When you use margarine or shortening, think about how the consistency was obtained - and more importantly, what it could contain. The fat content may really be hydrogenated oil hardened by chemical means to become solid and stable for food processing.
What does hydrogenated mean?
The hydrogenation process converts part of the unsaturated and saturated
fatty acids into "trans fatty acids." There is abundant scientific evidence
that trans fatty acids negatively affect serum lipid profiles. In May
1994, Drs. Walter
Willet and Albert Asherio, members of the Harvard University Department of
Nutrition and Epidemiology, reviewed the growing science on trans fatty
acids and heart
disease, and concluded:
Although the percentage of coronary heart disease deaths in the United States
attributable to intake of trans fatty acids is uncertain, even the lower
estimates from the effects on blood lipids would suggest that more than 30,000
per year may be due to consumption of partially hydrogenated vegetable fat.
Furthermore, the number of attributable cases of nonfatal coronary heart
disease will e even larger.
In contrast to those oils that require hydrogenation, palm fruit oil is a stable, versatile and healthy alternative in food processing. It is semi-solid in its natural state, and therefore does not require hydrogenation. Palm fruit oil is free of trans fatty acids. It gives margarine a natural coloring and the right consistency for spreading. Additionally, natural nutrients such as Vitamin E and beta-carotene are added to most preparations today.
The product label will tell you if palm oil is used rather than hydrogenated
oils or trans fatty acids.
FATS AND PALM OIL IN THE DIET
Like other edible fats and oils, palm fruit oil is easily digested, absorbed and used for healthy metabolism. Fats and oils account for 95% of a category of nutrients called lipids. Phospholipids and sterols make up the other 5% of lipids.
Fats serve distinct roles in the diet, and in the body. In the diet, fats provide essential fatty acids and energy and are a carrier for the fat soluble vitamins - AD,K and E. Fats also contribute to palatability and satiety value of food. In the body, the functions for fat include energy reserve, thermal insulation, organ protection, tissue membrane structure and cell metabolism.
Fats contain carbon, hydrogen and oxgyen. They are glycerides composed of glycerol and fatty acids. Glycerol combined with one fatty acid is a monoglyceride, with two fatty acids is a diglyceride and with three fatty acids is a triglyceride. Most natural fats are triglycerides whether they are from animal or plant sources.
Fatty acids are of various chain lengths and degrees of saturation. The fatty acids may be short, medium or long chain. They are classified as saturated or unsaturated. The unsaturated fatty acids consist of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
A saturated fatty acid contains all of the hydrogen that it can take. Unsaturated fatty acids consist of monounsaturated (one place with less hydrogen creating one double bond) and polyunsaturated (two or more places unfilled with hydrogen creating two or more double bonds) fatty acids.
Many different combinations of fatty acids are possible in fats and oils. Palm fruit oil contains a combination of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. The unsaturated fatty acids are 40% oleic (monounsaturated) and 10% linoleic (polyunsaturated). Linoleic acid is the most common and the most important polyunsaturated fatty acid in foods. It is called an essential fatty acid because the body cannot synthesize it. The saturated fatty acids comprise 44% palmitic and 5% stearic.
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