Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils are also known as trans fats. The process of hydrogenation involves artificially saturating the hydrogen atoms at high temperatures to make it into a single bond chain.
In other words, it is the process of converting unsaturated fats to highly saturated fats and oils. This process results in link/ chain of fats that are connected together.
So why is it so bad?
The trans-fats are known to clog up arteries, and increase cardiovascular diseases. By law, the companies are not required to declare use of trans fats unless the manufacturer chooses to declare on the food item.
As a consumer, you have to look out for words like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated on the packaging. If you see these words anywhere on ingredients list, it means that the food contains trans fatty acids.
Why companies use it?
To put it simply, cost and longer shelf life. By hydrogenation, the manufacturers can prolong the life of food items and it is also far cheaper than original non hydrogenised food.
Where to find them:
They are usually used in processes to make pasta, bread, bakery items, frozen pizzas, vegetable shortenings, crackers, fried foods, non dairy coffee creamers.
Butter Vs Margarine:
Butter is made from churning dairy cream. It is 63% saturated fats. Margarine, which is cleverly marketed as a spread for bread is made from vegetable oils. It has no dairy in it. Without the hydrogenation, margarine is very liquid and is not solid like butter.
So where is the problem? Most margarines today are not made 100% from vegetable oils but are made from hydrogenated oils or trans fats to make them solid like butter. On top of that margarine may also contain food additives and colorants.
Look for products with non trans fats
Choose margarine that says non trans fat or hydrogenated/ partially hydrogenated on it