Hydrogenated vegetable oils in shortenings and margarines are important components of the diet in many industrialized societies. Hydrogenation (adding hydrogen atoms to double bonds) is carried out to convert liquid vegetable oils to solid fats, a process that protects fats from oxidation and adds texture to foods. The solid fats can then be used in margarines and shortenings. The principal fatty acid in most vegetable oils used for hydrogenation is linoleic acid (18 carbon atoms and 2 double bonds, or 18:2). The predominant fatty acids produced from its hydrogenation are oleic, elaidic, and stearic acids. Oleic acid (18:1) has one.
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