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Hydrogenated oils & Trans fats February 23, 2009

At some point in time we developed a hierarchy of fats, saturated fats being the worst, then unsaturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.  Research showed that high consumption of saturated fats can lead to heart disease and cancer.  Instead of getting people to eat healthier and move away from a high fat diet, the food industry developed ways to mimic saturated fats using unsaturated fats.  This is when hydrogenated oils were introduced, not to just mimic foods like butter, but to extend shelf life.  I’ll remind you here that anything that extends shelf life is nutritionally deficient.  Vegetables and fruits rot because they are living and full of vital nutrients.  Where products with HFCS, hydrogenated oils and other preservatives can lay on shelves for years because there is little food in the actual product.

Hydrogenated oils are obtained by adding a hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats.  These fats become hardened promoting longer shelf life and extended use in frying foods.  Hydrogenation does not completely transform the unsaturated fat into a saturated one, but it does produce trans fatty acids.  These fats behave like saturated fats and are linked to heart disease and cancers.

Partially hydrogenated oils are just as bad as hydrogenated oils.  The reason for the use of partially hydrogenated oils is because the trans fat content can be less than 1 gram per serving.  By USDA standards this is not a sufficient amount of trans fat to be reported on a label.

Please be aware that these man-made fats are extremely harmful to your health.  These ingredients can be found in candy bars, margarine, tub butters, baked goods and much more.  Be conscious consumers and read your ingredient labels.

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