According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, trans fats have been associated with increased risk of numerous diseases, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. They promote inflammation and obesity, raise LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels and lower HDL, or good, cholesterol levels.
What are Monoglycerides and Diglycerides?
Monoglycerides and Diglycerides are food additives used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water. Food manufacturers normally use them to extend a product’s shelf life.
Why are they bad?
Mono and diglycerides may contain trans fats, either when manufactured in a lab, or if they come from an animal or vegetable source, when exposed to heat for processing into packaged and prepared foods.
In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring that all food manufacturers list a food’s trans fat content on the label. This law does not apply to emulsifiers like mono and diglycerides, even though mono and diglycerides may contain trans-fatty acids, they do not fall under these labelling requirements.
This means a food may be labelled as possessing “0% trans fat” yet still contain trans-fatty acids from mono and diglycerides. Many different chemicals may be used in the process of manufacturing mono- and diglycerides that are still present in the final product.
Among the most prevalent of these is hardened palm oil, or palm oil exposed to hydrogen and high temperatures, a process that forms trans fats. Other possible compounds added in the making of mono and diglycerides include nickel, tartaric acid, synthetic lactic acid, ricinus fatty acids and sodium hydroxide, each of which may pose health risks of its own.
Unfortunately, insufficient studies have been done on the potential health dangers of these compounds. Mono and diglycerides are typically found in packaged and prepared foods. What’s more, the packaged and prepared foods that commonly contain mono and diglycerides are some of the least healthy food products on the market.
They include baked goods, soft drinks, candy, gum, whipped cream, ice cream, margarine and shortening.