Any oil in it’s naturally occurring state is a liquid. That’s common knowledge. However, when you hydrogenate an oil, you turn it into a solid. That’s why margarine can be made from sunflower oil and corn oil. Hydrogenated vegetable oil is made by removing all nutrients, smell, taste and impurities from vegetable seeds and bleaching them. Then the seeds are pressed into oil which is heated at a high temperature. Nickel (yes, the same metal that’s hidden between the cushions of your couch right now) is then added as a catalyst. (A catalyst is a substance that instigates a chemical reaction in another substance). If nickel isn’t used, many times platinum or palladium is used. The metal is then filtered out leaving hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is now a thick viscous substance. Water, whey, food coloring, emulsifiers and other items are then added to make margarine. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil is also called Trans Fat.
Why would someone want to go through all of this to make a product?
Manufacturers like this process because it creates a substance that will stay solid at room temperature and has a long shelf life. It means they can sell products and not have to worry about their freshness! (There’s a reason why that Hostess cupcake can stay in the cupboard forever).
Why is it Hydrogenation Bad for us?
The process of hydrogenation changes the molecular structure of a natural substance into an unnatural one. Our bodies have never had to deal with anything like it in it’s evolution, and we can’t fully process it. EVER. Traces of those heavy metals used in the processing, (nickel, palladium, and platinum) are filtered out, but NOT removed, so they end up in our bodies as well. Trans fats are similar in structure to the thickening agents used in making soaps and candles. In our bodies, they thicken and harden, and as a result lower HDL (good cholesterol), raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and harden arteries over time because they cannot be fully digested.
Trans Fats are also linked to the onset of insulin-resistant Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity and even cellulite. Think about it. Food that your body cannot properly digest or handle is stored as fat. Trans fats are celluloid, rigid forms of fat that block arteries and lodge itself wherever it can. Don’t you think that some of it might turn up as cellulite? Don’t get me wrong, if you stop eating trans fats alone, without exercising, then the cellulite won’t disappear completely, but it WILL be diminished.
Stay Away from Hydrogenated “Anything” Oil.
Recent legislation in many states (including NY where I live), have banned the used of Trans fats in restaurant foods, which is great! Many packaged goods are also boasting that they have “0 Trans fats” but BE CAREFUL.This just means a product doesn’t have Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil. But what I’ve noticed is that manufacturers are replacing it with some or all of the following:
- Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil
- Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil
- Hydrogenated Coconut Oil
- Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
- Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil
- Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Although these oils are NOT vegetable oil they are STILL going through the above hydrogenation process. Do NOT be fooled by anything that says “0 Trans Fats”. Look at the ingredients, and if it has anything hydrogenated in it. DON’T EAT IT.
- What are some of the foods that you were surprised to find trans fats in?