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HYDROGENATED OILS (TRANS fat!) and processed foods (Skippy peanut butter; etc.!)

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My Dad just came home today from Costco with 2 ENORMOUS jars of creamy Skippy peanut butter. Delicious.

But not for your body!

On the list it says, "0g trans fat"

But if you read the INGREDIENTS, after "SUGAR" it says "hydrogenated vegetable oil, which equates to trans fat! (Maybe .5g per serving?)

Trans fat is the only dangerous fat that should be completely avoided if possible, but it sneaks its way in through many processed food items. Saturated fat can be consumed in moderation, and monounsaturated (from nuts/certain oils/avocados/omega-3 fish like salmon) is "healthy" fat that most people do not get enough of.

In my attempt to be healthier this year (and finally break a 6 minute mile time in track and field by doing so) I've been trying to omit trans fat completely and eat mainly unsaturated fats and natural saturated fat (from whole milk, etc.)

When my father came home today with the peanut butter I was actually disappointed, since I usually buy organic peanut butter and eat 3-4 tablespoons a day. When I ran out of peanut butter for a week, I ate almonds and regular nuts, heck I even tried to MAKE my own peanut butter to no avail. It comes out horrible every time. Avocados got boring and grew to be expensive. I bought flax seeds and add some to almost all my meals, but unfortunately their taste cannot compare to that of peanut butter. ): It truly is an addiction.

Now I'm wondering, how much harm am I doing to my body by eating the amount of trans fat in 4 tablespoons (2 servings) of non-organic peanut butter every single day? Is it worth it for me to run to A&P and buy another organic jar without hydrogenated vegetable oil?

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Your post got me wondering--

I know that transfats can occur naturally, usually in minuscule amounts. And that while these (natural) fats are still bad, can be eatten in moderation with little ill effect. I tried to google it and see if anything backed my case, the most I found was this, although I am sure there might be something better if you search for more info about naturally occurring transfats. Hopefully this might help some?

"Trans fats, including CLA, occur naturally in beef, lamb, and full fat dairy products.  Studies suggest that CLA may not have the same negative effects on blood cholesterol that partially hydrogenated oils do, although the other trans fats in meat do.  However, these foods are high in saturated fats and consumption should be minimized.  The American Heart Association recommends eating less than 1% of your calories from trans fats from all sources." From identifier=3046430#linoleic

ETA I still don't know if peanut butter has naturally occuring transfats, although I imagine it might? I'd google more for you but my work day is about to end. Good luck!

Unfortunately, the trans fat in processed peanut butter is not naturally occuring, as it is made from chemically altered vegetable oils.

To the OP- There is really no way of knowing how much harm it would do to eat the peanut butter. Trans fats should be avoided entirely, but we still don't entirely understand how they impact the body over time. I personally would go pick up the natural stuff at some point, but wouldn't worry about it too much if I ate the processed stuff for a week (though I'd try to eat less of it, if possible).

If your father got the Skippy because he likes the taste, I would recommend checking out Skippy Natural. It has been a pretty good compromise for my family, since it tastes almost like regular Skippy but doesn't have any hydrogenated oils - though it does have all the added salt and sugar that makes Skippy so delicious in the first place!

Oh, naturally occuring trans fat = derived from meat should be fine. For example, red meat occassionally actually has benefits (high levels of iron), but hydrogenation is a synthetic process made to natural vegetable oil which allows it to be solid at room temperature. This is why organic peanut butter needs to be stirred; it is contained in its own oil, whereas HYDROGENATED vegetable oil is added to products such as Skippy as a preservative so stirring is not needed.

Oh, Skippy NATURAL; that sounds better. Thanks for the recommendation. I prefer to skip on refined sugar when possible, but I guess my family isn't into that. -sigh-. I seem like a health freak in my family! (:

Doesn't Costco have its own kirkland brand of natural pb?  maybe you could look into that for next time too...?  I mean, it'll probably be exactly like the skippy natural except with a kirkland label on it and cheaper.

Original Post by stephobia:

On the list it says, "0g trans fat"

But if you read the INGREDIENTS, after "SUGAR" it says "hydrogenated vegetable oil, which equates to trans fat! (Maybe .5g per serving?)

Not necessarily.  If the oil is fully hydrogenated, it turns into saturated fat.  The real problem is PARTIALLY hydrogenated oils.  Those contain trans fats.  If you keep hydrogenating the trans fats, they turn into saturated fats.  So, it's entirely possible that the label is telling the truth.

6 Replies