Inflammatory, trans, or linoleate?

As much as I’d like to say this is the nail-in-the-coffin, omega-6 causes irreversible fatality, I have a confession.

I believe it’s the empty calories, not the inflammatory omega-6 devil linoleate.  Biscuits, cookies, processed foods of all shapes and sizes are simply the delivery vehicles for industrially modified and probably “trans” fats that started out innocent enough as soybean oil or omega-6 vegetable oils.

linoleate is the quintessential omega-6 fatty acid and is found at high levels in vegetable oils.  just like the omega-3 linolenate found in soybean oil, processing of the oils usually damages them – turns them into trans fats and/or oxidizes them (by “oxidizes” I don’t mean fat burning, see pictorial below)

So despite the impeccable statistical anvil thrown at these data, which seem to clearly implicate linoleate, I don’t think it’s the linoleate.  H E double hockey sticks, we probably don’t get enough normal unmodified linoleate.  Unless you’re cracking shells, even “raw” almonds are Pasteurized.  

unshelled nuts

don’t sanitize your food.  your meat needn’t be burned, nor your nuts Pasteurized.

Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis  (Ramsden et al., 2013)

Admittedly, this is a pretty scary graph, but even the stats weren’t that good:mortality

To be clear, when I say linoleate, I mean native Dc9,c12 18:2n6 – eat as much as you want as long as it comes from natural unmodified whole food.

When they say linoleate, it means a lot of things, including but not limited to this:trans fats

and this:peroxidation

but really this:junk food

In other words, cut out the empty calories and you’ll never have to worry about linoleate again.  (like I know you’ve been doing all along)

calories proper

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  • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

    I just upgraded the newsletter, so you might need to rescue it from your spam folder.
    Thanks!

    Bill

  • pingping

    Hi Bill, What’s empty calories?

    • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

      Food with a lot of calories but not a lot of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, protein, healthy fats, etc., etc.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_calorie

      and here are some articles I wrote in 2011: http://caloriesproper.com/?s=%22empty+calories%22&paged=2

      • http://www.facebook.com/georged.henderson George Henderson

        Did you write the Wiki article? “To some extent fats” is a good catch. Fats (esp. SFAs) are less demanding on micronutrient reserves, using fewer enzymes and vitamin co-enzymes than sugars to convert to energy.

        • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

          Hi George, I didn’t write the wiki article, but that’s a good/interesting point. To make matters worse, I have a feeling that the PUFAs in processed foods are all beat up (perox’d, trans, etc.) – so not just “less demanding,” but actually using up resources.

  • pingping

    So Empty calories are the bad guys who make trouble. Is there any study show that empty calories are enough to cause problem?

    • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

      yes, many! the question is: which empty calorie and what problem? Check out the Empty Calories series I linked to earlier (it’s a start)…

      but knowing you, Pingping, I have a feeling you are asking for a very specific type of study. What kind of study do you want?

      • pingping

        Thanks Bill! the empty calories have direct effect or due to the short of vitamins, minerals etc? At least empty calories (carbohydrate and fat) are fuel to body, if we eat a little bit empty calories and supplement with vitamins etc, do you think it still cause problem?

        • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

          Hi Pingping, you’re welcome, and thanks for the great comments. Happy Valentine’s Day!

          the answer to all of you questions is this: eat a better diet :)

          some of the symptoms caused by eating a poor diet or too many empty calories can be temporarily masked with supplements & pills, but this is not a good solution (imo)… eating a better diet is.

          On another note, I still think you are looking for one mechanism or compound that is necessary and sufficient to explain the effects of a lifetime of eating excessive empty calories; or the same but on a bite-sized scale eg, a Cell paper :/ am I correct? … if so, good luck! Let me know what you find out, it will probably be a very fruitful quest.

          all best and see you soon,
          Bill

  • http://www.facebook.com/georged.henderson George Henderson

    If you really must get more of that “pure unmodified linoleic acid” than you’ll find in your meat then crack some nuts by all means. But don’t let soy oil, corn oil etc off the hook. If you consume more linoleate than you need (less than 4% calories) it’ll peroxidise in your blood or membranes. It will magnify any oxidative insult produced by your own cells because of inflammation, infection, UV radiation, toxins or faulty metabolism.
    Why? Who needs to eat these things? Did our ancestors consume them and evolve to require them? Or did they just grab a handful of nuts now and then, and get most of their dietary fat from animals.

    • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

      Hi George,

      Thanks for the comment.

      And good call, I should have been clearer – I don’t think there will ever actually be a situation where linoleate deficiency develops in someone who eats junk food.

      My guess is that any theoretical linoleate requirement can be met with a lot of things (industrially modified linoleate, PUFA trans fats, [omega-3 fatty acids?], etc.). However, FWIW, I don’t really think there is a true bona fide requirement specifically for linoleate.

      best,

      Bill

  • http://www.facebook.com/georged.henderson George Henderson

    What do trans fats actually do wrong? They inhibit the elongation and beta-oxidation of parent EFAs (mainly linoleate). So there is a synergy between trans-fat toxicity and linoleate overload. Trans fats in the diet mean that linoleate is more likely to accumulate to dangerous levels.

    • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

      Hi George,

      I wish I knew!

      While trans fats likely have a specific detrimental effect on one or more biochemical pathways, I think a lot of the damage is mediated by the foods which harbor them – often high carb, high n6, high tUFA, etc.

      best,
      Bill

  • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

    Food-derived peroxidized fatty acids may trigger hepatic inflammation: a novel hypothesis to explain steatohepatitis.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23665282

  • http://www.caloriesproper.com/ William Lagakos

    266 F x 30 min = dietary thermolyzed fats & AGEs = lipid peroxidation in vivo.

    High fat and highly thermolyzed fat diets promote insulin resistance and increase DNA damage in rats.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19855071

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