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Transfatty acids occur in semi-artificial fats created by pumping hydrogen through liquid fats. This process adds hydrogen atoms and alters the molecular bonds of fatty acids that are liquid at room temperature. This process was first used to produce margarine, which has the texture of butter. It gives the “crunch” in cookies, and most importantly (for manufacturers) prolongs the shelf life.
The only problem with these acids is that they increase LDL (low density lipoproteins) and lower the HDL (high density lipoproteins) that are good for you.
Studies conducted by scientists in the last 22 years confirm that two percent increase in consumption of transfatty acids double the risk of developing heart disease.
As much as 25 to 50 percent of the fat in baby biscuits, cookies, chips, croissants and fish sticks contain appreciable amounts of transfatty acids.
Manufacturers use transfatty acids to increase food appeal, add a crunchy texture, reduce costs and prolong shelf life.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu
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