Adding hydrogen to liquid oils turns them into solid hydrogenated oils. This process, called hydrogenation, is common to extend packaged foods’ oil shelf life and stability. But, there’s a twist – hydrogenation can also produce trans fats, notorious for causing health issues. These sneaky fats pop up in margarines, baked goods, and fried foods, making them a tricky addition to be cautious of on nutrition labels.
Trans fats, born from hydrogenation, have caused quite a stir in the health world. These fats are notorious for messing with your cholesterol levels, raising bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowering the good stuff (HDL). This heart-unfriendly combo increases your risk of heart disease and strokes. Trans fats also have a knack for inflaming blood vessels and messing with how your body handles insulin – not great news for those trying to avoid type 2 diabetes. Many health organizations recommend keeping trans fat intake as low as possible. Thankfully, food regulations have led to a decrease in trans fats in many products, but it’s still a smart move to read labels and choose foods with zero trans fats to keep your heart and health in tip-top shape.