What Are Hydrogenated Fats?

December 21, 2019
In a WHO Expert Committees report, this organization stressed the need to significantly reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids in the industrial production of foods.

There are many types of fats in foods. Some are healthy, while others are harmful. Hydrogenated fats are vegetable fats that can behave like animal fats in the body.

In this regard, they’re also called trans fats, which change their composition, appearance, and texture. Learn more about them in this article!

What are hydrogenated fats?

Hydrogenated fats or trans fats are fats that result from a chemical process. Many experts are against them. In fact, no expert recommends them, not even in low percentages.

You should avoid them as much as possible. These fats are obtained from the hydrogenation of vegetable oils (which convert them from unsaturated to saturated). Thus, they’re a lot more harmful than saturated fats.

This article may interest you: 6 Surprising Foods With Bad Cholesterol

How hydrogenated fats are obtained

A stick of butter on a plate.

Hydrogenated fats undergo a chemical process that benefits manufacturers. This is because their cost is lower than that of other fats.

Trans, or hydrogenated, fats result from a chemical process that benefits manufacturers in many ways, mostly because they’re cheaper than other types of fats. However, trans fats are dangerous to our health.

Many different food industries introduce hydrogen to ingredients that contain certain fats in liquid form, such as oils. In this sense, they do it when they’re at a very high temperature so they become solid.

This way, they allow foods to stay in good condition for longer, and have a more appetizing look, therefore making them easier to cook as it’s harder for them to spoil during the cooking process.

The health effects of hydrogenated fats

You can find trans or hydrogenated fats in most processed foods. Consuming only 5 g of trans fats a day is considered dangerous to your health.

Thus, they’re the most harmful fats. For this reason, it’s advisable to avoid or reduce their consumption. Also, they increase the risk of diseases such as:

  • Cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis. These fats can elevate harmful cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Also, they lower healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Cancer. They can make the body produce defective hormones and cell membranes.
  • Brain diseases. These fats inhibit the action of essential fatty acids, slowing down brain growth and maturation.
  • Metabolic diseases and diabetes.

In a WHO Expert Committees report, this organization stressed the need to significantly reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids in the industrial production of foods.

Consumers aren’t fully aware of the effects of a high intake of trans fatty acids on their health, especially cardiovascular health.

Foods or products that contain them

Different pastries.

You can find hydrogenated fats in a wide variety of products that people consume regularly.

Hydrogenated fats are inexpensive and have an ideal consistency to develop many different products.

Moreover, they have a pleasant taste. In addition, their shelf life is greater than that of other types of fats. Do you know which products contain these harmful fats?

  • Industrial pastries
  • Cookies
  • Ready meals
  • Snacks
  • Margarine
  • Candy
  • Fast food in general
  • Fried foods

You should also read: The Four Most Fattening Foods

How to avoid hydrogenated fats

To avoid them, the first thing you need to do is avoid processed products. Thus, it’s advisable to consume fresh products that don’t contain these fats or other added products.

In addition, if you buy most of your food in a supermarket, read the labels before buying a processed product. It’s important for you to make sure that the products in your cart don’t contain unhealthy ingredients.

In this regard, we’re not just talking about hydrogenated fats, but also of sugar or other starches. In addition, if a product label states that it contains vegetable fats, you have to see what kind. Avoid trans-fatty acids and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

If you buy many processed products or ready meals, then this may seem difficult. However, it’s important to change your habits in order to have a healthy lifestyle.

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