We are talking about fats and oils in this article. Oils are not the most stable commodity in this world except in ideal conditions. We have all heard of rancidity and know that it is not desirable. What is rancidity? Simply, it is the rank or musty smell associated with rancid foods. You may be so used to this musty smell that you think it is normal. Or the smell may be disguised by some other agent in the food. When something is rancid it is toxic or poisonous. If you feel tired after eating breads or cereals or eating fried foods that were fried in oils left for more than a day in the fryer perhaps it is the rancid oils causing this tiredness. Perhaps you are feeling the body hunkering down to try to detoxify itself of the rancid oil in the product.
What sorts of products in our pantries are commonly rancid? How did this come about? Most importantly, how do we reorganize eating habits so as to avoid these rancid foods? Well, good old oatmeal, and granola are common examples. Whole grain breads contain the fat part of the grain so can go rancid easily in a few days after the flour has been ground from the whole grain.  White bread has the germ and bran of the grain removed and while it provides little nutrients beyond the calories there is nothing to go rancid.

Wheat germ is rancid unless it was separated from the grain at the mill a day or 2 ago. You could request defatted wheatgerm which may be hard to come by. Flax meal instead of flax seeds goes rancid within hours unless vacuum packed. Nut fragments versus the whole nut meats go rancid quickly. When any whole grain or seed or nut is ground up oxygen comes in contact with the particles ground. The finer it is ground the more surface area is in contact with oxygen and the easier it is for the tocopherols (vitamin E) to get used up defending against the oxygen since tocopherols are antioxidants in function. Once the vitamin E is used up rancidity begins. All the oils in nuts, seeds and the like have vitamin E until oxidized by oxygen. 

When you eat granola or oatmeal do you notice that there is a slight musty taste or smell to it? That is not how it is supposed to be. Go to a bulk bin at a health food store and smell the whole grain. It will not have that musty or stale odor. If you want oatmeal buy whole oats and cook them like you cook brown rice. You can cook several day's worth and heat it up as needed. Whole wheat bread includes the oil containing part of the grain, so it can go rancid. If the baker grinds his own grain and makes it into bread today and you buy it and eat it within a few days you will get very little rancidity. La Brea Bakery,famous in Los Angeles,grinds the grain to bake their bread and so it tastes fresh, hence its popularity. It would be great if small loaves were made for the individual so he could eat his bread in a few days and then buy more. Refrigerate whole grain bread to keep it fresh longer. Ezekial or this style of bread is probably your best bet, healthwise.

There is plenty of room for innovative packaging of cereal products such as raw oat seeds, flax seeds some raw nuts all sprayed with dehydrated sugarcane juice and cinnamon. When you get the product you cook it for 30 or 45 min or whatever the label suggests. Cook a few day's worth and then you can heat it up by steaming it in a few minutes. If you ask for these kinds of products, especially to the manufacturer and there are enough demands, then there will be changes or new distributors or you can buy the parts at the bulk bin of a health food store to create your own varieties of cereal products.Yes, I realize that it takes more time to prepare what I am suggesting. In other words I am suggesting a non fast food. But also you are avoiding the toxic rancidity factor." It is a hard choice perhaps. Try avoiding the foods I suggest for a month and eat only fresh prepared foods and see how you feel. 

Margarine contains some rancid oils. Do not buy margarine as it is a fake food. The advertising is fabulous but the product is not. Use butter. If you knew the full story on the processing of oils and the making of margarine you would not buy it. The bible on fats and oils is a book called Fats That Heal, Fats That Killby Udo Erasmus.  It is a good book and was written for the layman to understand not to confuse him. It has a glossary of terms defined as well and it is thoroughly researched and documented for those of you who want to have that security. Well, here's to better healthful eating.


Dr. Mike Spearman

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