Hydrogenated fats are found in many foods. Thats why I say its the most difficult fat to avoid, but its definitely the most important one to avoid. I used margarine for years and was totally oblivious to the fact that it was harmful to my health.
My motivating factor back then was price and its so much cheaper than butter. These days, I use olive oil whenever I can, mix it with butter, or just use butter. The thing is, hydrogenated oil and trans-fats are hidden in a lot of foods and if youre not a label reader, you may be totally unaware of how much youre consuming. If you read through the list of ingredients on a package, you may not see trans-fat or trans-fatty acids but you may see hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.
New laws are requiring that the amount of trans-fatty acids be included in the nutrition facts on packaged foods, but be careful here. The USDA allows for a claim of "0 trans fat" if the serving size contains less than .5 grams. Fair enough, but check out the serving size. Some manufacturers will define a very small serving size in order to get away with making that claim. Tricky and underhanded if you ask me, but this is the sort of stuff the consumer is up against.
Trans-fats are found naturally in very small amounts in foods like pomegranates, cabbage, peas, meat, and milk, but these are beneficial to health. The concern is its use in processed pre-packaged foods including cookies, cakes, crackers, frozen foods, French fries, bread and cooking oils used in restaurants.
Research has linked trans-fats to an increase in coronary heart disease and infertility in women. Other studies show that hydrogenated oil and trans-fats go straight to your middle, another risk factor for heart disease.
Nutritionists at Harvard estimate that replacing partially hydrogenated oil and trans-fats in the American diet with vegetable oils, would prevent at least 30,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 premature coronary deaths a year. Thats substantial and enough to make me think twice before I buy a box of snack crackers or use margarine in my favorite cookie recipe.
We lead busy lives, and many of us are just looking for simple, quick, and tasty foods. People trust that regulating authorities wont allow dangerous ingredients or chemicals in consumer products, but they do and its up to us to be informed and aware so we can make wise and healthy decisions. Stay away from snack and junk foods and youll eliminate a lot of trans-fat. Not to mention sodium, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, etc found in these foods. Is the convenience really worth the long term sacrifice?
return from hydrogenated oil and trans-fats to Amazing Olive Oil home