What Are Hydrogenated Oils?
Hydrogenation is a process that causes vegetable oils, like canola and soybean, to become solid at room temperature.
Hydrogenated oils maximize the bottom line for food manufacturers by giving goods a longer shelf life. These oils are utilized in approximately 40,000 food items in almost all packaged and commercially produced goods such as cereals, crackers, breads, cookies, chips, chocolates, to name a few. They are included in numerous foods that you wouldn’t consider such as salad dressings, mayonnaise, peanut butter, energy bars, margarines, and shortenings. They give foods the buttery taste that we have grown accustomed to tasting. Although hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, food manufacturers are permitted to claim that a food contains zero trans fats on the label, while partially hydrogenated oils and hydrogenated oils are listed as an ingredient.
There is a subtle distinction between hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. Consumers are made to believe that partially hydrogenated oils are the real evil, while hydrogenated oils are ‘good’ for you since they claim to not contain trans fatty acids. As more negative publicity is given to partially hydrogenated oils, food manufacturers must find another way to keep making money. Hydrogenated oils may technically contain less trans fats than partially hydrogenated oils, but they are equally as bad for you. Hydrogenation in any form alters the molecular structure of fatty acids, and is harmful to the body.
To get a more scientific explanation of how hydrogenated oils are manufactured, the following are a few suggested articles to read:
If you Google hydrogenated oils, you will find hundreds of articles. Just be weary of misinformation. There are numerous websites containing false claims. As an example, many of the .gov websites suggest that margarine is good for you. Really? Government sponsored websites? Just read ahead, and get my opinion…
Why Are Hydrogenated Oils Dangerous?
Hydrogenated oils are man made, and the body has limited ability to recognize them and break them down. They are as foreign to our body as eating a sock. They are unnatural, synthetic, and our body was not made to process or utilize them.
If we accumulate enough of these ‘indigestible’ fats in our system, the danger increases for heart disease, along with a plethora of other diseases like cancer, diabetes, elevated cholesterol and obesity, multiple sclerosis diverticulitis to name the major ones. They are the only type of fat which not only raises LDL levels of cholesterol (the ‘bad’ cholesterol), but simultaneously lowers your HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ cholesterol). Therefore, you are hit with a double whammy. For those of you who are on a low cholesterol diet, and refuse to eat steak because of the saturated fat is contains, but yet eat manufactured cookies, cupcakes, cereals, salad dressings or any of the items I list in this article, believe me when I tell you this: Any benefits that you gain from not eating the steak are completely negated by any foods that you eat which contain hydrogenated oils. At least saturated fat is a natural fat, can be broken down by the liver, and although can increase your LDL cholesterol, it also increases HDL cholesterol (which is a good thing). Visit my website at www.eatfitnyc.com and keep reading this blog in the future to find articles on cholesterol that I plan to write.
Trans fatty acids can block your body’s use of essential fatty acids, thereby making you deficient in major nutrients. They force the removal of vitamins and minerals from your body to help digest the stripped hydrogenated oils. Your liver is going to do everything it can to remove these toxins. The process is incredibly taxing for your liver and takes away its ability to do its real job, which is to metabolize fat. It logically follows that the fat will be stored in your body if it is not properly metabolized.
Where Are Hydrogenated Oils Found?
40% of all foods in a grocery store
95% of all cookies
75% of chips and crackers
80% of all frozen breakfast foods
70% of all cold cereals and cake mixes
Most microwave popcorn
Many salted peanuts and other nuts
Most restaurants that fry foods including donuts
Any foods that are cooked as very high temperatures convert to trans fatty acids
Be weary of:
(Source of above information taken from http://ezinearticles.com)
Also found in:
Peanut butter – buy only organic. Jiffy, Skippy, and any of the other store brands all contain hydrogenated oils. Don’t feed these to your children!!
Mayonnaise – even the light versions
Salad dressings, creamy store bought pasta sauces
Breads, baked goods such as muffins, cupcakes, cookies, chocolates
Just look at the ingredients on any of the manufactured foods that you buy and you will be shocked. I’ll admit that it is a little sad as you start to realize that the foods we have learned to love are actually poison with a fancy label. The good news is that once you start accepting this, you become angry at the food industry for trying to make a fool out of you. At least that’s what happened to me. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my chocolate bars and many of the staple American treats, but not enough to keep poisoning myself. I reward myself accordingly for eating clean, and you should too! It takes dedication and you deserve to reward yourself. As one example, I seek out specialty chocolatiers and buy high quality chocolates which I know have a short shelf life and are all goodness.
I promise to start populating my website with substitutes for these ‘bad’ goods, and provide you with names of brands that you can trust – they do exist. You can make your own salad dressing and carry it in a jar. There are cookies and energy bars that are natural or organic, and taste amazing. It has taken me a long time to find them, but now that I have, I will share them with you. I provide heaps of choices and alternatives for clients as part of their EatFit™ Program meal suggestions.
My opinion is neither scientifically based nor formed with any type of medical education. It is a combination of a passion for health and clean eating, and countless hours of research and reading, as well as an ingrained common sense that I simply grew up with, and innately understand.
If there was a betting ‘game’ on the #1 source behind the cause of deadly diseases today, my money would 100% go on hydrogenated oils and trans fatty acids.
The food industry is strictly for profit, and does not care about your health. It will find any loopholes necessary to increase their bottom line (much like the tobacco industry – sound familiar?). They will keep allowing the use of hydrogenated oils until it is strictly illegal, which much like the tobacco industry, will likely never be. There is too much of a political agenda behind it all. (Yes, I am dangerously close to opening up a conspiracy theory debate here). We now know without a doubt that tobacco use leads to lung disease and cancer, yet big (dirty) money continues to make it legal to kill ourselves. Don’t bet on any fair games coming from the food industry. Oh, and by the way, did you know that the largest tobacco company, Phillip Morris, owns Kraft Foods?
There are already numerous publications linking hydrogenated oils to outbreaks in obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. But human nature is an interesting beast. We only hear what we want to hear, and we do not want to hear what may take away from our pleasures in life – we keep telling ourselves that a little is ok.
So we keep having a teaspoon of rat poison (or sometimes two or three), every time we ingest any of the foods that I had listed above. Rat poison spread on a sock, that is. And somehow we imagine and expect our liver to process this (because we ARE invincible after all – stats don’t apply to ME). Then for some reason, we are shocked when “I”, or our loved ones, develop diseases or gain copious amounts of weight. But yet we pretend we are healthy. We decide that we are going to avoid all animal fat, or we decide that eating eggs is a bad thing. Because we tell ourselves that this is healthy, and justifies us eating the things that are manufactured and taste “so yummy”. Only most of the time these manufactured foods do not even contain one natural ingredient, and are toxic to our bodies. I ask you – what is more ludicrous than a vegetarian eating fries with a side of “light” mayonnaise? If you are anything like I used to be, you probably genuinely believe that you are eating healthy. I was lucky in life to have parents who taught me good nutrition habits. But after moving away from home, I managed to eat a lot of crap not once thinking that I was acting unhealthy. I look back on much of the foods that I ate, and I am shocked at how much poison I fed myself. The purpose of this blog topic is to open your mind to how you are harming yourself (and your children) if you keep ignoring your diet, and “going with the flow”.
I URGE you to read some articles on hydrogenated oils. Please, please PLEASE start educating yourself on this horrible substance, and be strong for your body. You only live once, after all. Don’t eat garbage and poison just because some corporation decided to mutilate a substance to make it tasty, appealing, PROFIT making, but DEADLY. You are smarter than that!
Keep checking my website as I add further information on this topic, and also many other nutrition FAQs.
EatFit™ at www.eatfitnyc.com