What’s THAT?: Hydrogenated Oils (Part 2)

(photo credit: healthyls.blogspot.com)

Yesterdays post was on hydrogenated oils. Today, I’m going to clear up some loose ends on hydrogenated oils and explain, more in detail, what hydrogenated oil is.

What exactly is “hydrogenated oil”?

In the 1960’s and 70’s, lard and butter were quickly going out with the dinosaur and this new thing was coming in: margarine. This new invention brought in a new process also, hydrogenation. Food companies used this process to be able to take liquid oils and fatty acids and bombard them with hydrogen molecules. When they did this, it converted the liquid oils into more of a solid form. The more hydrogen, the more solid. Fully-hydrogenated oils are not found in foods, because they are too hard. So, the invention of “partially-hydrogenated oils” came about, which is fully-hydrogenated oils lacking some hydrogen molecules.

“Trans-fats are the result of partially hydrogenating oils to reach a semi solid state at room temperature.” (quote from fooducate.com)

What is the process?

Livestrong.com explains the process:

“In the process of hydrogenation, a vegetable oil is heated and set aside in a container with hydrogen gas and a metal that acts as a catalyst to incorporate the hydrogen into the oil. The hydrogenated oil solidifies.
When an oil is fully hydrogenated, it is converted into a saturated fat but when it is only partially hydrogenated, it turns into a trans fat. Trans fats are considered more dangerous to your health than saturated fats or any other type of fat.”

What should I be looking for in the ingredient list so I can avoid it?

  • Check the labels! …I know I say this a lot, but it’s really the only thing you can do to know what is in what you are eating.
  • Avoid things that say “partially _____ oil” or “hydrogenated _____ oil.” The blank is for the many various kind of oils that are out there…..vegetable, palm, soybean, etc. When they are hydrogenated, they are not good.

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