No Matter What I Ate I Got Sick - The Hidden Ingredient 

by Marianne Genetti, Founder of INOD

I didn’t feel well after lunch. In fact, I almost never felt well after lunch but I didn’t know why.

Part of my ‘eat healthier’ program, was to lunch at a cafeteria near my office. They had a wonderful selection of meals prepared on site. Each day there were six different salads, six entrees and six vegetables. But no matter what I ate, my belly would become swollen and I would begin to feel agitated. Before finishing lunch, I would get a craving for a candy bar.

One day, I selected liver and onions. I didn’t add a salad or vegetables or bread. I’d never had a problem with liver or with onions, but on this occasion, the familiar discomfort began before I had finished eating. I asked the manager how the liver and onions had been prepared. He said, “They are fried in 100% soybean margarine.”

Afterward, to avoid getting sick, I avoided foods that were fried. I would, instead, choose baked chicken or spaghetti or a salad. But the problem persisted. Again I approached the manager. He explained that the baked chicken was basted with soy oil; soy oil was used in the spaghetti sauce and in the pasta cooking water; and soy oil was the primary ingredient in the salad dressing.

I decided to write to the cafeteria to explain the situation and to ask what foods I might eat that would contain no soy oil.  Their response was, “Jello, if the whipped topping is removed.”  Their vegetables were ‘buttered’ with soybean margarine, soybean oil was an ingredient in the muffins and bread, and solid soybean shortening was used to make the biscuits.

I became a label reader. Most of the ‘vegetable oil’ sold in the grocery stores which I had assumed to be a combination of oils, was actually 100% soybean oil. In addition to almost all salad dressings, margarines and mayonnaise, most crackers, breads, flour tortillas, muffins, cookies, cakes and candy bars contain soy oil. Soy oil is also sometimes an ingredient in peanut butter (commercially prepared – not freshly ground), white chocolate, grated horseradish and the ground beef patties sold to hospitals, schools and restaurants. I had a bad reaction to the fish oil capsules I was taking and found that they contained gamma tocopherol, a form of Vitamin E that was derived from soy oil.

Soy oil is much cheaper than the next least expensive oil.  Because of this, I thought it might be safer to purchase more expensive brands. But then I found soy oil as an ingredient in the chocolate of a prestige label ice cream bar. 

For Christmas I received a rotisserie. I was delighted with the wonderful job it did on chickens. Soon, however, I started to realize that I became uncomfortable after eating the chicken. I was, in fact, having the same reaction from the chicken that I had from eating soy oil.

The good news proved to be that the chicken itself was not the problem. The problem was rather with the chicken fat. Most commercially raised chickens, cattle and pigs are now fed soybeans.  Whereas the carbohydrates and proteins we eat are totally broken down by digestion, the same is not true of fats. The fats eaten are incorporated somewhat ‘as is’ into body fat. So when animals are fed soybeans, a form of soy oil will be incorporated into their body fat.  It will also affect the fat in the yolks of the chicken’s eggs. It will be present in the butter, cheese and milk from soy fed cattle and will be in the bacon and sausage from soy fed pigs.

There is a specialized medical test known as a Red Blood Cell (RBC) Fatty Acid Analysis. For those who have seen the movie, Lorenzo’s Oil, this was the test used to identify Lorenzo’s problem. He had an excess of very long chain fatty acids. Fats have the potential to dissolve other fats. In Lorenzo’s case, the excess of the very long chain fatty acids was dissolving the fatty covering (myelin sheath) which served as the insulation on the outside of his nerves. As the myelin sheath dissolved, Lorenzo lost neurological function.

In an RBC Fatty Acid Analysis, approximately twenty of the fats making up the membranes of the red blood cell walls are identified and quantified. Included are saturated, monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats of various chain lengths. Feed fats determine body fats. So this test would reveal the type of fat a person had been eating and the relative amount of each. Butter, for example, is largely a short chain, saturated fat, whereas margarine is a polyunsaturated, long chain fat.

Below are photos of the bacon from two pigs. One pig had been fed soybeans and the other pig had not.


Above are photos of uncooked bacon.

The bacon on the left came from a pig that had been fed liberally on soybeans.  Feed fats affect body fats.

Whereas one can be allergic to proteins, the same is not technically true of fats. If you had a problem with the digestion or with the metabolism of fats, it would not show up on an allergy test.

Those who seem to be ‘allergic’ to many foods, might want to consider that they may be sensitive to just one substance that is common to many foods.  Soybean oil isn’t the only ingredient that can prove troublesome.  Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is another, as is gluten. Gluten is a form of protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. It is present not just in cereals and baked goods, but also in stews, gravies and puddings thickened with the flours of those grains.

If you often find yourself uncomfortable after eating or if you experience systemic type problems for which no cause can be identified, you may want to look closely at the food you are eating. The culprit may be sensitivity to a hidden ingredient.