Some cooking oils and fat spreads curTently found in nearly every
American kitchen could well become illegal,at least in restaurants,if a decision by the New York City Council is a sign of future trends. Trans fatty acids - usually called trans fats - can be found in everyday food products such as margarine,and research now suggests that elimination of the substance( 29 ).
Despite the current wrangling over trans fats,they are not such
a recent invention as many think.Norma11y,cooking oils derived from plants,such as soybean oil,only exist in a liquid state,since they are unsaturated;that is,the fat molecules have not bonded with as many hydrogen atoms as possible.Animalfatslike butter,on the other hand,are generally solid,their molecules having bonded well with hydrogen atoms.However,the industrial process of hydrogenation, invented in1902,provided a way to solidify unsaturated fat molecules by artificially bonding additional hydrogen atoms to them.Not only were these hydrogenated trans fats cheaper,they had an extended shelf life,and doctors argued that they offered a healthier alternative to saturated fats,which were linked to high cholesterol levels and heart disease.Animalfats( 30 ).