Archive for the ‘Trans-fat’ Category

A Bad Replacement for Trans-Fats?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

BLI Experts | October 30, 2009 Better Life Institute

Something new is being placed into many of the packaged food products consumed in the United States. Most people have never heard of interesterified fats and are unaware of their function within the processed food industry. Interesterified fats are used as substitutes for partially hydrogenated oils in order to decrease or eliminate trans- fats while preserving the texture, flavors and taste in processed food products. Typically, the interesterified process uses enzymes to alter the molecular structure of vegetable oil to make it taste and feel like fat. By separating molecules (like triglycerides) with the enzyme catalyst, factories and manufacturers of food products can reconfigure the fatty acid molecules in various combinations, depending upon the hardness of the fat needed. These can include heavy fats for deep frying, semi-solid fats used to make margarine or other liquid oils for bottling purposes. Manufacturers like using interesterified fats because they produce products that can have an indefinite shelf life and are fairly cheap to turn out. Some examples of products that probably contain interesterified fats are as follows:

margarine and shortening

doughnuts

French fries

Fried chicken, fish

cookies

pastries

cakes

crackers

processed foods such as cereal and waffles

salad dressings

mayonnaise

Unlike trans-fats, which are required to be listed on labels food labels, interesterified fats are usually listed as “fully hydrogenated” or even as “interesterified fats”, which confuses many consumers, who may not have even heard of interesterified fats before. And, some researchers believe that this new kind of fat replacement may be just as bad as the trans-fats the food industry is trying to replace.

Why should we be cautious about the use of interesterfied fats in our diet? First of all, we really do not have a clear idea about the health consequences of long term use of these fat substitutes. It took us about 30 years to acknowledge that trans-fats were not a healthy alternative for food processing in the U.S. Some studies show that interesterfied fats can raise both LDL/HDL ratio as well as fasting blood glucose and can contribute to coronary heart disease in men and women. Other scientists claim that the residue of toxic metals used in the interesterfication process (usually nickel and aluminum) accumulate in the body and can lead to neurological conditions as well as a wide variety of other health problems. We just don’t have the full story yet.

We do know that if the U.S. (and the rest of the world for that matter) insist upon eating a diet of mostly processed, long shelf life, fatty tasting foods, manufacturers have to use either saturated fats (bad), trans-fats (bad) interesterified fats (who knows) or some other man made process to produce these products.

Better Life Unlimited and Better Life Institute, Inc., strongly suggest that you adopt or maintain a dietary plan that increases the consumption of fresh foods as much as possible and limit the eating of processed foods.