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Cautionary Ingredient - This ingredient appears to be problematic.
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What it is:
Fat, oil, shortening: Margarine, crackers, fried restaurant foods, baked goods.
What we know:
Trans fat (or hydrogenated oil) is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil--a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats. Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Unlike other fats, the majority of trans fat is formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. A small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods.

According to the American Heart Association, trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It�s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded in 2004 that on a gram-for-gram basis, trans fat is even more harmful than saturated fat.

Fully hydrogenated vegetable oil does not have any trans fat, but it also does not have any polyunsaturated oils. It is sometimes mixed (physically or chemically) with polyunsaturated liquid soybean oil to create trans fat free shortening. When it is chemically combined with liquid oil, the ingredient is called interesterified vegetable oil. All these oils have been shown to promote inflamation in the body, an overactivity of the immune system that has been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Other Names:
Hydrogenated; Fully Hydrogenated; Interesterfied; Interesterfied Oil; Trans Fat
Information Provided By:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition