Last week, I was rummaging through our cupboard in the Doctor’s room, looking for my green tea, when I noticed a large jar of Coffee Mate - the coffee creamer used as a substitute for milk.
Because the label says it’s Fat Free, Cholesterol Free AND Gluten Free, most people believe that it has to be good for you. Right? The inspiration for this post comes from the feelings that washed over me when I saw that jar in our cupboard. With all the knowledge I have about calories, good fats, bad fats etc, something occurred to me. This coffee creamer is filled with hydrogenated fat.
We have a product in the Doctor’s cupboard, which can contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and probably other diseases driven by long term lifestyle choices - especially what we choose to put on our plate and in our coffee.
Hydrogenated fat, also called “Trans Fat” or “Partially Hydrogenated Fat”, belongs to a group of fats with a really bad reputation, and rightfully so. It’s the worse type of fat you could possibly eat. Why you ask?
Well for one, hydrogenated fats raise your LDL level - also known as bad cholesterol, and at the same time lower the levels of HDL - the good cholesterol.
It’s worth noting that good cholesterol helps to remove bad cholesterol from your bloodstream, preventing it from depositing in your blood vessels, eventually clogging them up.
Summing up, regular consumption of hydrogenated fat and its derivatives leads to clogged/blocked blood vessels, greatly increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke, amongst others.
Most hydrogenated fats are created using an industrial process, where hydrogen is “bubbled” through hot vegetable oils, and as a result it becomes a solid in room temperature. This newly formed, partially hydrogenated oil, does not spoil easily or go rancid as fast as unprocessed vegetable oil, so it prolongs the shelf life of foods that contain it.
It’s mostly used in biscuits, cakes, cookies, margarine, and most processed, packaged foods found in our supermarkets and grocery shops. It ensures they have a long shelf life and don’t spoil easily.
When looking at food labels to determine if the product contains hydrogenated fats, you should be looking for phrases like “hydrogenated vegetable oil”, “partially hydrogenated fat or vegetable oil” on the ingredient list.
When looking at the Nutrition Facts table, look for hydrogenated fat under the “Trans Fats” heading. They’re called trans fats, because the hydrogenation process transports hydrogen atoms to a new place on the fat molecule.
Trans fats are basically a by product of the hydrogenation process, and can be found in all types of hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Although most food labels might tell you that there are 0% or 0 grams trans fats in a particular food, this may not be entirely true.
There is a loophole in the food industry, stating that if a product has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, then it doesn’t have to be included on the label, thus it will read 0g grams.
The best way to find out if a product contains trans fats, is by reading the smaller print on the ingredient list (usually placed below the “Nutrition Facts” panel). Depending on how much processed/packaged food you eat daily, those hidden 0.5 grams of trans fat can quickly add up to an amount which may have a negative effect on your health.
Another important thing to be aware of, is the fact that most restaurants, especially fast food ones, use hydrogenated fats to deep fry food. Even though some restaurants may claim they use 100% vegetable oil for cooking, that doesn’t mean it’s not full of trans fats.
Unfortunately, we feed our children these fast foods, as so many little ones love their french fries and ketchup so much, it’s a standard position in the “Kids Menu”. So the next time you find yourself eating in a restaurant or ordering take out, remember all the health risks involved with eating hydrogenated fats. Make the effort to find out if the restaurant uses truly safe and healthy ingredients in their foods, to protect you and your family.
The best strategy to use in order to stay healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle, is the “Healthier You” strategy I believe in and practice. You can find out more about this strategy HERE, it’s going to help you reduce your intake of hydrogenated fats, and reduce your risk of suffering from the lifestyle diseases of our times, namely: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke etc.
Help me spread the word regarding hydrogenated fats - share and like this post. Please leave your comments below, I would love to hear about your experiences.
I leave you in the Care of Allah,
This entry was posted in What's in your food? and tagged Chronic Degenerative Diseases, hydrogenated fat, partially hydrogenated fat, trans fat on July 22, 2015.