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What on Earth is Interesterified Oil?

FitDaily Health & Fitness Blog Entry

What on Earth is Interesterified Oil?
By: Jeff    on 11/12/2007
In the US the term interesterified oil, such as interesterified soybean oil, doesn't come up on too many food labels. But now that trans fats must be labeled, this is becoming more popular. It's nothing new. This process has been around for a long time, and interesterified oils have been in use extensively in Europe for over 15 years. In some cases these oils may not be labeled as such.

Basically this is a "solution" to trans fats. Note that trans fats are banned in many parts of the world. The whole problem is that the food industry needs fats that are more solid at room temperature for baking and other purposes. Because hydrogenization creates dangerous trans fats, other solutions are being sought to produce similar results, giving food products a taste and texture consistent with the trans-fat version.

Interesterification is a process by which a saturated fat, mainly stearic acid, is chemically combined with more liquid oils such as soybean or canola oil. The result is an oil that is more solid, but does not contain trans fatty acids. However, some research indicates that interesterified oils are just as dangerous or more dangerous than trans fats, while other research suggests they are a safer alternative.

Because the research is inconclusive, and the resulting fat is chemically different than a natural saturated fat, it is recommended that people avoid eating interesterified fats as well as trans fats whenever possible. Regardless of the health effects created through the chemical process, the result is unlikely to be much healthier than any other saturated fat.

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