Trans Fats or Hydrogenated Oil

This article was first published on 24th February 2006. I thought I would re-publish this article with updates today as it seems to have been attracting much attention.

Well at last. Thank you Good Morning TV. Thank you Amanda – Nutritionist. 13 years late but nevertheless the public are at last being warned against Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils.

See my article about ‘Dr?’ Gillian McKeith scroll down to about the middle and I mention trans fats, their danger and why and how they are formed and the money men.

I’ll repeat it all here because it is SO important that the world STOPS consuming products with hydrogenated oils.

In about 1992 no it was 1993, I was studying for my exams in beauty therapy, aromatherapy, massage and aerobics. It was very late.
I turned on the TV for a break in my studies and tuned into Channel 4 at about 11pm. I don’t know what the programme was called but it was about Trans Fats.

I knew about these because I had just completed an essay on Nutrition and I had researched all sorts of information; Whole Earth had been particularly helpful and it was they who informed me about Trans Fats.

The Channel 4 programme ended by saying that if margarine was invented today it would be banned.

It was exposing Van den Burgh’s margarine company (I am sure it was they who made Stork and Flora but I cannot find the information now, evenso it is Unilever now who are a VERY big company) who made the majority of margarines then.

Vegetable oil is another healthy option for us alongside animal lard and butter which was mainly used in the 1920’s for baking.

So using the health propoganda to do with veg oils, Van den Burg ‘found’ a discovery in france of a french man who had managed to make an oil – solid, a method of making the runny veg oils solid. The method pumped more hydrogen molecules into the oil.

However in doing this another fat was formed – trans fats. Trans fats in the body stop prostaglandins to be made.

Prostaglandins are the precursers to making hormones.

So the effect of margarine in the body was to halt the production of hormones making it a very dangerous substance.

By the time the health implications of this was eventually understood by the powers that be, it was too late to stop the production. This was due to money and power. There would have been a slump in the market if Van den Burgh’s (or whoever the company was) margarine was exposed.

After the TV programme I was expecting to hear about this in the Newspapers.

Never was it mentioned by the media again until towards the end of the 90s.

Then Van den burgh (or Unilever) produced a margarine with virtually no trans fats. However watch for words like mono or di-glycerides of fatty acids. These are from hydrogenated oils. Do not be fooled solid vegetable oils are not healthy. They are unnatural foods.

Look up the Unilever website. The article here is gobsmacking because it is their margarine that has caused the health problems in the first place. They are blaming lack of exercise and lifestyles but their margarine started it all in 1920.

I have been telling everyone I know since I first heard of these terrible fats in 1993. I am so relieved that at last the public are being made aware.
(I can only think that the government have released their hold on the information now that most margarine companies have developed an alternative. But I am not convinced in any way that the alternatives are healthy but extremely bad for you.)

Do not be fooled. Hydrogenated oils come in many disguises. Ask yourself this one question: How can a natural substance like vegetable oil become solid? So if you are still buying margarine perhaps you shouldn’t be? Afterall what have they used to make a runny oil (that would slip off your toast) more solid (so that it doesn’t slip off your toast).

Animal fats are solid: butter and animal lard. Yolk in eggs is animal fat but it is runny. They are not a fatty problem for you if you eat them in small amounts and with a healthy protein full, vegetable full and fruit full diet.

While they are cold they contain another good fat called lecithin (HDL) and this emulsifies the hard fat (LDL) and takes it out of the body. Heating destroys the vulnerable lecithin. Evenso they are a healthier option than margarines.

So if you are cooking with animal lard or butter then make sure you also eat runny oils too and this will give you the valuable lecithin to flush out the hard fat. There is a hard vegetable fat which is coconut oil but it immediately softens in conditions of room temperature or slightly higher.

So butter on your toast is fine – in small amounts. Cooked butter on wild salmon (not farmed!) is fine too because you have the good oils of the wild salmon to ward off the effects of the bad fat left in butter after cooking.

Basically the message is clear as it has been for years and years and years. Eat fresh home grown unadulterated food. No chemicals, no altered foods, no GM, no additives, no preservatives – just food ripened by the yellow sun, freely running in green fields or swimming in unpolluted freshly flowing rivers, exhilarating unchartered seas and lush beautiful lakes.

I really don’t think that it is animal fat that is the enemy to our hearts and arteries but the altered foods like hydrogenated oils. Lynus Pauling won a nobel prize for his work in discovering that cholesterol is also further controlled by an amino acid (from protein) called Lysine and Vit C. So if we are eating properly high LDL cholesterol really shouldn’t be a problem should it?

So if the knowledge about Hydrogenated Oils and therefore Trans Fats has been known for all these years and the diseases they cause, what other snippits of vital health concerns are being kept from public knowledge? Let me see now … GM food?

Just to recap: good fat is fish, animal and seed oils. Bad fat is hydrogenated fat (or trans fats or mono and diglycerides of fatty acids) which is in low fat spreads and margarines as well as cakes, biscuits, pies and some breads – read the labels.
Animal fat in small proportions is OK as long as you are eating plenty of meat, vegetables, fruit, fish and drinking plain water. In fact the body needs animal fat and gristle to keep the joints healthy as in the fats from fish and muscles.

PS BREAD, especially the white sliced variety has mono and diglycerides of fatty acids ie TRANS FATS.

My advice to my clients has always been: ‘If you don’t understand the ingredient in the ingredients list on a product – don’t buy it.’

4 thoughts on “Trans Fats or Hydrogenated Oil

  1. I’ve just read your article on trans fats and I’m very grateful. You explain in a very clear manner some not that clear and easy topics: fats, cholesterols… Now I understand why margarine and cakes are not good for us. Thankyou very much, I’ll send a link to the article to all my contacts.
    Thankyou, thankyou.

  2. The article was great it told me everything I wanted to know about trans fats. I still have one question though. If a product’s ingredients have partially hydrogenated soybean oil but it says 0 grams of trans fat under the nutrition label then is there still some small amounts of trans fat like .1 grams or is there none. Thank you for the article

  3. Hi Joe, thank you for your comment. The company are being confusing about their soybean oil. I am not a nutritionist or scientist so I cannot give you a scientific explanation. Hydrogenation is not natural whether it is partial or full so I avoid it like the plague. Look at this website as it answers your question Bunge
    I’ve copied and pasted two of their FAQs here

    “What products contain trans fats?”

    “Hydrogenated products: oils and fats, biscuits, confections, chips; natural (animal products): milk, butter, cheese, meat.

    “Trans fats are present in variable amounts in a wide range of foods, including most foods made with partially hydrogenated oils, such as baked goods and fried foods, and some margarine products. Trans fats also occur naturally in low amounts in meats and dairy products.”

    “What does “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” mean on a label?”

    “The term is used to describe oil which has been lightly to moderately hydrogenated to shift the melting point to a higher temperature range and increase stability. Partially hydrogenated oils are used in a wide variety of food applications.

    “Partially hydrogenated oils are used in processed foods because they help produce food products that stay fresh longer and have a more desirable texture. It is not always desirable to substitute unhydrogenated oils because of differences in the way the oils work to produce acceptable food products.”

    We cannot avoid trans fats when they occur naturally but nature always provides the antidote. In meats and dairy there are other fats that counteract the tiny amounts of trans fats found in meat and dairy. Trans fats raise cholesterol and lecithin a ‘good’ fat found in meats and dairy will act as a washing up liquid to cholesterol (emulsifies) and flush it out of the body. This is why it is always best to eat natural wholefood and bake it your self if it is a cake or pastry you want. To eat raw food as well as cooked to gain the enzymes from the raw food that is important for adequate digestion.

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