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Hydrogenated fats are a source of trans saturated fats (trans fats), and are already banned in some parts of the world. Trans fats are a cause of many lifestyle diseases. These diseases include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and more.

According to the studies referenced in this CNN article, they increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well – https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/23/health/alzheimers-trans-fats-dementia-risk-75-higher-wellness/index.html

Vanaspati Ghee (hydrogenated vegetable oils) is available under many brand names in India. For many years, the most famous brand, and market leader, was Dalda, but not anymore. 

Hydrogenated vegetable oils emerged as inexpensive alternatives to animal fat-based products (ghee and table butter) in the 1950s and 60s. They became popular because of savvy marketing by the vanaspati brands. It helped that they tasted like desi ghee, and that they were low cost when compared to desi ghee. 

Also, food prepared with Vanaspati would not go rancid. Food products made with vanaspati ghee have a much longer shelf life. Because of the taste and shelf-life benefits, fast food outlets and street food vendors started using them.

Until about 15 years ago, companies marketed vanaspati ghee and spreads made with hydrogenated fat as a healthier alternative to ghee or butter. 

Vanaspati Ghee is not the only name by which hydrogenated fats are referred to or sold. Look out for all these names on the label – vegetable fat, hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine, vegetable shortening, and more. Many popular packaged food products and snacks use these to enhance taste and shelf life. Look for these names in the ingredients list and do not buy products that use these fats.

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