act the artery-clogging effects of LDL.
Proctor said their process uses only refined soy oil, which does not introduce the health risks associated with hydrogenated oils. When CLA is synthesized, the result is a trans fat oil with health benefits.
CLA occurs naturally in beef and dairy products, but at such low levels that no benefit is obtained in a normal, healthy diet, Proctor said. In an earlier experiment, Proctor found that CLA could be synthesized in soy oil by irradiating it with ultraviolet and visible light, although that first process still produced only low amounts, similar to that present in beef and dairy.
Proctor and Jain experimented with an instrument that exposes oil to UV light more evenly and produces significantly higher CLA content of soybean oil. The photo-irradiated oil contains 25 percent CLA, Proctor said. Beef and dairy products contain less than 1 percent.
The term “trans fatty acids” refers to the manner in which carbon atoms are bound together in the oil molecules. Jain adds iodine as a catalyst to destabilize double bonds that connect the carbon atoms. Proctor said energy from the photo irradiation causes those double bonds to shift position, a chemical change that results in the formation of CLA. Later, the iodine is filtered out of the product. “Changing the position of the double bonds makes all the difference in the world,” Proctor said.
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