What Are Partially Hydrogenated Oils?

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Partially hydrogenated oils are the result of hydrogen atoms being added to fats. This process is call hydrogenation, and it has a dramatic impact on the physical properties of fats.

Saturated Fats

  • Saturated fats contain the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms. The process of hydrogenation causes fats to become saturated.

Benefits

  • The most common reason for hydrogenating an oil is to give it a longer shelf life, because it oxidizes less readily. It also has a thicker texture, which is useful in baking.

Chemistry

  • The addition of hydrogen atoms in an oil increases its melting point, which is what makes partially hydrogenated oils thicker than unhydrogenated oils.

Effects

  • Saturated fats can increase the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This type of cholesterol increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

Uses

  • Margarine is made by hydrogenating oil until it becomes a solid at room temperature.

References

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