If a fat is partially hydrogenated, it means that Hydrogen atoms have been added to the chemical bonds in the fat to make it firmer (and easier to preserve.) This hard fat can stick to artery walls, which makes the heart have to work harder to pump blood.
While many omnivores can easily become overweight because of a high-fat diet, some vegans don't eat enough fat (the most calorie dense nutrient), and therefore are slightly underweight or underfat. Fat is needed for warmth, to protect bodily organs and to absorb certain vitamins.
To help gain weight, a good idea is to see how much fat is your diet. If you usually become full on healthy or low-fat food (and then skip dessert), you might not be getting enough fat, and therefore calories. Up to 30% of your calories can come from fat, depending on your activity level and your current weight. If you are overweight, it shouldn't be more than 10 or 20 percent. Eating more fat can help make you gain weight, and it also can help add body fat if you don't have enough.
If you need to eat more fat, you should be eating healthy fats, like plant oils, NOT eating tons of junk foods that contain saturated fats or partially hydrogenated oils. Here are some good foods/ideas to get you started:
- Salad dressings made with olive oil
- Avocados (slice one up and put in a tortilla and top with salsa, yummy! Or, guacamole. This veggie, though technically fruit, is high in healthy fat)
- Peanuts and other nuts
- Cook things like veggie burgers in oil on a skillet instead of baking or microwaving them
- Odwalla Berry GoMega bars. Very yummy, they have 1000mg of vegetarian Omega 3 fatty acids from flax seeds (you can't taste them!)
- Make faux-deli slice sandwiches with EarthBalance/SoyGarden and mustard, this is very common in Europe (though they would normally use dairy butter)
- Put olive oil on your pasta before adding the sauce.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any tips to increase fat intake!
* The information provided here and these tips should not be taken as sound medical advice, as the author is only an educated individual, not a registered dietician or a doctor. Only a doctor can diagnose or prescribe treatment for medical conditions.