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What are the health concerns about foods with hydrogenated oil?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Sugar, salt, fat -- there’s a lot of offenders lurking in your packaged food. The worst of them all is hydrogenated oil. This ingredient extends the shelf life of foods by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. In its natural liquid state, vegetable oil is easily digested by your body, but it spoils very quickly in packaged food. Once modified and hardened, hydrogenated oil will never go bad; this substance poses a huge threat to your health.

Also known as trans fat, hydrogenated oil is the worst kind of fat. Eating just 1 gram of trans fat a day can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even some cancers. Shockingly, many of your favorite processed snacks contain trans fat, even if it’s not listed on the label. This misleading packaging is the result of a loophole in the FDA’s guidelines. The administration allows manufacturers to round down the quantity of ingredients, so foods that contain less than half a gram of trans fats can be labeled as zero grams. This allows many manufacturers to sneak in trans fats without most people realizing what they’re eating. With just 3 servings of these foods a day, you’ll surpass your limit of trans fats. That’s why you need to avoid foods that contain the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on the label.

The big culprits of hidden trans fats are chips, crackers and microwave popcorn. There are plenty of healthy options if you know how to avoid hydrogenated oils and trans fats. Read the ingredient listings when picking snacks and consider buying your own popcorn maker. Ranging in cost from $20-$40, this easy appliance allows you to make your own additive-free, healthy popcorn.

This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.