Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And now for something completely different ...

Before we get started with today's post, I'd like to share a link with you. A couple of posts ago, we talked about toxic ingredients in soap (read that post HERE). One of the ingredients listed in that article, Triclosan, is one of the most common ingredients typically found in antibacterial soaps. If you're interested in a little more information on it and a pretty good list of soaps which do and do not contain it, click on the following:

OK ... on to our subject "du jour":

This post is not exactly environmental ... but I thought it was worth sharing.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils

In the early part of the 20th century, it was discovered that, when hydrogen gas is passed through a liquid polyunsaturated oil in the presence of heat or an electrical current, it miraculously becomes solid. Hydrogenation was great at stopping oil rancidity and lengthening the shelf life of all kinds of food products. It was not, however, so good for our health. These dangerous fats soon crept into baked goods and snacks all across the world, keeping them "fresh" for our consumption with something that molecularly resembled plastic more than food.

"Hydrogenating" oil creates nasty trans fats, (trans from the Latin for "across," "beyond" or "opposite side.") Some of the molecules in the oils literally switch sides, turning from a little round liquid oil into a stiff solid that our bodies just don't know how to handle (you could say that the oil crosses over to the dark side). Trans fats have been implicated in all kind of serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and cancer. Worse than saturated fats, hydrogenated oils in the form of margarine and shortening were initially and ironically offered as healthier alternatives to lard and butter. Even though the FDA started requiring manufacturers to label the amount of trans fats in a product in 2006, they left a loophole: if a product has less than ½ gram of trans fats per serving, the maker of that product can claim it is "Trans Fat free."

This is another instance where we need to read the labels and avoid certain products. Foods with words like "trans fat" or "partially hydrogenated oil" in the ingredient list are dangerous to our health.

As always ... I'd love to hear from you!