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Transfats A. K. A. Hydrogenated Oils

Posted on 2009-01-26 at 7:12 p.m..

What are trans-fats?

Trans fat is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acid(s).

Unsaturated fat is a fat molecule containing one or more double bonds between the carbon atoms. Since the carbons are double-bonded to each other, there are fewer bonds available for hydrogen, so there are fewer hydrogen atoms, hence "unsaturated". Cis and trans are terms that refer to the arrangement of chains of carbon atoms across the double bond. In the cis arrangement, the chains are on the same side of the double bond, resulting in a kinked geometry.

The process of hydrogenation is intended to add hydrogen atoms to cis-unsaturated fats, eliminating a double bond and making them more saturated. These saturated fats have a higher melting point, which makes them attractive for baking and extends their shelf-life. However, the process frequently has a side effect that turns some cis-isomers into trans-unsaturated fats instead of hydrogenating them completely.

Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are neither essential nor salubrious. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more deleterious than naturally occurring oils.

Here is how the process is actually done:

Hydrogenated oils are oils that are often healthy in their natural state, but are quickly turned into poisons through the manufacturing and processing they undergo. They take these naturally healthy oils such as palm, kernel, soybean, corn oil or coconut oil and they heat it anywhere from five hundred to one thousand degrees under several atmospheres of pressure.

They then inject a catalyst into the oil for several hours. The catalyst is typically a metal such a nickel, platinum or even aluminum. As this bubbles up into the oil the molecular structure changes and increases in density and rearranges it's molecules so that instead of a liquid at room temperature we now have either semi-solid or solid oil. This creates either partially hydrogenated or fully hydrogenated oils.

The molecules in this new product are now closer to cellulose or plastic than to oil. In fact hydrogenated oil is only one molecule away from being plastic!

What do Trans-fats/Hydrogenated Oils do inside your body?

  • Since trans fat doesn't occur much in nature, our bodies don't know how to deal with it effectively. They act as poisons to crucial cellular reactions.

  • The body tries to use them as it would the essential fatty acids, and they wind up in cell membranes and other places they shouldn't be.

  • When you eat anything containing this material, just as the oil is now thicker and more viscous (dense), so too does your blood become thicker and more viscous right along with it. The heart now has to work so much harder to pump blood throughout the system. This is one of the major ways that consuming hydrogenated oils contributes to high blood pressure.

  • As you can imagine, this thicker blood with this gummy substance flowing with it can easily lodge in the arteries and build up the arterial plaque. It doesn't take anywhere near as much time as you may think for this to occur. Some studies have shown that negative health effects of eating processed foods occurs within only minutes of consuming such "foods".

  • This thicker blood which has a harder time pumping through the arteries also has a much harder time getting up to the brain. Hydrogenated oils can slow the micro circulation of blood through the brain further causing various emotional and physical ailments such an Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ADHD and muddled thinking just to name a few. Remember also that one of the metals sometimes used in the hydrogenation process is aluminum which more and more studies are now linking to Alzheimer's disease.

  • The more enzyme dead food and ingredients you consume (like trans-fats), the more your own body has to create and use up its own food enzymes during digestion. The act of digestion is a strenuous one on the body and requires a lot of Chi, nutrients and enzymes to take place. This places a large strain on your internal organs, especially the pancreas which has to create the necessary food enzymes for digestion. An overworked pancreas is actually one of the major causes of type II diabetes which is basically pancreatic failure.

  • Trying to digest this plastic-like hydrogenated oil takes a massive amount of enzymes and chi from the system. But the body never really succeeds because this material is not natural and it's a substance that the body is not designed to absorb. Such foreign substances often cause false immune response which place a great strain on the immune system and decreases overall immunity.

  • As the body sends more enzymes (digestive acids) into the stomach to try and digest this plastic like oil, the internal stomach temperature rises. This is another way that these unhealthy oils can lead to cancer, as cancer is classified as a "Yang" or "Fire" symptom in Chinese medicine. It can take thousands of degrees to break down plastic. The body is only partially successful at breaking down and digesting hydrogenated oils. These oils wind up in your intestines and in your arteries, and they remain there for the rest of your life. Removing them is a serious and difficult process of changing your lifestyle and eating habits.

    Label Warning!

    As it turns out, cellulose -- an indigestible fiber starch -- is one of the main ingredients in processed low-carb foods.

    And what’s another name for cellulose?


    Yes, cellulose gives us those low net carbs that food manufacturers like to cite on labels.

    The bad news: Cellulose provides no nutrition -- and maybe even a lot of gas. Termites can digest wood, but humans can’t!

    This is just one example of how the food industry uses slick marketing techniques to confuse, coerce, and bamboozle you into thinking that you’re doing something good for yourself by buying their new “health food” products that are simply slightly modified junk foods.

    They’re taking advantage of our nutritional naivety -- and this country’s labeling laws.

    Want another example?

    Just take a look at the new labeling laws for trans fats.

    These unhealthy chemically altered fats are found in almost every processed food, even though they’re known to be one of the causes of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and dementia. Clearly, trans fats aren’t fit for human consumption and should be completely eliminated from our food supply.

    So does our government protect us from these toxic fats?

    Of course not!

    Instead, through powerful lobbying efforts, the food industry was able to put a big loophole in trans fat labeling laws.

    That means you can now buy the same old junk food -- with “zero” trans fats. But read the label’s fine print, and you’ll find the words “hydrogenated fats.”

    The catch: Unless you know food chemistry, you probably don’t know that hydrogenated fats are the very same thing as trans fats!

    Is this false advertising?

    Well, not exactly.

    According to the new law, manufacturers can claim that their products are trans-fat-free if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fats PER SERVING (1/2 cup).

    But we know that most people eat the whole box or package of food and rarely eat just one serving. Most packaged foods contain 2 to 4 servings, which are usually never shared.

    That means you are getting a lot more trans fats per snack or meal!

    Plus, another loophole in these labeling laws allows companies with a storehouse of printed labels to use them until 2007, even if they don’t indicate the amount of trans fats in the food. That means that a company could have printed a year’s worth of labels on December 31, 2005 -- so it can use them on foods with large amounts of trans fats for a whole year.

    Sneaky, right?

    You think you’re getting trans-fat-free food, but you’re really eating trans-fat-FULL food!

    And if you’re eating these foods on a regular basis (as the $33 billion that the food industry spends on consumer marketing helps ensure), then you’re still eating a lot of trans fats.

    The result?

    The government looks like it’s doing the right thing -- but you’re really just eating the same old junk with a new label that makes it look healthy.

    The government wins -- and you lose!

    Trans-Fat History

    The health implications of trans fats were recognised as early as 1958, when Dr Ancel Keys reported that he believed that hydrogenated vegetable oils with their trans fats components were responsible for the sudden and significant increase in ischaemic heart disease over the previous decade. The response was predictable - the oil manufacturers buried the research and began the false attack on animal fats.

    More recently, University of Maryland researched Dr Mary Enig proved in 1978 that the increased cancer rates were directly associated with total fat intake and vegetable fat intake but not with consumption of animal fat. Dr Enig, who is a consultant clinician, specialising in nutrition has since spent the last 25 years warning of the dangers of trans fats and the relative safety of animal fats.

    In fact, even the Harvard School of Public Health has issued a warning regarding the comsumption of margarines, snack foods and other foods containing hydrogenated oils (and their trans fats), in favour of butter.

    There are stories of doctors who performed surgery and found several inches of a thick fatty substance in patient's arteries. Later this was identified to be the fatty, hydrogenated oil laden fast food breakfast of that patient the day before surgery. Not a pleasant thought at all.

    Foods that usually contain high levels of hydrogenated oils:

  • Pastries, Doughnuts, Cookies, Biscuits and Cakes You can make your own at home with natural/organic recipies. I've done it, it's not as hard as it sounds.

  • French fries (unless fried in lard / dripping) Try red-skinned potatoes with natural butter cooked in organic chicken broth with some organic carrots. That's what I do; and it really much better tasting.

  • Chocolate
    (Look for organic chocolate at your supermarket, there are tons of delicious chocolates with naturally milled cane sugar, no hydrogenated oils and specially grown coco. And believe me, there is no sacrafice in flavor!)

  • Margerine
    Always, always, always use natural butter! New studies show that butter actually uncloggs your artieries, whereas marerine does the opposite. Margerine is pure trans-fat; one moleicule short of being plastic!

  • Shortening

  • Fried Chicken
    Fry your own chicken in olive oil or walnut oil, it's really actually better flavored. Make sure you get plain chicken and not already pre-flavored. I like to serve with long-grain brown and white rice with hot sauce.

  • Crackers & Potato Chips
    Look in your organic section for alternative chips. Kettle chips offers two flavors that contain nothing I found to be harmful in them; the yogurt flavor that comes in a green bag; and the salt and vinegar which comes in a blue bag. Though always eat chips in moderation; too much salt can retain too much water.

    But remember, check the labels yourself! Looks for the word "hydrogenated" -- and remember; NO amount of hydrogenated fats are safe!

    Why are trans-fats even created if they're so bad?

    Hydrogenated oils are great as preservatives precisely because all the enzymatic activity in the oil has been neutralized during the hydrogenating process. Remember that this hydrogenated oil is only one molecule away from plastic and plastic does not breakdown, it lasts for millennia which is one reason that even our oceans are starting to turn to plastic.

    If un-hydrogenated oils put into foods they would go bad very fast. This would increase the cost to the manufacturer. That's because natural oils have enzymatic activity occurring in them which is what causes them and all foods to rot at room temperature. Any food that does not rot at room temperature is considered a "dead" food and should not be consumed.

    In fact the faster a food goes bad, the healthier they usually are. That's because the enzymatic activity which causes the foods to rot at room temperature also means that the enzymatic activity within your own body will be greater as well. Food is basically meant to digest itself so eating foods high in natural enzymes such as fresh vegetables, fruits and other raw foods means less stress on your own digestive system. This is especially true when foods are eaten in proper combinations and in line with the laws and rules of Trophology (The science of food combining).

    How can I avoid this poison?

    To help avoid hydrogenated oils, most of your foods should be raw and as close to their natural state as possible. This means more fruits and vegetables including organic local meats as fresh as possible. The more real foods from nature that you eat, the less packaged and processed foods you'll consume. It's the packaged and processed foods that are most likely to be made with hydrogenated oils to help increase their shelf life.

    This really means a change in the way that we think about food and what we classify as food. True foods are those from nature, in their natural pristine state, not those that come out of a factory or a box. You can't rely on the government or any other source to tell you what is ok to put into you or your families body.

    It absolutely means becoming a label reader and checking everything you buy that's packaged and processed. You especially want to make sure that hydrogenated oils and other negative ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup are not listed as ingredients, even on packages that have the word "organic" on the box.

    Just because a package has the word organic on the label doesn't mean that it's necessarily a healthy food. Packaged and processed foods with organic on the box would really be considered "less damaging" but not truly healthy. To be truly healthy means that a food is full of enzymes, phytonutrients, and life force with all their natural vitamins and minerals present.

    Now that you've read the dirt do you want to test your knowledge or take a survey to evaluate your own health? click here.

    But don't take it from me! Go to the source if you're not convinced!

    Sources for this page:


    Dangerous Health Foods by Dr. Mark Hyman

    Natural Health Information Centre

    Nahanna River Herbs

    Natural News

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