Thursday, September 4, 2008

"The Dirty Dozen" #5

So we are almost half way through this series. Has anyone learned anything new yet?? Now its on to Number 5! One of the most "hidden" but not hidden ingredients in foods.

5. Hydrogenated Oils by Jordan Rubin

Pick up a loaf of bread at the supermarket, and you will notice that hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils are usually recorded right after enriched white flour on the ingredient list. If you see any words with the "hydro-" prefix or "partially" on a package or box, dont buy it. If a friend offers you a packaged doughnut or cupcake, dont eat it. (all in moderation but best to stay away from)

During the hydrogenation process, hydrogen gas is injected into the oil under high pressure to make the oil solid at room temperature and prevent the oil from becoming rancid too quickly, but as mentioned earlier, this hydrogenation process produces an ugly stepchild: TRANS FATS!!! Research shows that trans fats by far are the most dangerousfor your heart. They lower the good HDL cholesterol, increase the bad LDL cholesterol, and increase triglycerides as well as another fat called lipoprotein (a).

As mentioned ealier, if the ingredient list includes the words, "shortening," "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil," or " hydrogenated vegetable oil," then the food contains trans fat. Even if the ingredients label says, "zero trans fat," that doesnt mean what you think it does; the FDA allows food manufacturers to have any amount less than .5 grams of trans fat in the food (per serving) and still legally say "zero trans fat" on the packaging.

Its a good idea when youre eating in a restaurant to ask the server if the kitchen is using partially hydrogenated oil for frying, baking, or cooking their dishes. Ask about salad dressing as well.

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