Hydrogenated fats in nutrition.
Hydrogenated fat is solid or semi-solid at roomtemperatures. The best example of this is margarine. Hydrogenated fats are created when anoil that is largely unsaturated, such as corn oil, has hydrogen added to it. Hydrogenatedfats are found in almost every processed food in the supermarket. Hydrogenated oils arefats with trans fatty acids that have the same capacity to do harm as saturatedfats. Research has shown trans fatty acids increase the LDL cholesterol, decreasethe HDL cholesterol and thus, increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Baked goods like cookies and muffins: buy them from the supermarket, they almost certainly have hydrogenated fat. Make them yourself, using margarine, they have hydrogenated fat. Make them yourself using liquid canola oil: no hydrogenated fat.
IMPORTANT NOTE About Canola Oil:
Hydrogenated Fats: The Trojan Horse of the FoodIndustry.
You all know the story of the Trojan horse. Well, hydrogenated fat has beencalled the Trojan horse of the food industry.
Hydrogenated fat is solid or semi-solid at room temperatures. It is found inhard and semi-soft margarine and in vegetable shortenings. These products are thenused in processed foods like baked goods, plus, as margarine or spread, we then usethem on our healthiest foods: baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, oatmeal, etc.
Where else do we consume hydrogenated fats?
Judith Shaw in her book RaisingLow-Fat Kids in a High-Fat World says these fats are found in almost everyprocessed food in the supermarket from soups to chips, crackers to cookies, pastries tomixes of all kinds, including some pasta and rice mixes.
They are also found in frozen foods like pizza and pot pies and even somecereals. When you order or cook deep-fried foods such as donuts, French fries,chicken, fish, etc., vegetable (hydrogenated) shortenings are often used to fry them.
Of course, hydrogenated fats are found in margarine as this is the"stuff" from which margarine is made.
"Oh, well," you say. "I’ll just go back to eating butter on mytoast. That’ll get rid of the hydrogenated fat altogether. Right?"
Even if we eat dry toast, hydrogenated fats are already used in almostevery sliced bread sold at American supermarkets. And… butter has its ownproblems: saturated fat.
Tip: Spectrum Foods makes a margarine from non-hydrogenated vegetableoil, the only one I have found.
What is hydrogenated fat?
Shaw writes, "Hydrogenated oils are fats that have the same capacityto do harm as saturated fats."
They are saturated-like fats made from plant oils and fats that have beenheated and pressure-processed. Hydrogenated fats are created when an oil that is largelyunsaturated, such as corn oil, has hydrogen added to it, causing fat to become more solidat room temperature.
During hydrogenation, the unsaturated fat becomes more saturated. AuthorHarold McGee in his book OnFood and Cooking writes that hydrogenated oils are "artificiallysaturated." 0
Shaw continues, "In addition, processed foods made with hydrogenated oilspose another health hazard: trans fatty acids."
Dr. Leonard Lopez writes, "The really bad saturated fat is called atrans fatty acid. These are chemically altered (processed) fats. You can find them in mostpackaged foods listed on the label as partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil. Ourbodies have a more difficult time with processed foods and would prefer foods in theirnatural state." See also Good Fats and Bad Fats
The more solid and hydrogenated the fat, the more trans fatty acids there arein the product. If you would like a more technical explanation: click here.
What do trans fatty acids do to us?
Among other results, researchers have found that trans fatty acidssignificantly raise LDL cholesterol levels, the bad cholesterol, while loweringthe HDL levels, the good cholesterol. In the Framingham Heart Study (a 40 yearstudy covering 5,209 individuals living in Massachusetts) high LDL cholesterol levelscombined with low HDL levels was indicative of coronary heart disease risk.
With all this information about cholesterol and heart problems, why does thefood industry use hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats in food products?
Plain and simple reason: hydrogenation extends the supermarket shelf life ofproducts.
Dean Ornish, M.D., in his book Dr.Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease writes, "Unfortunately,a longer life for the product may mean a shorter life for you."
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