I interact with people while grocery shopping...shoppers, cashiers, whoever. I'm always amazed that most people don't know or care about hydrogenated oils! Please read this post that I've created by borrowing content from other listings. Hydrogentated oils are poison to our body. Read the labels of everything you eat - especially the cookies, crackers, cereals, breakfast bars, microwave popcorn, etc. It's in everything, but not in the food I eat. If it's on the label, it stays in the store where it belongs!
By the way, margerine is a stick of hydrogenated oil. Eat butter - it's the real thing!
Why Fats are Important
The first thing to understand about fats is that the essential fatty acids they contain are truly essential. They are the "active ingredient" in every bodily process you can name:
· brain cell function and nervous system activity:
o hormones and intra-cellular messengers
o glandular function and immune system operation
o hemoglobin oxygen-transport system
· cell wall function:
o passing oxygen into the cell
o passing nutrients into the cell
o keeping foreign bodies out of the cell
· digestive-tract operation:
o assimilating nutrients
o blocking out allergens
In short, the essential fatty acids (contained mostly in polyunsaturated oils) are the most important nutrients there are -- more important than vitamins, minerals, or even proteins - because without them, there is no life. They are the substance and foundation of life energy.
What is Hydrogenation?
Hydrogenation is the process of heating an oil and passing hydrogen bubbles through it. The fatty acids in the oil then acquire some of the hydrogen, which makes it more dense. If you fully hydrogenate, you create a solid (a fat) out of the oil. But if you stop part way, you obtain a semi-solid partially-hydrogenated oil that has a consistency like butter, only it's a lot cheaper. Because of that consistency, and because it is cheap, it is a big favorite as a butter-substitute among "food" producers. It gives their products a richer flavor and texture, but doesn't cost near as much as it would to add butter.
Until the 1970's, food producers used coconut oil to get that buttery flavor and texture. The American obesity epidemic began when coconut oil was replaced with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil -- most often soybean oil.
What's Wrong with Hydrogenation?
Unlike butter or virgin coconut oil, hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fats. A trans fat is an otherwise normal fatty acid that has been "transmogrified", by high-heat processing of a free oil. The fatty acids can be double-linked, cross-linked, bond-shifted, twisted, or messed up in a variety of other ways. The problem with trans fats is that while the "business end" (the chemically active part) is messed up, the "anchor end" (the part that is attached to the cell wall) is unchanged. So they take up their position in the cell wall, like a guard on the fortress wall. But like a bad guard, they don't do their job! They let foreign invaders pass unchallenged, and they stop supplies at the gates instead of letting them in.
In short, trans fats are poisons, just like arsenic or cyanide. They interfere with the metabolic processes of life by taking the place of a natural substance that performs a critical function. And that is the definition of a poison. Your body has no defense against them, because they never even existed in our millions of years of evolution -- so we've never had the need or the opportunity to evolve a defense against them.