"No Trans Fat" Vegetable Oils?

Two new vegetable oils (one from sunflower seeds, one from soybeans) with claims of “no trans fatty acids” have been “created” for use in snack food products.

True vegetable oils never have contained trans fatty acids. The hydrogenation process, which changes the chemical structure and physical properties of fatty acids, is what creates trans fats in vegetable oils. It is done to produce a more shelf-stable product/ingredient and/or one with properties similar to those typical of naturally more saturated animal fats (e.g., butter).

The push to remove trans fats from food products (now that the adverse health effects are well established) has been challenging to manufacturers who want to maintain certain textural and stability characteristics in their products. One approach has been to genetically engineer seeds/beans so that their oils are lower in the less stable fatty acids. Unfortunately, these tend to be the omega-3 fatty acids, which are already too low in our diets (proportionally to the over-consumed omega-6s, which will now be even higher in these foods).

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