soybean oil hiding ingredients vegetable PUFA fat paleo diet canola

Soybean oil in hiding

If you read the ingredients labels, you’ll have noticed soybean oil is hiding everywhere. Sometimes, you might even see it in a “partially hydrogenated” form, or listed as “may contain canola oil and/ or soybean oil” – as if it’s of no importance what you’re actually consuming. I’ve written before about the problem with soy, but soybean oil is another level.

Soybean oil is high in linoleic acid, as the fatty acid break-down of soybean oil is highly skewed towards PUFA’s (poly-unsaturated fatty acids) – not a healthy ratio and unstable at high heats. On top of this it is commonly genetically modified and highly processed. In other words to be avoided.

soybean oil hiding ingredients vegetable PUFA fat paleo diet canola

The problem is soybean oil is everywhere – and for some reason I’ve noticed it in far more foods in Australia that I did living in the UK. For example, the exact same product, Heinz Salad Cream contains Soybean oil in Australia – and not in the UK version:

Australian Heinz Salad Cream Ingredients:

Soya Bean Oil [Protected with Antioxidant (319)], White Vinegar, Sugar, Egg Yolk, Salt, Mustard, Food Acid (270), Stabiliser (412), Colours (171, 101), Herb Extract.

UK Heinz Salad Cream Ingredients:

Spirit Vinegar, Rapeseed Oil (25%), Water, Sugar, Mustard, Pasteurised Egg Yolks (3%), Modified Cornflour, Salt, Stabilisers – Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum, Colour – Riboflavin.

OK so neither have good ingredients, but it’s interesting how they are so different between the two countries. So different that they’re a completely different product. My salad cream tip? Avoid Heinz and make your own easy paleo mayonnaise.

Where else is Soybean oil hiding?

I’ve also seen it in:

  • Vinaigrette’s/ salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sauces
  • Hummus
  • Crackers

Some brands such as Paul Newman’s seem to use Soybean oil across almost all of their products.

So the moral of the story is – check the ingredients carefully – and if you can’t find a good version – make your own!

Why I'm eating margarine & 6 other non Paleo foods again paleo diet april fools day-min

Why I’m eating margarine & 6 other non Paleo foods again

I've been thinking a lot about my diet recently, and I'm getting a little worried that being fully Paleo maybe isn't the healthiest choice I can make. After speaking to several health experts recently, and reading up on the latest government recommendations, I've started to get really worried about how healthy my Paleo diet really is. Despite my blog being all about the Paleo diet, it's only fair that I'm honest with you and share my concerns and fears.

I'm concerned that I'm not getting enough calcium, fibre or carbohydrates. I've also started to get really worried about how much more fat I've been consuming, especially when compared to what the government recommend. I'm suspecting I'm eating way too much fat, and probably more meat and eggs than I should as well. I've read several times this week that it's dangerous to eat more than one egg a day, especially if you eat the yolk. Something has got to change…

In fact, I'm considering if Paleo is a healthy choice altogether. I've been pondering whether there are a lot of very healthy, nutritious foods that I'm excluding from my diet by continuing to be Paleo. I'm going to initially work on reintroducing the following foods, in the hope I start to feel even more healthy, before committing to a really healthy low fat diet for a month. Here are the seven foods I'm going to start eating again, starting today. I'll be reporting back on my progress and would love to hear your thoughts on the new additions to my modified paleo diet.

Why I'm eating margarine & 6 other non Paleo foods again paleo diet april fools day-min


With my new found concerns about cholesterol and eating high fat, the first, and most obvious decision for me to make was to swap coconut nut oil and grass fed ghee for heart healthy margarine. I'm going to try to find an organic margarine, and make sure I choose a brand that is heart healthy. This was a hard decision to make, but I'm becoming convinced a very healthy one – as margarine is much lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, which means I’m much less likely to get heart disease. Carrots drenched in margarine doesn't sound as appealing as butter, but I'll just have to get used to it for the good of my health.

Vegetable Oil

Have you seen the saturated fat content of butter, lard, ghee and coconut oil? I’m going to throw away my olive oil and swap it with healthy vegetable oil. This should also help keep my cholesterol levels low as it's low in saturated fat. Also it's vegetable oil, so will help me get towards my five a day.

Quorn Mince

I've also been reading a lot about how badly meat clogs up your arteries and is really hard to digest, so I'm planning to start with meatless Monday's and reduce my meat consumption dramatically. I’ve decided to replace my organic, grass fed ground beef with healthy vegan Quorn mince. It’s made from rehydrated mycoprotein extracted from the fungus ‘Fusarium Venenatum.’ I'm not really sure what that is, but Quorn is really low in fat and has no unhealthy animal fats, so it is obviously very healthy. I've also discovered that Quorn make healthy, meat free bacon slices and chicken fillets too. So really, I'm not even going to notice I've gone meat free.

Soy Milk

I've been having very little dairy in my paleo diet – and despite my recent body scan showing I have an excellent bone density, I clearly must be highly deficient in calcium. I've just bought my first bottle of soy milk, so I'll be making sure I drink a lot of this each day, as well as skim milk to give my calcium levels a big boost. I must be honest, I opened the bottle and it did not smell good, but if I add some hot chocolate to it, it should hopefully take away the taste.

Whole grain cereal

There are so many revolutionary new whole grain cereals out there now, compared to when I started eating Paleo. I've even found a special range specifically designed to promote heart health, which makes me question if I'm right to continue to start the day with a high fat meal? These technologically advanced cereals do seem to be an easy way to start the day, providing lots of healthy carbohydrates for energy. The one I'm looking forward to trying the most is Kellogg’s Special K Multi Grain – it contains FOUR different types of healthy grains and is almost fat free. I’ll make sure I have it with soy or skim milk.

Coca Cola Zero

Pretty much all I've been drinking for the last few years has been water and tea. I've hear it's bad to omit variety which has been concerning me. I haven’t had a can of Coca Cola in so long because I'd convinced myself it was unhealthy, but they now make a version with no sugar at all. Who knows what it is sweetened with, but I can’t wait to try one again. The people in the TV adverts always look positively glowing with health and I'm quite keen to have some of what they're having. It’s got no sugar, so it must be healthy, as we all know how bad sugar is for us.

Low Fat Snack Bars

In case I do get hungry between meals (which I'm sure I won’t, as all of the carbohydrates I’ll be eating with provide me with lots of energy) I’ll make an effort to reach for a low fat snack bar rather than a cholesterol-loaded hard boiled egg, home made jerky, or a handful of nuts as I have been doing. There are so many different flavours these days, and a lot of them are healthy whole grain. Some even are fruit flavoured, which will help me get to my five a day.

Since I've made this decision I've realised a lot of these foods don't need to be kept in the fridge and don't seem to go off – so this is going to make life so much easier for me – another benefit to adapting my diet.

Are there any healthy non Paleo foods that you are going to add back to your diet? Let me know what you've added back and why in the comments below.

What's wrong with soy legume paleo diet primal allowed alternative-min

What’s So Wrong With Soy?

Are soy beans really that bad for us? So many “healthy” people swear by soy – and it’s certainly portrayed in a lot of mainstream media as a health product.

Soy beans contain a lot of natural toxins. It doesn't matter whether they’re organically grown or genetically modified. The problem with modern soy products is that the factory processing is different from the traditional, time-consuming preparation through fermentation and prolonged boiling, whereby a lot of these toxins are removed. Products such as tempeh, tofu and miso are, if of good quality and a lot less dangerous than modern unfermented soy products, like soy milk. In the current, fast and large-scale production, these toxins stay in the end-product.

What's wrong with soy legume paleo diet primal allowed alternative-min

Why do people eat soy?

Whilst some people switch due to cow milk allergies or lactose-intolerance, many people switch for the perceived health benefits. The use of soy milk was supposed to be a good alternative to dairy, if we believe the commercials. The irony is that soy itself is in the top ten of foods that give the highest change of allergies!

Vegetarians and vegans often use soy products as dairy products and meat substitutes, particularly due to the high protein content.

The dangers of soy

Soy contains high amounts of phytic acid, that impedes the reception of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Although the pro-soy lobby argues that these minerals can also be found in soy, they are barely absorbed by the body due to the phytic acid content. The anti-nutrients present are not broken down by processes such as steeping, germination or prolonged cooking.

Soy also contains high concentrations of manganese, a chemical element. Some manganese in our food is necessary, but high amounts, such can be found in soy, are associated with neurological damage. It contains almost 200 times as much manganese as breast milk.

Trypsin inhibitors can disrupt the digestion of protein, can negatively influence the function of the pancreas and cause growth problems. Diarrhoea, stomach cramps and bleeding are some of the problems that can occur due to a lack of trypsin.

Vegetable female hormones (phytoestrogens) in soy disrupt the function of the endocrine (internal) glands and might cause infertility and breast cancer.

Cancer patients, especially the ones with hormone-dependant tumours such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, are advised to avoid soy because it can cause the growth of tumours.  The phytoestrogens it contains can hinder the function of the thyroid, which causes a risk for a slow working thyroid and even thyroid cancer.

Substances in soy that resemble vitamin B12 are not absorbed by the body and increase the need for vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of red blood cells. A shortage of these blood cells can cause severe anemia. Soy increases the need for vitamin D, which is used for building bones and a strong immune system, and something most people are already deficient in.

In modern soy production, it is modified, which produces toxic lysinoalanine and the carcinogen nitrosamine as a result. During the process, glutamic acid is also formed. This is a flavour enhancer and potential neurotoxin. As if this wasn't bad enough, MSG (another flavour enhancer) is added to many soy products.

Soy sauce is popular in many recipes, but is easy to avoid – it can be completely replaced using paleo friendly coconut aminos.

I’d be interested to hear what you think about Soy? Do you avoid it in all forms, or do you occasionally eat fermented soy products?

Unhealthy Health Food IKU paleo diet healthy-min

Unhealthy Health Food?

I'm so disappointed with Iku.  When finding out how I eat, a few friends have suggested Iku, which is a whole food, “healthy” outlet, with a few locations around Sydney.

I'm not disappointed with options like McDonalds, as I doubt anyone goes there to fulfil their aim of having a healthy, wholesome nutritious lunch.  Iku however shares so many of my nutrition beliefs, yet tackles them with pretty much the polar opposite nutritional approach.

Iku strive on providing organic food, and local where possible.  I completely agree with this approach and can’t think of any other food outlet that goes this far.  This ensures produce that should be free from pesticides, fresher and being local, far more sustainable.  Tick!

They also try to keep foods as close to their natural state as possible, with minimal processing.  This is very in line with the Paleo approach.

Their foods are also all dairy free, additive free, preservative free and free from genetic modification – more Paleo approval for getting this right.  So far, so good.

But, then it all starts to go wrong.  They strongly believe in the nutritional prowess of grains and legumes, believing that they help to fight disease.  This is completely at odds with Paleo thinking, where legumes and grains have been shown to increase inflammation and reduce gut health.  Their ingredients “slow blood sugar responses”. Whilst Paleo, without grains, will take blood sugar responses out of the equation – surely this is far healthier.  Their menu is also designed to “keep cholesterol levels in check”, which is a clear reference to the outdate lipid hypothesis, to which Paleo does not subscribe.

It then gets even less Paleo.  All of their food is free of any animal product.  I can’t find any explanation on their site as to why they (presumably) perceive this to be the healthiest way to live.

Their tagline is “Feel great, have huge amounts of energy and a strong immune system”.  I'm not sure how I could possibly feel good consuming grains and legumes – and no meat.  I know it certainly wouldn't give me much energy.  I currently have so much energy on my (fairly strict) Paleo diet.  As for having a strong immune system, this also puzzles me with all of those lectins, phytates & proteins like gluten in the grains and legumes.

I’d love to see a national chain of food outlets that would combine the local, whole, organic philosophy, with great quality meat – and not a grain or legume in sight!  Perhaps I’ll have to open my own!

Do you have well meaning “healthy” food outlets where you live?  That actually aren't what you would consider healthy?

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health newspaper Telegraph paleo diet health advice-min

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health!

I really shouldn't read health supplements any more.  They generally just annoy me.  But I could resist.  I found this gem in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.


Just before I ditched Paleo and went out to buy some soy and margarine, I thought I'd see if I could find out a bit more about the study.

So it appears the study split 351 men & post menopausal women into two groups for the six-month period.  One ate low fat, the other low fat – with “special cholesterol lowering foods”.  Hmm, interesting, low fat compared to low fat…  The group with the special cholesterol lowering foods lowered their LDL by 13%.  But then there was also a 22.6% drop out rate.  This is taking me back to Tom Naughton's Science for Smart People lecture at the AHS…

The group with the “special food” also received sessions with a dietitian.  The other low fat group did not.

They summed up saying that because the diet was complex, researchers couldn't tell which foods made a difference in lowering cholesterol.  Excellent.  Regardless, write ups of the study, like the one I saw are still identify these foods as being proven to help lower LDL: –

  • Soy proteins such as soy milk and tofu.
  • Viscous or “sticky” fibres from oats, barley and psyllium.
  • Nuts, including tree nuts and peanuts.
  • Plant sterols in margarine.

Whilst Loblaw (a Canadian food retailer), Solae (who sell Soy products) and Unilever (who own lots of products, including margarine) sponsored the study and provided some of the foods used, that obviously had no impact on the study.  Whatsoever.

I think I'll stick to my high fat diet…

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health newspaper Telegraph paleo diet health advice-min