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Label Able: Mono- and Diglycerides

Reading ingredient labels has become a form of entertainment for me, weird I know, but I see a lot of ingredients I have never heard of, let alone can pronounce. I came across an ingredient so bizarre that it requires a hyphen: mono- and diglycerides. This food combination is considered one ingredient and can be found in beverages, ice cream, gum, whipped toppings, margarine, bread, and other baked goods. Just like partially hydrogenated oils, they're everywhere, and that's what makes me suspect.

To find out if they are healthy or harmful


Mono- and diglycerides are a kind of incomplete fat, but they really have no caloric impact since they're added to foods in such tiny amounts. These not-quite-whole fats are common food additives used to blend ingredients together that don't naturally blend well, such as oil and water. Think of processed peanut butter like Jif. It contains mono- and diglycerides to give it a creamy consistency, and to prevent the oil from separating and sitting on the top. My natural peanut butter separates and I really don't mind. Just like hydrogenated oils, mono- and diglycerides increase the shelf life of foods, but they are on the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list according to the FDA.

These fatty food additives may come from an animal source (derived from a pig or cow), a vegetable source (usually canola or soybean oil), or may be synthetically produced. Vegetarians and vegans should steer clear of them since manufacturers aren't required to list the source of their mono- and diglycerides. I'm not vegetarian, but I am trying to avoid processed foods so I'll be avoiding these incomplete fats because I think complete fats are just less engineered.

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Lucien3304443 Lucien3304443 4 years
Hydrogenated Oils: How Bad Are They for Us? Ever since food processing manufacturers realized they could extend the use of many vegetable oils by injecting hydrogen into them, the birth of hydrogenation was born.
flyingroo flyingroo 8 years
You can find them in whipping heavy cream as well...all brands, even the organic ones!
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 8 years
Sounds like it's an emulsifier. Anything that bugs with chemistry, I look at twice. However, when compared with other food additive sins, they seem relatively minor to me.
nv27 nv27 8 years
Ew thats freaky. Its so wierd when you learn something new about something so commonplace.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
Bummer. Store bought PB (especially jiff) is a comfort food for me. The natural stuff just doesn't cut it.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
Bummer.Store bought PB (especially jiff) is a comfort food for me. The natural stuff just doesn't cut it.
Beaner Beaner 8 years
That's why I get the natural peanut butter that's just peanuts and salt.
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 8 years
Aw I like peanut butter :(
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 8 years
Aw I like peanut butter :(
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Yeah, these are bad news. I've not had them in 10 years — I was vegan back then so that's why I avoided them, but now I just stay away anyway.
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 8 years
the morning after the night i binge on peanutbutter, i am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO bloated. this explains it. but i switched to the peanut butter you make yourself at whole foods...but it's not as junky delish.
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