View Full Version : partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils
01-27-2012, 09:45 PM
I don't disagree with your explanation of hydrogenation of vegetable oils, but it could be said that a catalyst such as palladium or platinum is required to lower the activation energy required to break the double bonds in the unsaturated oils to allow the hydrogenation to occur. I guess 'cramming' the hydrogen into the oils is probably a good enough explanation for anyone who never studied chemistry.
I do agree with the fact that such artificially produced spreads should be considered suspect in regards to health. I have not yet tested this myself, but I read that flies will not land on margarine or other artificially produced spreads as they would butter. Perhaps you could find out if what I read is true.
01-28-2012, 08:53 PM
I assume you are referring to this article (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/682/why-is-some-vegetable-oil-partially-hydrogenated).
It is also worth noting that the real problem with hydrogenation is partial hydrogenation and full hydrogenation is actually less harmful because only unsaturated fat can be trans fat (it does produce saturated fat though).
I have also always wondered why they couldn't just mix unhydrogenated and fully hydrogenated oil together to get an intermediate product (and I have seen this on "trans fat free" margarines).
Also, the natural trans fat found in beef and milk is a different form from the artificial kind produced by hydrogenation and has been found to be beneficial (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907124359.htm)*.
*Nor does saturated fat, at least in meat, appear to be as bad as thought - unless it is processed meat (http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100517/processed-meat-linked-to-heart-disease-risks) (due to preservatives).
01-29-2012, 03:40 AM
I have not yet tested this myself, but I read that flies will not land on margarine or other artificially produced spreads as they would butter.
That's pure nonsense that even if true has no bearing on the effects of margarine on health.
01-30-2012, 12:48 PM
To the best of my knowledge, science has conclusively linked trans fats to heart disease--like, you double your risk if you consume a normal portion of them daily--and in 2006 the FDA began requiring them to be listed on food. In addition to making vegetable oils "harder," hydrogenation allows them to be used more before turning rancid, so hydrogenated oil has been favored by fast food joints to make fries, for instance. The soybean guys at Monsanto and Dupont (using transgenic technology) have been trying to develop beans with oils that have the right kind of mix of fats in them so they can perform the same functions without being hydrogenated; the thinking is unsaturated, good; saturated, not so good; transfats, avoid at all costs. Those beans are out there but farmers lost interest in growing them because they didn't get enough of a premium and the non-specific-food-trait bean market has been at record levels, so they're trying again.
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