“Don’t Partially Hydrogenate Me”

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“Don’t Partially Hydrogenate Me”. Can the human body break down or melt trans fat?. by Nik Unruh. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Dont Partially Hydrogenate MeCan the human body break down or melt trans fat?by Nik Unruh


    What is trans fat? Where does it come from? Can our bodies process it? This project, "Don't Partially Hydrogenate Me," examines a common food ingredient that the Food and Drug Administration says is not healthy in any amount. The purpose of the experiment is to find out whether foods containing trans fats or hydrogenated oils can be broken down by your body. Foods containing trans fat were heated to 98.6 F to simulate what happens to these solids inside the body. Single-serving sizes were checked at different time intervals for signs of change. The hypothesis was that the human body temperature of 98.6F is not high enough to melt trans fat. The experimental results supported the hypothesis by showing that the products tested contained some solids that did not appear to change when heated.

  • Heres what well look at.


    The human body temperature of 98.6F is not high enough to melt trans fat.


    Trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils. What are they and where do they come from? What happens to them inside your body?

    Trans fat was first used as a food ingredient in Crisco in 1911 and in margarines during World War II. Trans fat is made by changing vegetable oil from a liquid to a solid by adding hydrogen atoms. This is called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation turns healthy fats into harmful ones. Trans fat stays solid at room temperature, increases the shelf life of foods and helps it taste better. Trans fat can be found in margarine and prepared foods: pie crusts, fried foods, cakes, breads, candies and cookies.

    Trans fat harms your body by lowering your good cholesterol and raising your bad cholesterol, which can clog your arteries and can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Trans fat doesnt disappear from your body like natural fats. The human body cannot completely break down and get rid of these man-made fats. Some stay behind and can even clog the liver.

    A few years ago, people started to complain about trans fats in their food. One organization, BanTransFats.com, sued Kraft in 2003 to get the trans fats taken out of Oreos. The groups slogan is Dont Partially Hydrogenate Me. Now the FDA makes companies list trans fat as an ingredient if a serving contains more than 0.49 gram of trans fat. If the words partially hydrogenated are on the label, the product contains trans fat.


    Can the human body break down or melt trans fat?


    Independent variable:temperature change

    Dependent variable:foods heated

    Controlled variables:Water kept at 98.6F on the stove with a thermometer with the tip in the water (not touching the side or the bottom). All the bowls with the foods were placed in the warm water at the same time. Results of the melting were observed and photographed at regular intervals. Each bowl was exposed to the same amount of heat. Water circulated and the temperature stayed at 98.6F.

  • MATERIALS LIST food thermometer 12 frying pan electric stove five 6 oz. Pyrex glass bowls 1.25 of room temp. water in pan Crisco Fred Meyer Butter Its Not Fred Meyer Margarine Pillsbury Funfetti Chocolate Frosting Country Crock Margarine

  • EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE1) Pour room temperature water, 68 degrees, into pan until it is 1.25 inches deep (bowls need to float in water so bottoms of bowls dont touch bottom of pan).

    2) Attach thermometer to side of pan (making sure tip is in water but not touching bottom of pan).

    3) Heat water to 98.6F. Maintain this temperature throughout the experiment.

  • EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE4) Number each bowl and product package so you know what is in each bowl.

    5) Measure 1 serving of each product and place in bowl.

  • EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE6) Float each bowl in the water.

  • EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE7) Check each bowl every 15 minutes for one hour and every hour for a total of three hours. (3 hours is enough time for the bodys digestive processes to begin.)

    8) Record how the food in each bowl reacted to the temperature at each of the time checks.

  • RESULTSAccording to my experiment, the products with trans fats didnt completely melt (dependent variablesome melted but still contained solid pieces, one remained in solid) after reaching 98.6F (independent variabletemperature change). Basically, all of the products tested contained some solids that did not appear to change when heated.

  • DATA ANALYSISThe degree of melting was recorded at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours. The three margarines melted within 30 minutes, but solids in the bowls remained at 3 hours. The frosting softened more in each period but still had much of its original shape after 3 hours. The shortening did not appear to change in 3 hours. The photos here show the foods at the start at room temperature, 68 degrees, and after 3 hours at 98.6 degrees.START3 HOURS

  • CONCLUSIONMy hypothesis was that the human body temperature of 98.6F is not high enough to melt trans fat.

    I think my test supports my hypothesis that trans fats do need to be exposed to higher temperatures to completely break down. I think this shows why they are bad for us to eat because our body doesnt know what to do with them.


    A History of Trans Fat. The American Heart Association, July 2008.www.americanheart.org

    How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label.July 2006.www.cfsan.fda.gov

    The Campaign to Ban Partially Hydrogenated Oils BanTransFats.com, 20032007. www.bantransfats.com

    Zinczenko, David. Eat This Not That. New York: Rodale, 2008.This project all started in June of 2008 when I bought the book, Eat This Not That! at Wal-Mart. I looked at it in the store and liked how the nutrition facts for lots of popular foods were listed. I started checking fast food Websites for nutrition facts and reading labels at the supermarket. I became interested in trans fats and started learning more about them online.