6 Risks of Hydrogenated Oils in Your Diet

Hydrogenated oils are now known to cause serious health risks. At one time, we were all told that to be healthy, we should replace the butter in our diets with margarine. It is now known that many brands of margarine, because of the artificially hydrogenated oils they contain, are more detrimental to our health than the saturated fat in butter. It took decades for the medical community to come to this realization, and in the meantime, thousands of people have suffered the consequences of eating a diet high in artificially hydrogenated oils. Artificially hydrogenated oils can cause serious degenerative diseases.

Food companies routinely manipulate oils to make them partially hydrogenated. This allows the oils to have a longer shelf life and more stability. However, the process of partially hydrogenating oils produces trans-fats. It’s these trans fatty acids that are so toxic to our systems. These partially hydrogenated oils are not seen in nature and our bodies can’t properly utilize them. Here’s a look at several of the known risks of hydrogenated oils in your diet.

1. Heart Disease

Consuming a diet filled with hydrogenated oils can increase your risk of heart disease. Hydrogenated oils have a negative effect on cholesterol levels. They raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol). The resulting bad cholesterol ratio can put you on the road to future heart disease.

2. Cancer

Recent studies have suggested a correlation between the consumption of hydrogenated oils, and increased risks of breast and prostate cancers. However, some experts feel that more studies are needed before a positive conclusion can be made.

3. Type 2 Diabetes

The rate of type 2 diabetes rises with increased consumption of hydrogenated oils. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is almost always associated with diet. It’s a serious disease, that left untreated, can eventually lead to insulin dependent diabetes.

4. Autism

There is anecdotal evidence that artificially hydrogenated oils may contribute to autism. Some families have found, when they remove artificially hydrogenated oils from their autistic child’s diet, the autistic symptoms are decreased.

5. Autoimmune Disease

The trans fatty acids in partially hydrogenated oils can cause inflammation throughout the body. This chronic inflammation can lead to autoimmune disease. There has been a steady increase in incidences of autoimmune disease in recent decades.  Some experts feel that the reason is the partially hydrogenated oils that have been introduced to the food chain.

6. Allergies

A positive association between the intake of trans fatty acids from partially hydrogenated oils, and diseases like asthma and allergies, has been discovered by European research scientists.

Avoiding the Dangers

The easiest way to avoid the health consequences of artificially hydrogenated oils is to eat a diet rich in natural foods. Focus on eating whole foods with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make certain to get enough high quality lean protein. Ensure that you are taking in 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories from healthy fats obtained from natural sources like avocados, oily fish, olive oil and nuts.


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Posts By Sequoia
  • Emma

    Trans fat naturally occurs in some foods, like butter, but are also formed in the processing of some foods where product texture and shelf life are desired. I’ve learned a lot about this subject because I work with the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers. In addition, heart disease runs in my family so I’ve got a personal interest in this subject as well.

    Using new technologies, soft margarine manufacturers have met the challenge and eliminated or reduced trans fat in soft margarine products (also known as “buttery spreads”), making a good product even better. In fact, almost every soft margarine product now shows “0 grams trans fats” on its label. In addition to great taste and convenience, buttery spreads contribute to lower blood cholesterol levels when substituted for butter and it contains vitamin E and essential fatty acids. When comparing soft margarine to butter, many soft margarine products are the recommended alternative as stated by of the American Heart Association, as well as the Federal government’s National Cholesterol Education Program.

    In regard to your statement about margarine and heart disease, margarine, compared to butter, actually lowers the risk of heart disease. Compared to butter, the typical 60 percent oil soft margarine product contains significantly less total fat and saturated fat than butter. Additionally, this 60 percent oil soft margarine product has 20 percent fewer calories than butter and no cholesterol.

    Also, margarine does not cause allergies or asthma. The study you’re referring to was conducted in 2001, and since then researchers have found more conclusive evidence that consuming margarine actually reduces the risk of developing asthma.

    Check out http://www.iheartmargarine.com and http://www.butteryspreads.org for more information.

  • margarine danger

    It’s true, margarine does affect your health in many ways, none of which are beneficial.
    But many people don’t know its other name: hydrogenated (or hardened) vegetable oil.
    Just try reading the labels of most biscuits and cookies in the store – you’ll find it everywhere!
    Here are some more reasons to avoid it:

    @Emma: sure, now they claim they produce margarine without trans fats, but how? Every oil heated to high temperatures will turn into trans fats. This can only mean that what you’re eating is pure chemistry. I like to stay with more natural food.