Replacements for Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Posted: February 15, 2010 at 8:58 am
Now that partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) have
been removed from many processed foods, which substitutes are
acceptable and which should be avoided? Most of the foods
previously made with trans fats now use saturated fats from palm,
palm kernel and coconut oils. As far as I know, these tropical oils
have not been shown to cause heart attacks or other health issues
in any large population studies. However, they raise levels of the
bad LDL cholesterol, while Canola oil (high in monounsaturated fat)
and soybean oil (high in polyunsaturated fat) do not (American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2006).
Fats in nature are always a combination of saturated,
polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They are classified by
their dominant fat. For example, most of the fat in meat and
tropical oils is saturated, while the fats in most vegetables are
primarily polyunsaturated. Here are recommendations:
* Look for foods made with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated
vegetable oils. Many food manufacturers now use trans fat-free oil
from sunflower, soy, and cottonseed oils. (Wendy's switched to
non-hydrogenated corn and soy oil in 2006. McDonald's now uses
trans-fat free canola and soybean oils.)
* Avoid prepared foods that contain ANY partially hydrogenated or
* Limit or avoid foods prepared with saturated animal fats such as
lard and butter.
* Saturated fats from plants (tropical oils) appear to be more
healthful than animal saturated fats, as far as we know today.
* French fries should be freshly sliced and cooked with a
vegetable oil such as canola. (Many frozen french fries still
contain partially hydrogenated oils).
* Make your own snacks using vegetable, nut or seed oils.
Always read the list of ingredients to make sure there are
NO partially hydrogenated oils. Many products labeled "zero trans
fats" contain up to a half gram of trans fats per serving because
the FDA allows them to do this. Partially hydrogenated oils
(trans fats) raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.
Just five grams of trans fat a day can increase risk of heart
disease by 25 percent. They are also associated with increased
risk for breast
and prostate cancers.
Overall, snack foods and prepared foods should be a very
small portion of your diet. Most of the food you eat should be
vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other seeds.