What’s THAT?: Hydrogenated Oils (Part 1)

We all have heard the buzz on the dreaded “hydrogenated oils.” Or maybe you haven’t. You may be thinking to yourself, “What in the world is this girl talking about?”

According to WiseGeek: “Hydrogenated oil is oil in which the essential fatty acids have been converted to a different form chemically, which has several effects. Hydrogenated oil is far more shelf stable, and will not go rancid as quickly as untreated oil. It also has a higher melting point, and is often used in frying and pastries for this reason.”

Why does it matter if I eat these?

Hydrogenated oils have been around for a while, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the realization of the negative health effects were realized. Consuming hydrogenated oils can lead to:

  • High cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer

According to the Harvard School of Public Health: “the risk of cardiovascular disease rises 23 percent for every 2 percent increase in calories from trans fats consumed every day.”

But the label says ‘trans fat free’ so I’m not consuming any trans fat

Trans fat Misconception!: “The FDA required food labels to list trans fat content in 2006, but many consumers are confused by products that state “zero trans fats” when they contain partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils. The FDA allows foods with less than 0.5 percent of trans fat per serving to be labeled “zero trans fats.” If the serving size is small, a person eating several servings of this food could actually be consuming a large amount of trans fats.” (www.livestrong.com)

So, in other words, if you eat anything that contains:  “partially hydrogenated oil”….you are consuming TRANSFAT!

What products have hydrogenated oils in them?

  • Margarine
  • Commercially made baked goods: tortillas, bread, cakes, cookies, and donuts
  • Non-dairy products: non-dairy whipped topping, commercial frostings, and non-dairy creamer
  • Peanut butter
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate candy
  • White bread
  • Cake mixes
  • Waffles
  • Crackers
  • Frozen entrees
  • Crisco
  • Various boxes processed food items (check the labels!!)

Hydrogenated oils can be put into anything and just because the label says it’s healthy does not mean it is! Always, turn the box or package over to uncover the truth. “100 Days of Real Food” found “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list on the package of oatmeal marked “heart healthy.” It makes me upset that they can advertise this, with obvious ingredients in it that would be the opposite of “heart healthy.”

(photo credit: “100 Days of Real Food.”)

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