I've read millions of food labels over the years, primarily to catch any sly animal proteins and avoid high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated ("partially" doesn't fly either) that more often than not make their way into products. Well, yesterday, I noticed a new adjective preceding soybean oil: Interesterified. (It seems my spell-check doesn't recognize the word either.)
This led me to a frantic search on the Internet, and, I did have to sift through some sources, but I found an excellent explanation by Dave Knechel on "Growing Bolder." Here's an excerpt:
Interesterified oils, in plain English, are a combination of polyunsaturated oil and fully hydrogenated oil. Simple enough to read, but a whole lot more complex and controversial than that. Technically, interesterification shuffles the fatty acids that make up each fat molecule. Like partial hydrogenation, which generates unnatural trans fats, it produces some molecules that are rare or nonexistent in nature. Science News describes this process as "chemically or enzymatically removing fatty acids from fat molecules and transferring them to other fat molecules. Because this process recombines fatty acids randomly, chemical interesterification is sometimes called randomization." The article further states that, "To make a fat with new and useful properties, manufacturers typically interesterify blends of different kinds of fats. These blends often consist of a natural vegetable oil and a solid fat such as fully hydrogenated soybean oil. Full hydrogenation forms saturated fats rather than trans fats, which are products of partial hydrogenation."
If you can read through the science speak, here's the gist: Instead of straight trans-fats, companies have found an alternative substance in the form of these oils.
Hmm. Let's see. Instead of replacing interesterified one bad fat for another, let's avoid them completely! Of course, consumers can choose to not buy products with these fats, and it can also start at the production level by choosing ingredients - if you can call them that - that do not harm customers. What good is your product if it's contributing to the poor health and possibly even death of consumers?