According to the Mayo Clinic, we should avoid foods with hydrogenated oil because this type of oil contains trans fats.
The food industry has used hydrogenated fat for years – until recently, when the dangers of trans fats became well-known. Trans fats are risky for humans because they raise LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, and lower HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. This increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.
The danger of eating hydrogenated oil
Hydrogenated oil is vegetable oil that has had hydrogen added to it. Doing this gives the food a longer shelf life and takes some of the greasy feel of the food away. Trans fats are not saturated fats, but scientists believe that the body may think that it is a saturated fat. It is a widely accepted fact that too many saturated fats contribute to heart disease.
Avoiding foods with hydrogenated oil
Avoiding foods that have hydrogenated oil can be tricky, but it is mainly found in foods that are not regarded as being healthy for you in the first place. You can find hydrogenated oil in doughnuts, French fries, cookies, cakes and fried foods. Some margarines and shortenings are made from hydrogenated oil and should be avoided.
Tricks that food manufacturers use to fool consumers
You may like to eat snack foods that contain trans fats and hydrogenated oil, but chances are good that you do not know that these fats are in the foods that you eat. That is because food manufacturers are allowed by law in the U.S. to state that foods have zero grams of trans fat even if a food has up to 0.5 grams of this ingredient. If you eat half a bag of crunchy cheese puffs that add up to three servings, you could be getting 1.3 or more grams of trans fats.
How food labeling can be deceiving
Many consumers believe that they are eating healthy snacks when they see “No Trans Fats” on the package label. Food manufacturers are well-aware that the public does not want to eat foods with high trans fat levels. If a person eats only the amount of a snack that is listed as a serving on the package, then they can be sure that they are eating under 0.5 grams of trans fat. The problem is that many people eat more than the recommended serving amount and are getting more trans fat than they realize.
Eating fresh, unprocessed foods is the best way to avoid hydrogenated oil
Bypassing fast food restaurants can be difficult for people who are busy and always on the run. If you need to eat out, it is best to look for grilled chicken or other foods that do not contain hydrogenated oil. Restaurants will provide the calorie and fat content of items on their menus if you request this information. Of course, you can always pack a lunch that does not have this unhealthy oil in it. Nutritionists recommend fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grain breads as healthy foods that do not contain hydrogenated oils.