Faced with a disruptive technology called electricity, candle makers William Proctor and James Gamble joined forces with chemist E.C. Kayser to turn liquid cottonseed oil into a solid shortening called “Crisco,” which was introduced to the public in 1911.
To convince homemakers to use Crisco in leiu of animal fats such as lard, the Proctor and Gamble Company gave away a cookbook entitled The Story of Crisco2, in which homemakers using Crisco were portrayed as good wives and mothers, with odor-free homes and smart, healthy children.
P&G then presented Crisco to the Jewish community as a kosher food that behaved like butter but could be used with meats. Because it made kosher cooking much easier, Jews quickly adopted Crisco and margarine into their homes.
A big break for the makers of plant-based hydrogenated oils came from nutrition scientist Ancel Keyes who, after studying the diets of centenarians living in the Meditterranean, concluded that a diet low in animal fats protected against heart disease, while a diet high in animal fats lead to heart disease.
With Keyes’ Seven Countries Study in hand, representatives of the American Heart Association went on television in 1956 to inform the public that a diet high in beef, butter, eggs and lard would lead to coronary heart disease. The federal government backed up the recommendation with a food pyramid that suggested carbohydrate-rich foods become the foundation of the American diet.
Some, however, did not buy the lipid theory of cardiovascular disease. The problem is not saturated fats, they say, but rather sugar in all its forms. Though having to stand against industry, the federal government and the American Heart Association, their voices are growing in strength.
This war of the fats leads us to ask:
Which is best for the body: saturated or unsaturated fats?
Food Chain Radio & Forums #1,058 ((Tags: Ernest M. Curtis, M.D., author of The Cholesterol Delusion, cardiovascular disease, lipid theory, cholesterol, Ancel Keyes, Seven Countries Study, Proctor & Gamble, Crisco) )