What does heart disease and cancer have in common with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes mellitus, stroke, obesity, metabolic syndromes, Alzheimer’s disease, Macular Degeneration, and other chronic diseases of modern society? These conditions have all increased in alarming numbers over the past decade. They are all related to the use of seed oils.
Recent speech by Dr. Chris Knobbe at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel titled “Diseases of Civilization” titled “Diseases of Civilization? Are Seed Oil Excesses The Unifying Mechanism?” revealed startling evidence that today’s most common chronic diseases are caused by seed oils.1
Knobbe is an ophthalmologist and the founder of Cure AMD Foundation. This foundation is dedicated to the prevention or vision loss due to age-related macular damage (AMD).2 He is an ex-associate clinical professor emeritus of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.3
According to his research, the main unifying factor in the degenerative diseases and chronic conditions of modern society is the high intake of omega-6 oil in our daily diets. He refers to the inundation of Western diets containing harmful seeds oils as “a global human experiment…without consent.”
The Rise of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Trans fats (also known as PUFAs) are found in vegetable oils. They can also be found in edible oils, seed oils, and plant oils. “Roller mill technology,” which replaced stone mill technology in the grinding of wheat into flour, is responsible for PUFAs’ existence.4
The use of roller mill technology enabled the complete removal of bran and germ from a grain. This left only the endosperm which is a refined product with all its nutrients.5 Knobbe wrote the following on the Cure AMD Foundation site:6
“The first of these [PUFAs] cottonseed oil. Soon after, partial and full hydrogenation of cottonseed oil was done. This resulted in the first ever artificially produced trans-fat. The latter was introduced by Proctor & Gamble in 1911 under the name ‘Crisco,’ which was marketed as ‘the healthier alternative to lard … and more economical than butter.'”
Crisco, which was the first commercially produced PUFAs (or trans fats), is still widely available today. Knobbe explains that the plan of vegetable oil producers was to sell less and replace higher-priced animal oils.7 The plan worked.
PUFAs are so well-liked that they now comprise 63% of American diet.8 According to Knobbe in 1909, Americans consumed 2 grams per day of vegetable oils. By 2010, they had consumed an astonishing 80 grams per day.9
Knobbe says there are many reasons PUFAs can be harmful. They lack vitamins A, D, and K which makes them nutrient deficient. They are responsible in large part for the many chronic diseases linked to modern civilization. PUFAs are also responsible for the obesity epidemic. Knobbe says that Americans consume 80 grams of PUFAs per day, which is 720 calories. This means that “farms” account for one-third of all calories.10
Chronic Diseases are cured by PUFAs
Many people know that obesity, diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome were much less common in the early 20th century than they are now. However, the rise in these conditions is much more alarming than most people realize. Knobbe reports:11
- In 1900, 12.5% died from heart-related diseases in the United States. It was 32% in 2010.
- In 1811 1 in 118 people died of cancer. In 2010, 1 of 3 people died of cancer.
- Type 2 Diabetes has seen a 25-fold increase in incidence over the past 80 years.
- In 1922, 1.2% of Americans were overweight; in 2015, 39% were obese.
- In 1930 there were 50 cases of macular damage; today there are 196,000,000 cases.
Is it possible that the rise in chronic conditions is related to the increase in dietary intake of PUFAs. Knobbe explains in his lecture that this is true. The following explanation is given by Knobbe:12
All of these disorders, from atherosclerosis to heart disease to type-2 diabetes and macular degeneration to cancer, have the same thing. They all have mitochondrial dysfunction …The very first thing that happens when the electron transport chain fails … is that it starts shooting out reactive oxygen species — these are hydroxyl radicals and superoxide …
These free radicals can cause nuclear mitochondrial DNA mutations, which can lead to heart failure, macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s Parkinsons. [that] This can lead to toxic aldehydes.
Linoleic Acid, an 18-carbon omega-6 fatty acid, is the main culprit in the negative biochemical reactions that seed oils can cause, according to Knobbe. Linoleic acid, which accounts for around 80% of vegetable oils, is the primary fatty acids found in PUFAs. In order to not be harmful, omega-6 and omega-3 fats need to be balanced.
Knobbe explains that the majority of linoleic, when it oxidizes it, forms lipid peroxides which then rapidly degenerate into… oxidized, linoleic metabolites.13
The oxidized-linoleic acid metabolisms are a dangerous combination. Knobbe says they are cytotoxic and genotoxic as well as mutagenic, carcinogenic. They can also be atherogenic, thrombogenic, and atherogenic. Because they can cause strokes and clots, their atherosclerosis or thrombogenic activities are particularly concerning.
Insulin resistance is created by PUFAs
Since the U.S. diet was based on PUFAs, diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic disorder have all become common. Nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese, and many are also metabolically unwell.14
This can increase the likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes and many other chronic diseases that are associated with insulin resistance such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Knobbe discusses how these conditions can develop in his lecture15
“When you consume omega-6 to excess … it combines with reactive oxygen species like hydroxyl radicals … so this begins catastrophic lipid peroxidation cascade — these polyunsaturated fats are accumulating [in] Your cells accumulate in your membranes and accumulate in your mitochondria, which causes a peroxidation reaction.
Knobbe continues: “The presence of so many reactive oxygen substances can lead to insulin resistance at the cellular level as well as the production lipid droplets within your liver.”
“… that creates a catastrophic lipid part or it feeds back to the lipid peroxidation … so now you’re not burning fat for fuel properly so the person gaining weight and getting sick in this regard is now carb dependent — their glycolysis is working but … [they] Start storing fat… this will lead to obesity.”
This is especially true of Linoleic acid, according to Dr. Paul Saladino (a physician journalist) in a podcast. Linoleic acid “breaks the sensitivity for insulin at the level of your fat cells” — it makes them more insulin sensitive — and, since your fat cells control the insulin sensitivity of the rest of your body by releasing free fatty acids, you end up with insulin resistance.
Rat Studies and Indigenous People Show PUFA Harm
Animal studies have clearly shown the harmful effects of PUFAs. Knobbe points out that two groups of rats were given identical diets. One group was fed 5% cottonseed oil, while the other had 1.5% butterfat.16 The study result was:17
“… rats fed cottonseed oils grow to 60% of their normal size.[d] On average they live for 555 days. They are fragile, sickly, weak little rats. Butterfat rats are healthy. They grow to normal size, and they live for almost twice as long. [of the cottonseed oil-fed rats]They live twice as long, and are infinitely healthier.
Knobbe says that while it is possible for the American Heart Association or other medical organizations to dismiss such studies and call them paradoxical, there are many examples of positive effects of saturated and animal-based oils on human health.
The Tokelau people, who live on islands between Hawaii and Australia in the South Pacific, eat almost exclusively coconut, fish, starchy tubers, and fruit.18 Knobbe points to the fact that coconut oil is responsible for 54% to 62% of their daily calories.
A study of Tokelau men aged between 40 and 69 found that they did not have any heart attacks, obesity, or diabetes.19 Knobbe says they were “fantastically ill.”
Knobbe says that at least 80% obesity and other chronic diseases in Westernized nations are caused by processed foods. Knobbe’s studies can be used to study animals or people not from Westernized countries. “It’s driven by vegetable oils as well as trans-fats… almost all fast food restaurants use soybean oil or canola oil.”
Knobbe’s opinion is shared by other experts
In a previous newsletter, I discussed how Nina Teicholz and Saladino decry the popularity of PUFAs and their ubiquity in modern food systems. They believe in the healthful benefits saturated fats.
Saladino and Teicholz talk about the history and demonizations of saturated fat and cholesterol. This began with the false hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease in 1960 and 1961.
The 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were the first to endorse the hypothesis. They advised Americans to limit saturated fat and cholesterol and exempt carbs. Increasingly, PUFAs were added to their diets. It’s not surprising that this hypothesis and dietary guidelines were associated with a rapid increase in obesity, chronic diseases, and heart disease.
Saladino and Teicholz discuss why the myth persists despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary.
Saturated animal fats would be considered healthy, and industrial vegetable oils and grain processed as food would be deemed unhealthy. This would devastate the major fast food and processed food industries that rely on these vegetable oils and other vegetable oils. Statin sales and other Big Pharma profit centers would be affected. Big Food and Big Pharma have financial motivations to hide the health benefits real food has for their customers.
Knobbe is not alone. Experts believe that the huge increase in linoleic Acid consumption, due to its ubiquitous use in industrial vegetable oil and processed foods, is a major metabolic driver of obesity, heart diseases, and other chronic diseases.
They stress that the belief that high low-density lipoproteins (LDL) — the so-called “bad” cholesterol — are a risk factor for heart disease and that by lowering your LDL you lower your risk of a heart attack, is incorrect. According to them, science does not support this claim. Because not all LDL particles behave the same, this is why it’s so surprising.
Saladino explained that LDL levels may fall if there is less red meat and saturated fat. However, these LDLs won’t be oxidized. It is the effect of LDL oxidation that triggers insulin resistance and related problems, including heart disease — something the LDL tests don’t detect.
Saladino states that eating saturated fat can raise your LDL but will not cause any damage to the arterial walls.
Drs. Knobbe, Saladino and Saladino both agree that seed oils are the root cause of most modern diseases. It is the best thing for your health to stop using them.