Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Are YOU and YOUR FAMILY eating the H-BOMB?

Many of my readers have heard me use the H-Bomb term lately. My clients hear me rant and rave about this all the time…so what exactly is it? Hydrogenated Oil or Trans fatty acids (TFA's) is what I call H-Bomb since it really destroys the insides of our bodies. (TFA's) are a thorn in my side and are the subject of many of my soapbox preaching. So, what is so bad about the H-bomb you ask?

Let me explain to you how it is made….

First food manufacturers take vegetable oil, corn, cottonseed or soybean oil of a cheap quality. The oil may be already rancid from the extraction process, then they mix it with tiny metal particles, usually nickel oxide, a toxic substance and then they subject the mixture to hydrogen in a high-pressure high temperature reactor. Next to remove the unappetizing odor of the mixture and to give it a better consistency, soap like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed in and the oil yet again is subjected to high temperatures like a steam cleaning. The resulting mixture is unattractive and gray in color. In order to make the hydrogenated solid oil look like butter the original grey is removed by bleach and coal tar dyes are added. Then the mixture is compressed into tubs or blocks which the consumer buys as margarine or eats up like crazy in foods like french fries.

YUMMY! If that isn't enough to turn your stomach listen up to this…If you eat any food product with the H-Bomb or the Trans fatty acids as part of the ingredients then it infiltrates into your cells but our cells do not know what to do with it. Initially, they cause havoc with our insulin making us more prone to immediate weight gain, which answers the question of why Americans are getting so fat, when as little as 20 years ago the problem of widespread obesity was unheard of. What's worse is according to recent research by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these deformed fatty acids have been shown to be precursors to cancer, heart disease, diabetes (Adult onset in adults and in children), MS, and have also been shown to diminish the growth of healthy brain cells in children. In a 1990's study published in the New England Journal of Medicine research demonstrated that TFA's raises the total cholesterol levels and "bad LDL levels" while lowering the good-for-you HDL cholesterol. Plus, I have always told my clients "Eat anything with the H-Bomb in it and your body will not know what to do with it except store it for later analysis…. You know what that means. So why is this additive in our foods? Shouldn't the Government ban TFA's? Well, 25 grams of saturated fat is safe for consumption as deemed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, the FDA has refused to set a maximum recommended daily allowance for Trans fats, because the only safe level is zero. In the US, saturated fat must be listed on the "Nutrition facts" label on packaging but there was no requirement to list the H-Bomb on the label…well not until the Institute of Medicine reported after a 3 year study on TFA's no level of Trans fat is safe to consume. Now that you are armed with the awareness it is up to you to take care of you and your families health. Do not eat anything with hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil listed as part of the ingredients. If you shop in the center isles of your grocery store you better be reading the labels. Make sure your favorite fast food restaurant is not cooking in it either…don't know, ASK! Believe me it's better to just stick to the basics avoiding any foods that have more than 2 ingredients in them. The H-Bomb has been banned from being an ingredient in pet food, but the FDA ruled just recently (July 9,2003) that by Jan 1 2006 Trans fat is required to be listed as a warning on all food products since it will take that long for the big food giants to prepare…3 years is a lot of time for you and your loved ones to get really unhealthy …please don't wait.
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Pamela Painter is a Master Fitness Specialist, Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research, Dallas, Texas


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