Holy cow…it’s Tuesday again. Did individual hitting the fast-forward push on my life when I wasn’t looking? When I goal 1 of these posts, I think, great, half-dozen whole days for me to instruct my thoughts together for the adjacent one. And then, BAM, it’s upon us again. Oh, well, no problem. ‘Cuz when it comes to fat, there’s solely 1 thing I similar to a greater extent than than writing as well as talking virtually it, as well as that’s eating it!
If you’re novel here, I should warn yous virtually what you’re getting into. I’m trying to laid the tape direct on over one-half a century of misinformation virtually dietary fat, as well as I’m taking yous along for the ride. If yous receive got the courage to query the “facts,” incertitude the “experts,” as well as mostly respite all the rules, hop on board; our squad needs all the firepower it tin can get!
Take a infinitesimal to read the previous posts inward this serial if yous haven’t already. In part 1 as well as part 2, I covered some real basic data virtually fats, similar how they’re all made upwards of combinations of the dissimilar kinds of fatty acids (saturated, mono, as well as polyunsaturated) as well as how the biochemical makeup of those fats determines their shapes. Last week I started to instruct into the goodness stuff. (Well, if yous enquire me, it’s all goodness stuff, but inward price of what yous out at that topographic point on the interwebs in all likelihood attention about, finally calendar week was where nosotros finally started talking virtually how the biochemistry of fats as well as oils tin can give us clues equally to which are the safest ones to laid with, which are best for our health, as well as which are best used equally industrial lubricants as well as position nowhere close our frying pans or our mouths. I’ve said it earlier as well as I’ll tell it again: cotton is for wearing, non eating. So ix-nay on the cottonseed oil, capisce?)
Recall from part 2 that saturated fats are enterprise at room temperature. (I don’t receive got to cue the scary music when I tell “saturated fat” anymore because cheers to finally week’s post, we’re not scared of it anymore. Woohoo!) And recall from part 3 that because saturated fats receive got no double bonds betwixt carbon atoms (they’re saturated alongside hydrogen instead), they’re the most stable. They're the safest for cooking, as well as compared to mono as well as polyunsaturated fats, they’re the least probable to become rancid or prepare “off” flavors.
|Hold my hand...this mightiness instruct scary.|
Got your hiking boots on? Good. We’ve got a lot of dry reason to cover.
Thanks to the twin miracles of modern nutrient engineering scientific discipline as well as massive authorities agricultural subsidies, nosotros are awash inward ultra-cheap vegetable oils. Well, non actually vegetable oils, to a greater extent than similar grain as well as legume oils, since I’m mostly talking virtually corn as well as soy. H5N1 convergence of factors receive got led to the preponderance of these oils on supermarket shelves as well as inward eating theater deep fryers. Mostly it was ii things: 1) We grow so incredibly much corn as well as soy inward the U.S.A. that nosotros had to figure out something to do alongside all of it (besides feeding it to cattle), as well as 2) H5N1 brace of scientists inward the 1950s stance they constitute the holy grail of what causes pump disease. They stance it was all the saturated obese as well as cholesterol nosotros were eating, as well as the authorities ran alongside their recommendations for darn close everyone to avoid beast fats similar the plague. (Note: they were incorrect virtually this. Wronger than wrong. Like, thus incorrect that nosotros are solely beginning, sixty years later, to hook our way out of the immense dark hole of wrongness this threw us into. More on this inward futurity posts equally nosotros instruct deeper into the effects of dissimilar fats on our health.)
So nosotros had tons of inexpensive vegetable crude as well as nosotros were supposed to rest away from naturally occurring beast fats, similar butter as well as lard. What’s a mad scientist to do? Well, if you’ve got a pioneering spirit as well as no working cognition of human physiology, yous create the procedure of partial hydrogenation. What this does is accept unsaturated oils that are liquid at room temperature as well as construct them enterprise or semi-solid. Brilliant! Now nosotros tin can role things similar soybean crude to construct margarine, instead of beingness forced to role butter on our toast as well as practically dig our ain graves every forenoon at breakfast. We tin can also role cottonseed crude to construct vegetable shortening. Whew! And I stance nosotros were going to receive got to resort to lard—y’know, the thing our 90-year-old keen grandmothers made biscuits as well as pie crusts alongside all their lives earlier anyone told them they were killing themselves. (Nifty factoid: The call Crisco comes from “crystallized cottonseed oil.”)
Unfortunately, I practice receive got to instruct my geek on as well as instruct a picayune downward as well as dingy alongside the scientific discipline for a minute. (I promise, there’s a method to my madness. I’m non trying to bore you, I swear! I’m trying to assist this all construct sense. I’ll instruct inward equally quick equally I can…and possibly fifty-fifty a picayune entertaining.)
What hydrogenation does is it takes away some of the double bonds as well as adds hydrogens. (Now yous know why it’s called that.) Let’s accept a hold back at these to instruct a amend stance of what happens on a biochemical level. Then, we’ll figure out what that agency inward price of food as well as health.
The obese acid on the left is saturated. It has no double bonds, thus it’s non bent or curly. Because they’re straight, saturated fats tin can pack together tightly as well as that’s why they’re solid. The 1 inward the middle is a monounsaturated fat. It has 1 double bond, thus there’s 1 bend. It’s liquid at room temperature, but starts to solidify when it gets cold. Now let’s instruct to the bad man child on the right. That, my friends, is a trans obese acid. It has the exact same chemic composition equally the 1 inward the middle – same numbers of carbons, hydrogens, as well as oxygens, BUT – as well as this is a real big bargain – at that topographic point is no double bond (between carbons). The double bond has been taken away as well as hydrogens receive got taken upwards the extra space. As nosotros know, no double bonds, no bends. So the molecule is straight, BUT – as well as again, this is a big bargain – it’s non the same kind of direct equally the naturally occurring saturated obese on the left.
If yous hold back closely at the trans obese on the correct above, you’ll discover it looks a picayune twisted. Where they took away the double bond inward the middle, the molecule twisted. Why did it twist as well as what does that mean? Glad yous asked, because this is the telephone substitution question, as well as the respond is the whole betoken of this post. Check this out:
The 1 on the left represents the monounsaturated obese inward the middle inward the graphic above, as well as the 1 on the correct represents, well, the trans fat on the right. In the 1 on the left, the hydrogens at the double bond are on the same side of the molecule. In hardcore biochem-speak, this is called the “cis” configuration. (Cis from the Latin, important “on the same side.”) But inward the obese on the right, when they accept away the double bond as well as add together the hydrogens, the hydrogens halt upwards across from each other. This is a trans fat. (Trans important “across,” similar a trans-Atlantic flight).
Pretty neat, huh? See, what we’ve done is, we’ve taken an crude that is normally a liquid as well as turned it into 1 that is a solid. This is how they construct the margarine as well as shortening I mentioned before. This doesn’t audio similar a bad thing. Margarine’s pretty great, isn’t it? It’s soft plenty to spread direct out of the fridge without violent your breadstuff apart. You don’t receive got to permit it soften similar yous practice alongside butter. Score 1 for modern technology! Better living through chemistry! Wheeee!
So why practice they solely partially hydrogenate oils, instead of fully hydrogenating them? Well, sometimes yous will come across “fully hydrogenated vegetable oil” on a nutrient label. Partial hydrogenation is simply to a greater extent than common. The argue is, a fully hydrogenated crude would live more solid – similar butter, or fifty-fifty a difficult wax. And that form of defeats the goal of spreadability for margarine as well as shortening. But at that topographic point are some products where total hydrogenation is preferred, depending on the texture, shelf-life, as well as “mouth feel” the manufacturers are aiming for. Fully hydrogenated oils receive got no trans fats. WHAT?! Yes, it’s true. If an crude is fully hydrogenated, it agency they got rid of all the double bonds (between carbons). And what practice nosotros know virtually a obese that has no double bonds? It can’t live trans, because it’s technically saturated. Now, equally for the safety of these artificial fats, the jury’s out. They don’t receive got the same negative wellness effects equally their evil trans brethren, but I’m non precisely rushing to shove ‘em downward my pharynx at Christmas dinner, know what I mean?
Getting dorsum to the “mouth feel” issue, let’s verbalise virtually how trans fats experience inward our mouths. Trans fats don’t melt the same way natural saturated fats do. They impart a form of waxy texture. You tin can examination this past times putting a picayune pat of butter inward your oral fissure as well as letting it melt. Then practice the same alongside a pat of margarine. It volition not feel the same. (The margarine volition feel—to role the technical term—gross. Even grosser if yous effort this alongside a low-fat spread!) You tin can practice the same experiment alongside peanut butter. Most commercial brands of peanut butter role partially hydrogenated soybean or rapeseed (canola) oil. (Not to call added sugar, molasses, as well as sometimes corn syrup.) The brands that are completely natural—no ingredients on the label but peanuts as well as salt—do non role trans fats. The mass-marketed commercial construct volition coat the roof of your oral fissure inward a way the natural form doesn’t. Again, the best way I tin can depict it is a “waxy” feel.
Now, yous mightiness live thinking, “Okay, Amy, I instruct what trans fats are now. But how practice they do it? How practice they construct these twisty, mistaken fats? Well, it involves some serious chemic shenanigans that are best described past times the keen folks at Wikipedia. Let’s simply tell it requires real high temperatures as well as things similar nickel as well as palladium, which yous definitely desire close fats that volition instruct into the nutrient supply! (As nosotros saw inward business office 3, high estrus is populace enemy number 1 when it comes to unsaturated fats. So I estimate that’s non bad enough; let’s throw some palladium into the mix!) This is major-league funky, people. And remember, we’re supposed to rest away from processed foods. Last fourth dimension I checked, I didn’t come across whatever nickel catalysts required to instruct the cream to dissever out of cow’s milk, as well as I’m pretty certain the meat guy at the farmer’s marketplace seat I purchase bacon from doesn’t role whatever palladium to instruct at that beautiful, beautiful pork fat.
Okay, this one’s getting long, thus I’ll hitting the respite push on trans fats for now. Next time, I’ll instruct to the thing that matters most – what all this agency when it’s fourth dimension to EAT. I mean, this hydrogenation materials sounds similar a nutrient manufacturer’s dream come upwards truthful – start alongside a inexpensive input (subsidized vegetable oil), as well as halt upwards alongside a production that has a longer shelf life as well as a mouth-feel that sort of comes unopen to real fats (after all, margarine is closer to butter than corn crude is, right?), but has none of the problems associated alongside “arterycloggingsaturatedfat.” (Yes, didn’t yous know it’s 1 discussion now? You can’t tell “saturated fat” anymore without prefacing it alongside “artery clogging.” I’m pretty certain they passed a police describe on that one…) So what’s the big deal?
Do saturated fats really clog our arteries? Are trans fats actually equally bad for us equally people tell they are? And are all those "heart healthy" vegetable oils actually pump healthy?
All volition live revealed inward due time. (Due fourth dimension beingness the adjacent few Tuesdays, of course.)
In the meantime, if yous receive got whatever questions virtually fats—or anything else related to nutrition, food, or health, instruct out a comment or send me an email.
Fat Tuesday - Part 4
4/ 5Oleh Margaret Garland