Are KitKats hydrogenated?

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by David Johnson, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. Hello,

    I'm trying to avoid trans fats in my diet, and I'm also fond
    of KitKat bars. One of the listed ingredients is "refined
    palm kernel oil". Does anyone know if "refined" could
    potentially mean "hydrogenated"?

    Thanks in advance for any information from those who
    might know.

    -David
     
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  2. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Johnson writes:

    > I'm trying to avoid trans fats in my diet, and I'm also
    > fond of KitKat bars. One of the listed ingredients is
    > "refined palm kernel oil". Does anyone know if "refined"
    > could potentially mean "hydrogenated"?

    They probably contain some hydrogenated fats, since it helps
    prevent melting of the chocolate. But occasional KitKat bars
    aren't going to do any harm, even if they contain
    hydrogenated fats. How many do you usually eat? Has your
    doctor imposed any specific dietary restrictions?

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  3. > > I'm trying to avoid trans fats in my diet, and I'm also
    > > fond of KitKat
    bars.
    > > One of the listed ingredients is "refined palm kernel
    > > oil". Does anyone know if "refined" could potentially
    > > mean "hydrogenated"?
    >
    > They probably contain some hydrogenated fats, since it
    > helps prevent melting of the chocolate.

    I suspected that might be the case as well, except that
    cocoa butter is listed higher up in the ingredients listing.
    So my suspicion is that cocoa butter is used to solidify the
    chocolate coating, and the "refined" palm kernel oil is used
    in the layers between the wafers. I'm just wondering whether
    "refined" means the oil is somehow filtered, skimmed,
    hydrogenated or processed in some other way. A mental image
    of a Toxco refinery comes to mind... you'd think they'd
    choose a better word to describe the way it's processed. :)

    > But occasional KitKat bars aren't going to do any harm,
    > even if they contain hydrogenated fats. How many do you
    > usually eat? Has your doctor imposed any specific dietary
    > restrictions?

    I usually only eat one bar a day, as dessert, but since no
    amount of trans fats is safe, and since their detrimental
    affects are cumulative, I make every effort to find
    alternative snacks without them whenever possible. Since
    this is a snack I enjoy, I'd rather not strike it off my
    shopping list unnecessarily.
     
  4. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Johnson writes:

    > I suspected that might be the case as well, except that
    > cocoa butter is listed higher up in the ingredients
    > listing. So my suspicion is that cocoa butter is used to
    > solidify the chocolate coating, and the "refined" palm
    > kernel oil is used in the layers between the wafers.

    Cocoa butter contributes texture and taste, but not
    solidity. Pure cocoa butter is a yellowish vegetable fat
    with a marvellously delicious scent that melts at less than
    body temperature. At room temperature it is just barely
    solid enough not to flow on its own. Chocolates that contain
    lots of cocoa butter are often so melty that they cannot be
    easily eaten.

    > I'm just wondering whether "refined" means the oil is
    > somehow filtered, skimmed, hydrogenated or processed in
    > some other way.

    That would be my guess, although I don't really know.

    > I usually only eat one bar a day, as dessert, but since no
    > amount of trans fats is safe, and since their detrimental
    > affects are cumulative, I make every effort to find
    > alternative snacks without them whenever possible.

    Sometimes the devil you know is safer than the devil you
    don't know; in other words, I'm not convinced that
    avoiding KitKats is really that important. One a day is
    trivial. Worry more about what you're eating the rest of
    the day (much of which may well contain some nasty stuff
    of its own).

    > Since this is a snack I enjoy, I'd rather not strike it
    > off my shopping list unnecessarily.

    I don't see any reason to strike it off at all.

    --
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  5. > > I suspected that might be the case as well, except that
    > > cocoa butter is listed higher up in the ingredients
    > > listing. So my suspicion is that
    cocoa
    > > butter is used to solidify the chocolate coating, and
    > > the "refined" palm kernel oil is used in the layers
    > > between the wafers.
    >
    > Cocoa butter contributes texture and taste, but not
    > solidity. Pure cocoa butter is a yellowish vegetable fat
    > with a marvellously delicious scent that melts at less
    > than body temperature. At room temperature it is just
    > barely solid enough not to flow on its own. Chocolates
    > that contain lots of cocoa butter are often so melty that
    > they cannot be easily eaten.

    That's not to say that hydrogenation is *required* in order
    to provide a solid consistency to chocolate, though. Your
    plain Hershey bar has none of the stuff, for instance.

    > > I'm just wondering whether "refined" means the oil is
    > > somehow filtered, skimmed, hydrogenated or processed in
    > > some other way.
    >
    > That would be my guess, although I don't really know.
    >
    > > I usually only eat one bar a day, as dessert, but since
    > > no amount of
    trans
    > > fats is safe, and since their detrimental affects are
    > > cumulative, I make every effort to find alternative
    > > snacks without them whenever possible.
    >
    > Sometimes the devil you know is safer than the devil you
    > don't know; in other words, I'm not convinced that
    > avoiding KitKats is really that important. One a day is
    > trivial. Worry more about what you're eating the rest of
    > the day (much of which may well contain some nasty stuff
    > of its own).
    >
    > > Since this is a snack I enjoy, I'd rather not strike it
    > > off my shopping
    list
    > > unnecessarily.
    >
    > I don't see any reason to strike it off at all.

    You don't? Thanks for sharing your opinion. Just out of
    curiosity, what is your area of profession or expertise on
    the subject? I just want to put it in perspective.
     
  6. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Johnson writes:

    > That's not to say that hydrogenation is *required* in
    > order to provide a solid consistency to chocolate, though.
    > Your plain Hershey bar has none of the stuff, for
    > instance.

    Cocoa powder itself is solid at room temperature, so if the
    cocoa butter content is low, you don't need anything to keep
    it solid. Dark chocolate is like this. Also, not having milk
    in the chocolate keeps it more solid, I believe. There are
    various ways of keeping it from melting in your hand, not in
    your mouth.

    > You don't? Thanks for sharing your opinion. Just out of
    > curiosity, what is your area of profession or expertise on
    > the subject? I just want to put it in perspective.

    I don't have a special area of expertise. If you want
    expert, "official" advice, see a doctor. USENET isn't the
    place to look for it.

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  7. > > > > Since this is a snack I enjoy, I'd rather not strike
    > > > > it off my
    shopping list
    > > > > unnecessarily.
    > > >
    > > > I don't see any reason to strike it off at all.
    > >
    > > You don't? Thanks for sharing your opinion. Just out of
    > > curiosity,
    what is
    > > your area of profession or expertise on the subject? I
    > > just want to put
    it
    > > in perspective.
    >
    > I don't have a special area of expertise. If you want
    > expert, "official" advice, see a doctor. USENET isn't the
    > place to look for it.

    The reason I asked is because I wasn't looking to be swayed
    either way on the use of foodstuffs containing hydrogenated
    oils - I was simply asking for a definition of "refined palm
    kernel oil", in the context of hydrogenation, from those who
    might know.
     
  8. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Johnson writes:

    > The reason I asked is because I wasn't looking to be
    > swayed either way on the use of foodstuffs containing
    > hydrogenated oils - I was simply asking for a definition
    > of "refined palm kernel oil", in the context of
    > hydrogenation, from those who might know.

    A bit of searching around on the Web reveals that "refined"
    and "hydrogenated" are not synonymous, so the fact that the
    oil is refined doesn't necessarily mean that it is
    hydrogenated, unless this is also explicitly stated.

    But overall, I don't see it as much of a concern. Unless you
    have very strict dietary restrictions imposed by your
    doctor, a KitKat a day isn't going to make any difference to
    your health.

    --
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    me directly.
     
  9. > > The reason I asked is because I wasn't looking to be
    > > swayed either way
    on
    > > the use of foodstuffs containing hydrogenated oils - I
    > > was simply asking
    for
    > > a definition of "refined palm kernel oil", in the
    > > context of
    hydrogenation,
    > > from those who might know.
    >
    > A bit of searching around on the Web reveals that
    > "refined" and "hydrogenated" are not synonymous, so the
    > fact that the oil is refined doesn't necessarily mean that
    > it is hydrogenated, unless this is also explicitly stated.

    While I agree that the labeling doesn't necessarily mean the
    product uses hydrogenated oil, it still seems ambiguous. I
    guess a better question would be whether it's legal for
    hydrogenated oil to be labeled as "refined". Sometimes
    clever wording is used, like as "vegetable fat" and
    "margarine", to throw-off consumers looking for this
    information.

    > But overall, I don't see it as much of a concern. Unless
    > you have very strict dietary restrictions imposed by your
    > doctor, a KitKat a day isn't going to make any difference
    > to your health.

    From what I've read, as little as 2 grams daily intake of
    trans fats is detrimental to human health. Another report
    states that no amount of intake of trans fats is safe. The
    nutrition facts label on the KitKat bar states 11 grams
    total fat, of which 7 grams is saturated (1 bar = 1 serving,
    and no mention of poly or mono). Therefore, if labeling
    guidelines allow for trans fats to be labeled as "refined",
    this means that up to 4 grams of trans fats are contained in
    each bar. In neither case could this amount of daily intake
    of trans fat be considered benign.
     
  10. > > The reason I asked is because I wasn't looking to be
    > > swayed either way
    on
    > > the use of foodstuffs containing hydrogenated oils - I
    > > was simply asking
    for
    > > a definition of "refined palm kernel oil", in the
    > > context of
    hydrogenation,
    > > from those who might know.
    >
    > A bit of searching around on the Web reveals that
    > "refined" and "hydrogenated" are not synonymous, so the
    > fact that the oil is refined doesn't necessarily mean that
    > it is hydrogenated, unless this is also explicitly stated.

    While I agree that the labeling doesn't necessarily mean the
    product uses hydrogenated oil, it still seems ambiguous. I
    guess a better question would be whether it's legal for
    hydrogenated oil to be labeled as "refined". Sometimes
    clever wording is used, like as "vegetable fat" and
    "margarine", to throw-off consumers looking for this
    information.

    > But overall, I don't see it as much of a concern. Unless
    > you have very strict dietary restrictions imposed by your
    > doctor, a KitKat a day isn't going to make any difference
    > to your health.

    From what I've read, as little as 2 grams daily intake of
    trans fats is detrimental to human health. Another report
    states that no amount of intake of trans fats is safe. The
    nutrition facts label on the KitKat bar states 11 grams
    total fat, of which 7 grams is saturated (1 bar = 1 serving,
    and no mention of poly or mono). Therefore, if labeling
    guidelines allow for trans fats to be labeled as "refined",
    this means that up to 4 grams of trans fats are contained in
    each bar. In neither case could this amount of daily intake
    of trans fat be considered benign.
     
  11. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Johnson writes:

    > From what I've read, as little as 2 grams daily intake of
    > trans fats is detrimental to human health. Another report
    > states that no amount of intake of trans fats is safe.

    Well, wait five years, and researchers will probably be
    recommending trans-fat supplements.

    > The nutrition facts label on the KitKat bar states 11
    > grams total fat, of which 7 grams is saturated (1 bar = 1
    > serving, and no mention of poly or mono). Therefore, if
    > labeling guidelines allow for trans fats to be labeled as
    > "refined", this means that up to 4 grams of trans fats are
    > contained in each bar. In neither case could this amount
    > of daily intake of trans fat be considered benign.

    It depends on what else you are eating, and more generally,
    on your entire lifestyle. Do you smoke? Do you drink
    alcohol? Are you overweight? And so on.

    In my case, I worry mainly about total calories, but I don't
    care where they come from. That's because my health is
    threatened much more by excess weight than by anything
    contained in my diet. And if I smoked, the main risk would
    be from smoking. Etc.

    --
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    me directly.
     
  12. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Johnson writes:

    > From what I've read, as little as 2 grams daily intake of
    > trans fats is detrimental to human health. Another report
    > states that no amount of intake of trans fats is safe.

    Well, wait five years, and researchers will probably be
    recommending trans-fat supplements.

    > The nutrition facts label on the KitKat bar states 11
    > grams total fat, of which 7 grams is saturated (1 bar = 1
    > serving, and no mention of poly or mono). Therefore, if
    > labeling guidelines allow for trans fats to be labeled as
    > "refined", this means that up to 4 grams of trans fats are
    > contained in each bar. In neither case could this amount
    > of daily intake of trans fat be considered benign.

    It depends on what else you are eating, and more generally,
    on your entire lifestyle. Do you smoke? Do you drink
    alcohol? Are you overweight? And so on.

    In my case, I worry mainly about total calories, but I don't
    care where they come from. That's because my health is
    threatened much more by excess weight than by anything
    contained in my diet. And if I smoked, the main risk would
    be from smoking. Etc.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach
    me directly.
     
  13. Larry Hoover

    Larry Hoover Guest

    "David Johnson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello,
    >
    > I'm trying to avoid trans fats in my diet, and I'm also
    > fond of KitKat
    bars.
    > One of the listed ingredients is "refined palm kernel
    > oil". Does anyone know if "refined" could potentially mean
    > "hydrogenated"?
    >
    > Thanks in advance for any information from those who
    > might know.
    >
    > -David

    Refined does not mean hydrogenated. There is a food-grade
    hydrogenated palm kernel oil, but it has one more processing
    step than does refined palm kernel oil. The refining process
    removes co-extractives, and bleaches and deodorizes the oil.
    Refining can also mean that the oil is partially
    fractionated. Palm kernel oil is mostly medium-chain
    saturated fatty acids, with relatively small amounts of 18-
    carbon mono- and di-unsaturates.

    Lar
     
  14. > Refined does not mean hydrogenated. There is a food-grade
    > hydrogenated
    palm
    > kernel oil, but it has one more processing step than does
    > refined palm kernel oil. The refining process removes co-
    > extractives, and bleaches and deodorizes the oil. Refining
    > can also mean that the oil is partially fractionated. Palm
    > kernel oil is mostly medium-chain saturated fatty
    acids,
    > with relatively small amounts of 18-carbon mono- and di-
    > unsaturates.
    >
    > Lar

    Thanks very much for the post. This is just the kind of info
    I was looking for.
     
  15. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Johnson writes:

    > I know you are being facetious, but the ill effects of
    > trans fats are pretty well established now.

    Well, it used to be all fat. Then it was no fat. Then it was
    only certain fats. Then it was only certain _other_ fats.
    And so on.

    The fact is, controlled studies are extremely difficult to
    conduct in human beings, and often research depends a great
    deal on circumstantial evidence, and confuses correlation
    with causation.

    > Again, _no_amount_of_trans_fat_intake_is_safe_.

    That is an exaggeration. Even cyanide is safe if the amount
    of it ingested it small enough (really small).

    > Here's a hypothetical question - if the candy bar you
    > enjoyed eating had arsenic, instead of trans fat, and the
    > level was low enough not to cause any overt symptoms by
    > eating a bar a day, and you later discovered it contained
    > arsenic, would you still eat one every day? Of course not.

    I don't know. Apples contain cyanide, but I still eat
    apples. And of course a lot of people smoke, even though
    just about everything in cigarette smoke is toxic (nicotine,
    in particular, is one of the most toxic substances known).

    --
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  16. > > From what I've read, as little as 2 grams daily intake
    > > of trans fats is detrimental to human health. Another
    > > report states that no amount of
    intake
    > > of trans fats is safe.
    >
    > Well, wait five years, and researchers will probably be
    > recommending trans-fat supplements.

    I know you are being facetious, but the ill effects of trans
    fats are pretty well established now.

    > > The nutrition facts label on the KitKat bar states 11
    > > grams total fat, of which 7 grams is saturated (1 bar =
    > > 1 serving,
    and no
    > > mention of poly or mono). Therefore, if labeling
    > > guidelines allow for
    trans
    > > fats to be labeled as "refined", this means that up to 4
    > > grams of trans
    fats
    > > are contained in each bar. In neither case could this
    > > amount of daily intake of trans fat be considered
    > > benign.
    >
    > It depends on what else you are eating, and more
    > generally, on your entire lifestyle.

    I would agree with this statement if the ratio of non-trans
    to trans were important, or the ratio of non-trans calories
    to trans calories were important... but they're not factors
    here. Again, _no_amount_of_trans_fat_intake_is_safe_. And
    again, it's not relative to total caloric intake, or
    relative to how good or bad the other foods in the diet may
    be, or relative to the other vices a person has.

    Here's a hypothetical question - if the candy bar you
    enjoyed eating had arsenic, instead of trans fat, and the
    level was low enough not to cause any overt symptoms by
    eating a bar a day, and you later discovered it contained
    arsenic, would you still eat one every day? Of course not.
    Same general principal.

    I got the answer I was looking for from another poster, so
    I'm done here.
     
  17. Mxsmanic <[email protected]> wrote:
    : David Johnson writes:

    : > That's not to say that hydrogenation is *required* in
    : > order to provide a solid consistency to chocolate,
    : > though. Your plain Hershey bar has none of the stuff,
    : > for instance.

    : Cocoa powder itself is solid at room temperature, so if
    : the cocoa butter content is low, you don't need anything
    : to keep it solid. Dark chocolate is like this. Also, not
    : having milk in the chocolate keeps it more solid, I
    : believe. There are various ways of keeping it from melting
    : in your hand, not in your mouth.

    Does dark chocolate have less fat than milk chocolate?

    Emma
     
  18. taurusrc

    taurusrc Guest

    Chunky KitKat 282 calories, 15.2g fat

    Two-thirds chocolate, so reasonably sustaining. Again free
    from hydrogenated fats found in caramel and nougat fillings.

    5/10 50% MORE FAT THAN A MARS

    On Tue, 09 Mar 2004 06:20:10 GMT, "David Johnson"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Hello,
    >
    >I'm trying to avoid trans fats in my diet, and I'm also
    >fond of KitKat bars. One of the listed ingredients is
    >"refined palm kernel oil". Does anyone know if "refined"
    >could potentially mean "hydrogenated"?
    >
    >Thanks in advance for any information from those who
    >might know.
    >
    >-David
     
  19. Mxsmanic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Emma Chase VanCott writes:

    > Does dark chocolate have less fat than milk chocolate?

    Yes. The fat is mostly in the cocoa butter and milk, both of
    which are far less present in dark chocolate.

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