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Health news:
June 2010 - Dec 2013

Minimizing breast cancer risk

May 2010

Time to move beyond salt ?

Salt hypothesis vs. reality

Is sodium bad?

April 2010

Salt studies: the latest score

From Dahl to INTERSALT

Salt hypothesis' story

March 2010

Salt war

Do bone drugs work?

Diabetes vs. drugs, 3:0?

February 2010

The MMR vaccine war: Wakefield vs. ?

Wakefield proceedings: an exception?

Who's afraid of a littl' 1998 study?

January 2010

Antibiotic children

Physical activity benefits late-life health

Healthier life for New Year's resolution


December 2009

Autism epidemic worsening: CDC report

Rosuvastatin indication broadened

High-protein diet effects


November 2009

Folic acid cancer risk

Folic acid studies: message in a bottle?

Sweet, short life on a sugary diet


October 2009

Smoking health hazards: no dose-response

C. difficile warning

Asthma risk and waist size in women


September 2009

Antioxidants' melanoma risk: 4-fold or none?

Murky waters of vitamin D status

Is vitamin D deficiency hurting you?


August 2009

Pill-crushing children

New gut test for children and adults

Unhealthy habits - whistling past the graveyard?


July 2009

Asthma solution - between two opposites that don't attract

Light wave therapy - how does it actually work?

Hodgkin's lymphoma in children: better alternatives


June 2009

Hodgkin's, kids, and the abuse of power

Efficacy and safety of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's:
behind the hype

Long-term mortality and morbidity after conventional treatments for pediatric Hodgkin's


May 2009

Late health effects of the toxicity of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's true 5-year chances with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel Hauser Hodgkin's case: child protection or medical oppression?

April 2009

Protection from EMF: you're on your own

EMF pollution battle: same old...

EMF health threat and the politics of status quo

March 2009

Electromagnetic danger? No such thing, in our view...

EMF safety standards: are they safe?

Power-frequency field exposure

February 2009

Electricity and health

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

Is power pollution making you sick?

January 2009

Pneumococcal vaccine for adults useless?

DHA in brain development study - why not boys?

HRT shrinks brains


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Hydrogenated oils and partly hydrogenated oils

Dietary fats - Cholesterol - Saturated/unsaturated - }Hydrogenation

"Hydrogenated oils" (or fats), and even more often "partly hydrogenated oils" are quite a common sight on food labels. It suggests that many people still don't pay attention to food ingredients, or don't know how unhealthy these fats can be. Here's in little more details what they are, and how do they affect your health.

The term "hydrogenation" refers to a process of transforming unsaturated fats into saturated by adding to their molecules more hydrogen atoms. This makes oil stable, and unhealthy; it destroys most nutrients, while creating some trans-fatty acids and other altered (unhealthy) fat molecules. 

Fats are often "partially hydrogenated", which means that the process of hydrogenation is deliberately stopped at some point before completion, in order to achieve certain level of oil/fat consistency. This is how margarines, shortenings and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are made.

Don't think - as I used to - that "partially hydrogenated" is less bad than "hydrogenated". It is exactly the opposite. While most of fully hydrogenated fats is in a relatively harmless saturated form, partially hydrogenated fats have significantly higher proportion of toxic, twisted fatty acids in transition from unsaturated to saturated form (hence "trans-fatty"). While most of them are formally still either polyunsaturated, or even super-unsaturated, their structure has changed, making them unhealthy for the body.

The worst of commercial bad fats is probably margarine. It can contain in excess of 60% trans-fatty acids. This, however, doesn't prevent many doctors from recommending it to their patients suffering from cardiovascular disease.

While the rationale for it is that margarine does not contain cholesterol, this long-established medical practice (in the US, not in Europe anymore) is, at the present level of scientific knowledge, inexcusable. Trans-fatty acids do increase total cholesterol and decrease HDL ("good") cholesterol, while interfering with liver function and joining free radicals in causing damage at the cellular level. Beside, it is well documented for some time that cholesterol itself is not a main risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.

Another health risk of hydrogenated fats, either fully or partially, is that they are often contaminated with metal catalysts used for hydrogenation, nickel and aluminum, as well as other chemical contaminants used during their processing and refining.