You may have heard about the health issues caused by a food ingredient called partially hydrogenated oil (PHO). It is found in many, many foods in your supermarket and in restaurants. Although I knew it was unhealthy, I never really knew why until I did some research for this post.
In a nutshell, PHO’s are created when hydrogen bubbles (yes, hydrogen) are passed through oil that has been heated. This removes the essential fatty acids that do a lot of good for your body, and chemically alters the oil so it becomes a trans fat, also called a saturated fat (bad, bad stuff). McDonalds is one of the better-known trans fat cases because of all the media attention.
So why are PHO’s so bad? They cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and allergies that can cause arthritis. It also disables your body from properly absorbing good essential fatty acids (necessary to sustain healthy life) found largely in polyunsaturated oils. Instead of being absorbed and providing your body with what it needs to function properly, the essential fatty acids are eventually stored as fat cells, causing you to gain weight.
I’m not a scientist (although I’ve been told I look like Dr. Egon Spengler from the Ghostbusters — sans the hair), so I won’t pretend to be. The purpose of this post is to inform you of the ill effects of this ingredient (as well as some others). I’ve included some informative links below for those of you who are interested in a more detailed explanation of PHO’s.
But I will tell you this. Companies use this stuff because it’s a really cheap way to give things like cake, cookies, pancakes, cereal and bread a rich buttery taste WITHOUT adding butter (which is more costly). It also extends the shelf life of the product so it can sit there for months (or years) instead of a few weeks. I guess the almighty dollar is more important than the health of our children.
Now that there’s more awareness, some corporations have changed the name of these trans fatty oils to mono-diglycerides. Don’t be fooled, it’s the same thing. Shame on every company that is trying to trick us. I wonder if the owners and employees feed this crap to their families. Or do they take their profits and shop at Whole Foods?
Hey Kellogg’s, charge me an extra dollar and take that crap out of your Pop Tarts — and your cereals. It’s in Froot Loops, Corn Pops and lots of other cereals I can’t think of right now (check the labels).
My question is this: who is going to step up, take responsibility and get rid of this stuff in our food? Will it be a major corporation that will set the precedent, the government, or nobody?
If that’s not enough to keep you up at night, here are a few more bad food ingredients:
Sodium Nitrite: found in bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats kids and parents like to eat. Why is it bad? It causes colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. It has been proven to cause leukemia and brain tumors in children! We eat bacon at least once a week!! At least we used to. I’ll have to check Whole Foods for organic bacon.
Naturalnews.com also lists: MSG, refined white flower, refined white sugar, aspartame, saccharin, artificial colors, chemical preservatives, color fixer chemicals and homogenized dairy fats. Visit their link, or use Google to find out more.
Special thanks to the following links which provided me with this useful information. Pleases visit them for more details:
– Ban Trans Fats
– What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?
– The latest U.S. health safety distraction ploy: Blame China!
– Recovery Medicine
Healthy Food Tip #1: Decoding PLU Codes For Better Health
And remember, you are not alone…
4 Replies to “Healthy Food Tip #2: The Perils of Partially Hydrogenated Oils & Other Bad Food Ingredients”
Ok, now you are making me not want to eat anything…geez. I have heard so many great things about Whole Foods…I wish there were one in somewhat of a close proximity to us here in Northeast WI, but no luck…we have to pay astronomical costs for anything even related to Organic food. Regarding the ills of foods, even beyond the list you mentioned is the whole conversation regarding the food coloring additives that have been proven to cause problems in children and adults. As I said, it is coming to the point where I question what we can eat. Great insights…made me think!
It is pretty scary. I’ve heard about the food colorings too. I can’t understand why companies feel the need to color stuff. I guess it helps with their marketing & branding.
How about a marketing strategy that includes something like: “We’ve made this product with all-natural ingredients, so you won’t find anything that will kill you in it.”
I guess they feel the general public wouldn’t find that catchy enough…
I hate this crap and I *try* to avoid it whenever I can. I make it a habit to look for it at the grocery store and it really is amazing all the places you find it.
Thanks for the links…I’ll have to check them out
It certainly is really hard to avoid. Once I found out about companies renaming it mono-diglycerides, not only was I really angry at the likes of Thomas’ & Arnold, but it seemed to be on every package I picked up.
I’m lucky enough to have a Whole Foods nearby. I found a bunch of healthier stuff there last week – from pancake mix, to bread. And you know, it costs about the same as the mass marketed stuff these days.