Be(a)ware! They are not what you think they are.

For nigh on 40 years we have been conned into believing that consuming polyunsaturated seed oils was better for our health than traditional saturated fats.  In that same time the rates of both heart disease and cancer have soared. 




When Surgeon Captain T.L. Cleave wrote his ground breaking book, The Saccharine Disease way back in 1974, he warned against these ‘new’ oils, as they were thought of then, that are mainly expressed from vegetable seeds. He pointed out that many of the seed oils were not a natural food for man as they only became widely available to us after the invention of the hydraulic press and the new solvent procedures.  In fact they were scarcely eaten in the United Kingdom until around 1916, during the height of the First World War, when these seed oils were used to make margarine. Margarine was introduced at that time to compensate for food shortages, such as supplies of butter, when foreign imports were severely curtailed as a result of the war.


Captain Cleave went on to say of these seed oils, ‘Evolutionarily, these oils make us not so much men as the equivalent of a flock of greenfinches, and the evolutionary incongruity is heightened by the fact that the coronary explosion amongst us, as will be seen later, came in since the introduction of just these oils at the period stated, though in margarine they are often saturated by a stream of hydrogen.’


Meanwhile, people were and continue to be seduced by the false health claims of the manufacturers of these polyunsaturated seed oils. Supermarket shelves groan under the weight of bottles of oil extracted from every conceivable grain or seed.  The list includes rape seed, corn, sunflower, safflower, cotton and now watermelon seed, grape seed and others are being considered as ways to make use of seeds that were, until recently, considered waste. Until the 1960s, safflower oil was used in the paint industry but is now mostly used as a cooking oil.

One look at the process of extracting vegetable seed oil, described here, would be enough to convince anyone that it is far from being a healthy product. 

Oil seeds such as soybean, rapeseed, cotton, and sunflower are gathered. Most of these seeds are from plants that have been genetically engineered to resist the huge amounts of pesticides applied to them.

The seeds are husked and cleaned of dirt and dust, then crushed.

The crushed seeds are heated in a steam bath to start the oil extraction process. The seeds are put through a high volume press which uses high heat and friction to press the oil from the seed pulp.

The seed pulp and oil are then passed through a hexane solvent bath and steamed again to squeeze out more oil. (It should be noted that hexane is produced by the refining of crude petroleum.) 

Now the seed/oil mixture is put in a centrifuge and phosphate is added to begin the separation of the oil and seed residues.

After solvent extraction, the crude oil is separated and the solvent is evaporated and recovered. The seed pulp residues are conditioned and reprocessed to make by-products such as animal feed.

The crude vegetableoil is then put through further refining techniques including degumming, neutralization and bleaching:

Water degumming:In this process, water is added to the oil. After a certain reaction period the hydrated phosphatides can be separated either by decantation (settling)or continuously by means of centrifuges. In this process a large part of water soluble and even a small proportion of the non-water soluble phosphatides are removed. The extracted gums can be processed into lecithin for food, feed or for technical purposes. (Note. A phosphatide is one of a large group of naturally occurring phospholipids.)

Neutralization:Any free fatty acids, phospholipids, pigments, and waxes in the extracted oil promote fat oxidation and lead to undesirable colours and odours in the final products. These impurities are removed by treating the oil with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) or soda ash (sodium carbonate). The impurities settle to the bottom and are drawn off. The refined oils are lighter in colour, less viscous, and more susceptible to oxidation.

Bleaching:The major purpose of bleaching is the removal of off- coloured materials in the oil. The heated oil is treated with various bleaching agents such as fuller's earth, activated carbon, or activated clays. Many impurities are absorbed by this process and removed by filtration. However, bleaching also promotes fat oxidation since some natural antioxidants and nutrients are removed along with the impurities.

Deodorizationis the final step in the refining of vegetable oils. Pressurized steam at extremely high temps (500°F or more, 260°C) is used to remove volatile compounds which would cause offensive odours and tastes in the final product.

The oil produced is referred to as "refined oil" and is ready to be consumed or for the manufacture of other products. A light solution of citric acid is often added during this step to inactivate any metals such as iron or copper present in the final product.

The process of refining vegetable oil damages the fats and makes the oils very unstable and prone to going rancid quite easily. Rancid oils in any form are particularly bad for your health because they introduce cancer-causing free radicals into your body, without the benefit of including an antioxidant like vitamin E. 


Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon from the Weston Price Foundation, point out that the high temperatures used in processing these seed oils cause the weak carbon bonds of unsaturated fatty acids, especially triple unsaturated linolenic acid, to break apart, thereby creating the dangerous free radicals mentioned earlier. In addition, these high temperatures and pressures neutralize or destroy antioxidants, such as fat-soluble vitamin E, the very vitamin which protects the body from the ravages of free radicals. Instead, BHT and BHA, both suspected of causing cancer and brain damage, are often added to these oils to replace vitamin E and other natural preservatives destroyed by heat.  (Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and are two preservatives used by manufacturers to keep fats from going rancid).

* * * * * *

We have now arrived at the second or maybe even the third generation of people who do not know any other way to cook or prepare food without using these polyunsaturated seed oils.The saturated animal fats that everyone cooked with before these oils became widely available were falsely targeted as being the cause of many modern diseases, especially heart disease, although why animal fats that we have been eating since time immemorial should suddenly become dangerous to health is difficult to understand and totally illogical. 

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, describes in her book ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’ her belief that many ailments that afflict children today such as allergies, learning and behavioral problems, hyperactivity and even autism, are largely as a result of the consumption of highly processed food and, in particular, the modern polyunsaturated seed oils that have almost exclusively replaced traditional saturated fats. There is not much profit to be made from natural fats so it is in the food industry’s interest to convince people that natural fats are harmful to health and that their ‘new’ processed fats and hydrogenated cooking oils are better.


Dr. Natasha explains that when vegetable oils are hydrogenated they form trans fats or trans fatty acids which are very similar to their natural counterparts, but they are somewhat ‘back to front’.  Because they are similar they take the place of the essential fats in the body but they are unable to do their job.  It is as if they make the cells disabled.  All organs and tissues in the body are affected.  Trans fats can be very detrimental to the immune system and, according to Dr. Natasha, have been implicated in diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, neurological and psychiatric conditions. She believes that trans fats are so harmful there is no safe limit for them and yet some people eat them every day in packets of crisps, margarine, snack bars, processed cheese and of course, anything that contains vegetable seed oils.


So much of the food eaten regularly today has been highly processed and as such is entirely new to the human digestive system. Years ago everyone ate saturated animal fats.  Ask anyone in their 70’s or 80’s about the school dinners they had when they were young and they will wax lyrical about the suet puddings and suet crust pastry that were the staple diet for fast growing adolescents at that time.  Bread spread with dripping from the weekend joint was a special teatime treat.


Barry Groves, PhD, author and lecturer on Nutritional Science, points out that saturated fats and animal fats are usually blamed for all manner of diseases in Western society. In the 19th-century, when animal fats were all that was available, cancers were rare, as was heart disease.

As far back as 1979, Sir John McMichael warned about these vegetable oils in a paper published in the British Medical Journal.  He said, ‘all well controlled trials of cholesterol-reducing diets and drugs have failed to reduce coronary mortality and morbidity (Coronary heart disease).  Nevertheless, commercial, professional and even government sponsored propaganda continues.  Experimentally it has been shown that some vegetable oils and hardened fats are more damaging to arteries than butter.  There are other hazards to heart muscle from vegetable oils.  Reducing blood cholesterol by diet or drugs may have injurious effects on the liver and gut.  Naturally occurring animal fats are less damaging to the heart or blood vessels than some vegetable oils which, when hydrogenated, constitute an important part of many margarines.  The time has come to reject advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for animal and dairy fats in the nation’s diet’.


Ross Hume Hall, PhD, in his acclaimed book ‘Food for Nought’, written in 1976, lamented the fact that very little research had been done on the effects of these seed oils on people’s health before they were launched on the market.  He observed, ‘Nevertheless, in spite of the lack of information, medical scientists for a generation have promoted the eating of commercially processed vegetable fat (oil) in lieu of butter and other animal fats, knowing nothing of what they recommend.

Certain traditional oils obtained from the flesh or nut of a fruit such as the olive or walnut are nutritious provided they are cold pressed.  These oils have been in use since biblical times but are best used cold as accompaniments for salads and should not be used for cooking at very high temperatures


With so much ill health linked to these processed, manufactured foods the situation has become desperate.  The question that has to be asked is, if polyunsaturated seed oils are as important to our health as we have been led to believe, how is it that the human race has managed to evolve over many thousands of years without them?  Tribal people and other isolated communities living far away from the influence of the Western World have a great deal to teach us, as was proved by Weston Price after his travels around the globe in the 1930’s.  A short video describing what he discovered and the sort of traditional foods we should be eating can be seen on this website:


The solution is simply to shun these ‘new’ highly processed foods and return to traditional animal fats such as butter, lard, and duck fat for use in preparing meals and cooking, just as our grandparents did at a time when cases of cancer and heart disease were rarely seen.


Margarine is a highly artificial substance. In recent years, there has been plenty of new scientific evidence showing this artificial ‘butter’ to be extremely harmful to health. It is a major cause of heart disease, the very condition that it is supposed to prevent. It has also been linked with several types of cancers and various other diseases.

In spite of this, fake, artificial ‘butter’ continues to be widely promoted as a healthy product. This urgently needs to be stopped.

What we have today is entirely different from the original oleomargarine invented by a French scientist in 1870. That was done quite naturally. Today, we get a highly unnatural process called hydrogenation in which liquid vegetable oil is converted into a solid or semi-solid grease.

In the jargon of the chemical industry, this process of turning a liquid oil into a solid or semi-solid is called plasticization.

The manufacturing process begins with cheap vegetable oils, which have already been rendered harmful by the extraction process involving high temperature and petrochemical solvents such as benzene. Some of these oils, such as cottonseed oil, are not even suitable for human (nor animal) consumption.

The oil is then subjected again to extreme high temperature (about 500ºF) and pressure, and hydrogen is forced into the molecular structure to harden it. This process requires toxic substances, such as nickel oxide, which act as catalysts that enable the chemical change.

The end result is a smelly, greasy substance, so it is deodorized, again using high heat and chemical additives.


The colour in its original, “natural” form is grey. Obviously, nobody would spread grey globs of grease over their bread, so the grease is bleached white and then dyed yellow. Finally, artificial flavours are mixed in to make it taste like butteralong with chemically produced vitamins A and D. 

The fact that learned doctors, nutritionists, dieticians and other health experts can proclaim such a product to be healthy only goes to show how warped modern-day thinking has become.


Butter on the other hand is made from churned cream, nothing else.  It contains the natural vitamins A, D and E.  It is a  food that we have been eating for literally thousands of years, long before margarine was ever invented and before the  epidemic of  degenerative diseases that plague so many people today.


Butter is an important food for providing energy and is very easily digested.  Our bodies have been perfectly adapted to digest and utilise natural fats such as those found in meat and dairy products.  Moreover, it is known that they are especially important for brain development in babies and young children.



Refining Vegetable Oil: A nasty Process.

The Saccharine Disease—Surgeoon Captain T.L. Cleave

Food for Nought—Professor Ross Hume Hall

Gut and Psychology Syndrome—Dr.Natasha Campbell McBride.

From: Elizabeth Gay, Editor, McCarrison Society Scottish Group