Get The Facts On Interesterified Fats and Cardiovascular Disease By Ivan Nikolov
"Isn't that something", you say. As we are just becoming aware of the true harming effects of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats, now there is a new type of fats - interesterified fat - that's about to replace the trans fats, and it's not safer at all, compared to trans fats.
Two very respected in the food science professors - K.C. Hayes, from Brandeis University, and Dr. Kalyana Sundram, Nutrition Director at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board in Kuala Lampur - conducted a study that demonstrated that interesterified fats can decrease the levels of HDL (the good cholesterol). From here the higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
But there is more.
Interesterified fats have also shown to increase fasting blood sugar levels 20% above normal. Interesterified fats also suppress insulin levels. This could mean that they could contribute to developing diabetes or worsen already existing condition. And just so you know diabetes is another major cause of cardiovascular disease.
But what is interesterified fat any way?
In oils (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) scientists have now found a way to replace the polyunsaturated fats with two types of saturated fats - stearic and palmitic (mainly stearic acid is used for interesterification).
And why would they do that? They'd do that in order to achieve the same or similar properties that saturated and trans fats have (trans fats is another name for partially hydrogenated fats). Their goal is to come up with fat that is not liquid at room temperature and goes rancid a lot slower, compared to regular oils.
These properties make the fat a lot better for baking, and also increase shelf life of foods that use them.
So, back to what I was talking about - the two saturated fats, used to interesterify oils - stearic and palmitic.
Now, stearic acid is one of the main types of saturated fatty acids. It's popular with that it does not rise cholesterol levels. Some studies show that it can even lower them.
Palmitic acid is not known to raise total cholesterol levels - a major cause of heart disease, but nonetheless some studies show that it can still increase the incidence of cardio vascular disease even without affecting cholesterol.
You may now ask "If the saturated fats, used for interesterification aren't that dangerous, and the monounsaturated fats that are left after interesterification aren't dangerous as well, what's then causing the potential health harming properties?"
The scientists still don't have a straight answer to this question. What they say is "...further investigation is warranted before interesterification is disseminated as the process of choice for replacing partial hydrogenation as a primary means for hardening vegetable oils for use in foods".
Want to know what I think? Here...
You are better off if you entirely avoid foods, containing interesterified fats (or trans fats, for that matter). How? It's simple. Stick to UNPROCESSED fats - mono-, polyunsaturated, and even saturated (like coconut oil). You will always be safe this way.