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Trans fats headed for the exits

There's more progress on the road to dumping trans fats from our diets. Well, most of our diets, anyway.

Crisco — the shortening that millions of us have been baking with for nearly 100 years — has gone trans-fat free. Crisco was the first solidified shortening product made entirely from vegetable oil using the hydrogenation process — the same process that results in trans fatty acids. The goal was to come up with a product that could be stored at room temperature for a long time.

"The reformulation of Crisco shortening reflects years of research to develop a zero grams trans fat per serving product that does not increase the level of saturated fats, while also ensuring it continues to deliver the performance excellence our consumers expect," company spokesperson Maribeth Badertscher says in a news release.

Meanwhile, on this side of the border, a research team headed by a University of Guelph professor has come up with a new way to process oils into trans-fat free solids. It was first published in the journal Chemical Science earlier this month. You can read all the scientific details here.

Alejandro Marangoni's research group found a way to mix oil, water, monoglycerides and fatty acids to form a "cooking fat" that acts the same way as trans and saturated fats — the stuff that makes baked goods taste so good. The big difference here is Marangoni's process works with "healthier" oils like olive, soybean and canola. He's hoping to get food manufacturers interested in the process this year, as the pressure mounts on the makers of commercial foods to dump trans fats.

"It is as good as the oil you put into it," Marangoni told CBC News. "We hope this will provide part of the answer to the problem."

You can watch an interview with the professor here.

You never know. Watching might help guide you to better cookie recipes.

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