Diabetes & Hydrogenated Fats


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Fats are molecules made up of a back bone of glycerol with three fatty acids attached to it. Each fatty acids is made up of chain of carbon atoms that are bound with hydrogen atoms and the chain has a carboxyl group at the end (that contains an oxygen atom). Each carbon atom within the chain (apart from the end carbon atom that is within the carboxyl group that we shall forget about for now) is bound with two other carbon atoms (one on either side of it) and one or two hydrogen atoms. If you think that each carbon atom has four “hands” that it needs to hold something with then you can see that carbon atoms bound with two other carbon atoms and two hydrogen atoms are holding on with all four of their “hands” but carbon atoms with only one hydrogen atom has to be holding one of the other carbon atoms next to it with two hands. This is known as a double bond and the presents of a double bond within a fatty acid of a fat molecule is the defining feature of an unsaturated fat. An unsaturated fat can be made into a saturated fat (that contains no double bonds) by hydrogenation. (This literally means, adding a hydrogen atoms across the double bond so that all the carbon atoms are bound with two other carbon atoms and two hydrogen atoms and causes a hardening of the fat itself). Hydrogenated fats are found in large amounts in processed foods and high amounts of hydrogenated fats in your diet will increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. If you are diabetic then you already have a higher than normal risk of developing heart disease, so you would be particularly adviced to reduce the amount of hydrogenated fats in your diet.  


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