Fact or Myth: Are Interesterified Fats Bad for You?

This is a FACT.

Did you know that over 90% of the money Americans spend on food is used to purchase processed goods? These packaged and frozen foodstuffs are laden with trans fats, along with the lesser-known interesterified fats. The dangers of trans fats have been exposed (the FDA is working to ban trans fats from processed foods entirely) but food manufacturers have already replaced many of these trans fats with an equally dangerous substitute—interesterified fat.

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Food scientists set out to discover a fat that was not saturated and could enjoy an indefinite shelf life. Turns out, there is no such fat…at least not of a naturally rendered sort. So food manufacturers began to manipulate vegetable oils on the molecular level, fabricating a man-made creation that was heavy enough for frying, semi-solid enough to be used as margarine, and liquid enough to be bottled. Even better? It has a long-lasting shelf life…guaranteed to never spoil!

Unfortunately, trans fats come with a hefty price: they raise LDL levels (the bad type of cholesterol), lower HDL levels (the heart-healthy type of cholesterol), and promote autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular illness, cancer, fertility problems, bone degeneration, and type 2 diabetes.

Their substitutes, interesterified fats, are no better. Chemically altered to produce butter-like products from liquid vegetable oil, interesterified fat generates foreign, unnatural molecules that your body does not recognize and does not know how to process. Your body stores these bad fats in cell membranes, where they promote degeneration and disease. Interesterified fats may not contain trans fat, but they do contain toxic byproducts, including hexanes and chemical residues.

Health Risks of Interesterified Fats

Interesterified fat hasn’t garnered as much attention as trans fat, but it has still been studied…and its health risks have been confirmed every time. Studies suggest that interesterified fat raises blood sugar levels as much as 20% in just four weeks—a level much higher than that caused by trans fats—and lowers insulin production by as much as 20%–two times that of trans fats! Interesterified fats raise the risk of heart disesase in males and increase the incidence of breast cancer in women. The accumulation of toxic byproducts in the nervous system can lead to neurological problems regardless of gender. Interesterified fats also lower your HDL levels.

Why Haven’t You Seen Them on Food Labels?

The FDA does not require food manufacturers to label interesterified fats! They are hidden behind labels like high stearate or stearic rich fats. Beware of these ingredients! If a product is labeled as fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil, or palm kernel oil, it may contain interesterified fat. If a liquid vegetable oil claims to be trans fat free, you’d better believe it is made with interesterified fat. Basically, if a processed food contains vegetable oil, you are ingesting either trans fat or interesterified fats…just one more reason to eat whole, healthy foods!