oil.

And because it’s cheap, it’s almost always an ingredient in packaged foods.

The researchers aren’t completely sure what makes soybean oil so horrible, but they think it has something to do with the way it influences the genes that determine how the liver metabolizes fat.

There was also striking evidence that soybean oil significantly affects the body’s response to drugs and environmental toxins. Why? Oh, I don’t know…could itmaybe have something to do with the fact that over 93% of soybeans in this country are genetically modified to resist pesticides?

Yes, I’m looking at you Monsanto! (But don’t even get me started on them — there’s not enough space here for me to write all the obscenities I have for that evil conglomerate.)

More research is needed to get to the bottom of how soybean oil wrecks our health. But there’s no reason to wait around to find out. Steer clear of it at all costs. And while you’re at it, ditch the corn oil, canola oil, and other polyunsaturated fats too.

I’ve said it a thousand times, but macadamia nut oil is the best choice. Not only is it more versatile, but, unlike those other oils, it’s actually GOOD for you. In fact, it’s one of the richest sources of healthy monounsaturated fats in the world (making it even healthier than extra virgin olive oil).


“Added Fructose: A Principal Driver of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Its Consequences. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015; 90(3): 372-381