What Are Partially Hydrogenated Oils?

By Allan Robinson

Partially hydrogenated oils are the result of hydrogen atoms being added to fats. This process is call hydrogenation, and it has a dramatic impact on the physical properties of fats.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats contain the maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms. The process of hydrogenation causes fats to become saturated.

Benefits

The most common reason for hydrogenating an oil is to give it a longer shelf life, because it oxidizes less readily. It also has a thicker texture, which is useful in baking.

Chemistry

The addition of hydrogen atoms in an oil increases its melting point, which is what makes partially hydrogenated oils thicker than unhydrogenated oils.

Effects

Saturated fats can increase the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This type of cholesterol increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

Uses

Margarine is made by hydrogenating oil until it becomes a solid at room temperature.

About the Author

Allan Robinson has written numerous articles for various health and fitness sites. Robinson also has 15 years of experience as a software engineer and has extensive accreditation in software engineering. He holds a bachelor's degree with majors in biology and mathematics.