It will never happen but what we would like to envision would be to reduce costs as a part of reform in the Japanese healthcare system. This would include substantial reforms like prevention to begin with. In Japan though, that is probably something that will never happen considering stir fried and deep fried foods are a major part of what people eat in Japan. These foods include Chinese food (stir fried), fried foods including pork and chicken, as well as many types of fried potatoes and different types of meat including beef. When food is stir fried and especially when it is deep fried, gases referred to as “hot oil mist” are released at the surface of the oil when heated to high temperatures.
Years ago in Japan, all the fast food chains swapped out hydrogenated oils for vegetable oils. When these vegetable oils are heated to high temperatures, a toxic oxidative breakdown product is produced. One of those products is a compound called an aldehyde, which is being studied indicating it interferes with DNA and RNA. Another is formaldehyde, which is extremely toxic. I came across this paragraph at the Weston A. Price Foundation while reading about the toxins given off while deep frying food using vegetable oils. The Weston A. Price Foundation is a leading think tank on health issues related to food:
“Hermann Esterbauer, an Austrian biochemist, is credited with discovering the general category of aldehydes as peroxidation products in 1964, and in 1991 he took stock of the field. His review is considered a landmark, and it is, frankly, a little terrifying to read. Esterbauer goes through the evidence that aldehyde are very chemically reactive, causing ‘rapid cell death,’ interfering with DNA and RNA, and disturbing basic cell functioning. He meticulously lists all the research to date showing that aldehydes cause extreme oxidative stress to every possible kind of tissue, with a ‘great diversity of deleterious effects’ to health, all of which were ‘rather likely’ to occur at levels normally consumed by humans.”
The reason for this blog post is because a Japanese relative of mine died of lung cancer last year at 61 years-old and it stunned the family as one might surmise. We watched her succumb to lung cancer week-after-week and month after-month for two years until she was skin and bone at her last breath. It wasn’t a very pretty sight to watch her rot from the inside out from the cancer fungus knowing there was nothing we could have done for her leaving her care in the hands of Japan’s healthcare system. Throughout that entire two years of suffering, not once was alternative treatments even considered. So I started doing research into lung cancer in Japan and lung cancer is unusually high in Japanese females that age. Without frying food in Japan, it would be extremely difficult coming up with alternative varieties of daily food to eat in thousands of restaurants, schools, company cafeterias, industrial food manufacturers, fast food restaurants and in homes where mothers prepare daily meals for their families and bento lunches for their children.
The medical industry will continue trying to convince people that lung cancer is something genetic when it is not. Although lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death among women in the United States, it is less in Japan. After doing a lot of reading after my Japanese relative died of lung cancer, it appears women now account for almost half of new cases and deaths from lung cancer including in Japan. These figures are from the US:
“Based on estimates for 2011, 48% of the more than 221,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer were women, and 45% of the 157,000 who died from lung cancer were women.”
Lung cancer deaths in women began quickly rising in 1960. And if anyone goes back to my reference to the Preston A Price Foundation, in a paper they wrote, it indicated that hydrogenated oils were introduced beginning in the 1960s. By 1987, the number of female deaths from lung cancer exceeded the number of deaths from breast cancer. And in Japan there is what is known as the “Japanese Lung Cancer Smoking Paradox.” This is the incongruity that Japanese who smoke have lower lung cancer rates than in the United States. So what is causing the increase in lung cancer in Japanese women who also compared to Japanese men, spend more time in the kitchen preparing meals?
“Today the number of deaths in women from lung cancer surpasses those from all gynecological cancers combined. While the rate of lung cancer deaths among men has been steadily decreasing since the 1990s, the lung cancer death rate among women did not start to go down until a decade later (2003-2007). The decline of lung cancer deaths among women, however, may not be as rapid as it has been in men: women born around 1960 with a high rate of smoking are just now entering the age when lung cancer diagnosis is most common.”
Canola oil is one of the major oils used for deep frying food in Japan and the name Canola oil used to be called Rapeseed oil. The name was changed to Canola for marketing reasons. At one point, rapeseed oil was considered toxic, and in fact, Canola oil is a very effective insecticide. Canola oil is the “primary ingredient in many organic (non-chemical) pesticide control products sprayed on vegetables to kill bugs”. Now it’s used to deep fry food people eat in Japan. There is now increasing evidence appearing that fumes from cooking with vegetable oil may cause a higher incidence of lung cancer.
“The real problem with the name ‘rapeseed oil‘ is that the oil was so toxic that the FDA banned it for human consumption in 1956. So when Canadian growers bred a new variety of rapeseed in the 1970s with a lower content of the toxic erucic acid, they decided they needed a new name for it.”
So the best we can come up with indicating vegetables oils might be giving off fumes that might be carcinogenic, comes from a 2010 publication by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), that determined “emissions from frying oils at the temperatures typically used in restaurants are probably carcinogenic to humans”.
What if Japan went on an aggressive prevention program providing better health education to the general population? It would include how vegetable oil introduced in the 1960s used for deep frying foods might be associated with increasing levels of lung cancer in Japanese woman who spend a great deal of their time in kitchens deep frying food. These Japanese women who are subjected to “hot oil mist” which has the toxic compound aldehyde in the vapors being given off are being subjected to potentially carcinogenic fumes. What if my Japanese relative mentioned above died from lung cancer she was diagnosed with and suffered with for two years, died from the carcinogenic fumes given off from frying food with vegetable oils including Canola oil over a 30 year period as a housewife?
What if at some point she went into a prevention mode – it will never happen in Japan – and stopped or significantly reduced the use of vegetable oils for cooking? It would certainly bankrupt the fast food chains in Japan for starters and cut a big percentage point off convenience store profits that sell deep fried food at the counter. My Japanese relative might have been able to save the socialized healthcare system in Japan the millions of Yen spent on her during those two years of suffering with constant hospital stays, checkups, medication, insurance and all the miscellaneous medical expenses incurred over those two years. Now multiply that by the thousands of Japanese women who are succumbing to lung cancer every year in Japan. Would this not take a great financial burden off the healthcare system in Japan by going into an aggressive prevention mode?