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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No More Hydrogenated Oils In Margarine?

No more hydrogenated oils used in tub margarine? Zip, zero, nada? Unilever is showing consumers that it can be done. From the middle of August and into the fall, you’ll start seeing “non-hydrogenated” on the front of two brands of tub margarine – I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Brummel & Brown, with the rest of Unilever’s tub margarine brands (Country Crock and Imperial) following in the beginning of 2010.

Unilever is completely removing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil from their tub margarines, which means they are completely eliminating artificial trans fats from these products. And don’t think they are trading one dangerous fat for another either. Each of the spreads will still contain 2 grams of saturated fat or less per tablespoon.

Stick margarines in these brands will still contain some partially hydrogenated oil but Unilever’s long-term goal is to remove partially hydrogenated oil from stick margarine as well. If the brands aren’t replacing partially hydrogenated oils with saturated fat, how then are they creating thick textured tub margarine? The overall technology to manufacture these new “non-hydrogenated” tub margarines is proprietary, according to Doug Balentine, PhD, Unilever Director of Nutrition Science in the Americas, but the process does seem to involve the re-arrangement of fatty acids creating interesterified fats (more on this in a future blog).

You can expect the same great taste in the margarines and the nutrition information label might even look the same as before but this time when you see “0″ grams next to trans fat, it really will be zero!

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 10:46 am

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