Hydrogenation of Fats and Oils: Turning fat into Poison

Some of us might not be aware of the term Hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is a chemical process where hydrogen is inserted into some other chemical to change its certain properties. But we are talking about Fats and Oils. Hydrogenation of Oils is affecting lives of billions of people living in different parts of globe. Once you read the truth of hydrogenation, you will find it why we have compared hydrogenation with poison.

Why do we do Hydrogenation of Fats and Oils ?
Answer is very simple, Money ! To save money we convert vegetable oil (which is an unsaturated fat) into saturated fat or semi-saturated fat. Vegetable Oil is cheaper and hydrogenation converts it to look like saturated animal fat, which is higher in price. This process also increases the shelf life of this fat. Vegetable Oil is liquid at room temperature, while hydrogenated oil is semi-solid, thus easier to store. Solid and Semi-solid fats are also preferred in baking.

How is Hydrogenation of Oils done ?
There are carbon-carbon double bonds in Vegetable Oils. These vegetable oils are reacted with hydrogen at 60ºC in presence of Nickle (as Catalyst). It converts some of these carbon-carbon double bonds into single bonds by adding some hydrogen atoms to it. In some cases only partial hydrogenation is done where all double bonds are not converted into single bonds.

Why hydrogenation of Fats and Oils is Harmful ?
Hydrogenation of Oils make the carbon bonds unstable and it causes isomerization in these oils and produces trans isomers. To be precise these isomers have same chemical formula and the structure of atoms changes either in 2D or 3D. Suppose there is a compound with element A, B and C. Its natural formula is ABC, but an isomer may have BAC. The elements are same but the structure differs, its isomerism. This isomerization of oils is found responsible for various heart diseases. Due to this risk factor of Hydrogenation of Oils, several regulatory authorities around the world have adopted the term trans-fat to be mentioned in the ingredients list printed on packaging of food products.
In other terms this trans-fat raises the level on LDL Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol) in our body. Some experts say that the trans-fat's structure is not natural. Their chemical structure is in zig-zag form, while natural saturated fat has a simple structure. It makes trans-fat something unnatural for body. Fat is a part of every cell in body, but this trans-fat don't fit naturally in our body. Some experts believe that trans-fat can also cause Cancer.

Nobody would like to get affected by any heart disease or Cancer, so save yourself from this fatty poison known as trans-fat which is made through hydrogenation of oils.
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