According to a 2008 report published in The Independent, clinical researchers have discovered that eating JUST ONE DONUT fried in a common type of fat (hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO)) may increase your risk of heart disease by 23%. Moreover, the health risks of consuming foods made with this unhealthy oil is multiplied tenfold when you consider that it is used by food manufacturers and restaurants to produce a variety of baked, fried, and processed foods such as french fries, fried chicken, bread, chips, cookies, crackers, donuts, cakes, pies, salad dressings, and frosting.

Natural vs. Man-made Trans Fats

A trans fat, or trans fatty acid, is an unsaturated fat. Ruminant animals (such as cattle, sheep, and goats) that graze on grass produce raw meat and dairy that contain a natural type of trans fat known as conjugated linoleic acid that the Food and Drug Administration has categorized as safe and is believed to provide protection against heart disease and other ailments. Dairy and beef fat produced from grass-fed cows contain about 3-6% in trans fat, and levels in mutton and lamb can be somewhat higher.

On the other hand, trans fats produced artificially using a process called hydrogenation have been called “stealth fats” because they often appear hidden in the foods that we eat.

Vegetable oils are liquids at room temperature. In the food industry, HVOs are manufactured by pumping hydrogen gas into the vegetable oil using high pressure and a metal catalyst. Using this method, processors are able to change the chemical structure of the oil from a liquid to a solid at room temperature. After hydrogenation, HVO’s assume a ‘spreadable’ consistency similar to saturated fats. As described by health writer Maggie Stanfield (author of Trans-Fat: The Time Bomb in Your Food), using hydrogenated oil extends the shelf-life of the food:

“It can be used as an alternative to butter – it’s a lot cheaper, is taste-free, gives what the industry calls ‘good consumer mouth feel’, and lasts a long time. A very long time. An American TV programme recently featured a fairy cake made more than 25 years ago. It still looks perfect.”

In 2017 Beach Body On Demand published a report by Martica Heaner, PhD that was entitled, What Are Trans Fats and Why Are They So Bad? that included these study findings regarding the consumption of trans fats:

• A large study of over 80,000 women found that those who consumed the most trans fats had a 40% higher risk of diabetes.

• Several animal studies have found found that large amounts of trans fats lead to negative effects on insulin and glucose function.

• A 6 year study on monkeys which found that a high trans fat diet (8% of calories) caused insulin resistance, abdominal obesity (belly fat) and elevated fructosamine, a marker of high blood sugar.

The artificial trans fats that are present in some brands of shortening and margarine have been attracting concern among the general public and medical community for several years due to their apparent link to obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammation, and heart disease. In response, a few European countries such as Denmark and Switzerland removed HVOs from their food chain several years ago. In the U.S., the FDA has ruled that food manufacturers must reformulate their products to be free of trans fats (with rare exceptions) by the summer of 2018.

Proactive Steps to Take

• While it’s always a good idea to read nutrition labels, it’s not always a foolproof solution when shopping for food items at the grocery store. For instance, a food manufacturer can list zero grams of trans fat on their product label if it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving.

• Coconut and unrefined palm oil are solid at room temperature due to their saturated fat content and can be used as alternatives to shortening. For example, Nutiva sells an organic shortening blend made with coconut and palm oil that is targeted to vegans.

• Make an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables instead of processed or packaged foods.

• Before ordering food at restaurants, ask the waiter about the oils that are used to make your meal.


Hydrogenated vegetable oil has been banned in two European countries but not ours. Andrew Collier investigates.
The Independent
une 9, 2008

Trans Fatty Acids And Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
Food Safety – Authority of Ireland

Trans Fats (Bad Fats)
Family Doctor

What Are Trans Fats and Why Are They So Bad?
by Martica Heaner PhD
BeachBody On Demand
August 22, 2017

Why Are Trans Fats Bad for You? The Disturbing Truth

Shortening: Good or Bad?

Conjugated linoleic acid
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

F.D.A. Sets 2018 Deadline to Rid Foods of Trans Fats
by Sabrina Tavernise
June 16, 2015

Man-made Trans Fats: Hydrogenated Oils Detrimental To Our Health
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