Hexane In FastFood, Burgers, extracting oils | Air pollutant declared by the EPA

Do Soy Burgers, Processed Vitamins Contain Hexane?

Hexane In FastFood, Burgers, extracting oils

The patty of a veggie burger may be made from vegetables like potato or corn, textured vegetable protein like soy, legumes like beans, tofu, nuts, mushrooms, grains and from wheat and flax seeds. In India where vegetarianism is widespread, where fast food restaurant chains like McDonald's, Burger King and KFC serve veggie burgers.

Some convenience store bought vegan staples can be life-savers for those with a busy schedule or that are cutting down their meat and dairy consumption.This scenario is especially true for products that replace animal-based foods, like vegan cheese and yogurt and of course, our favourite veggie burger is also in the list. While we know whole foods are best protein fiber source, these products help many of us ease into a plant-based diet with a little less intimidation.

In this busy world most of us are interested to make quick meal in a few minutes with less efforts, and we love the way they taste. One of the most popular vegan food item that falls under this criteria is the veggie burger.

I like those frozen veggie burger patties that I buy at the grocery store, but the other day a lady told me they've got hexane in them.

Hexane sounds bad but, what is it?

Do all veggie burgers contain hexane and does this mean I shouldn't eat them?

Veggie burgers don't contain any hexane. Some soy protein ingredients in meat analogs and nutrition bars, which are listed on labels as soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate or textured vegetable protein, have undergone hexane processing.In fact, hexane can be used as a healthy protein source for vegetarians.

Let me explain how this story about hexane came to be: 

Hexane is classified as an air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and as a neurotoxin by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hexane is one of the chemical compounds that composed of Carbon and Hydrogen chained together individually by single bonds. Hexane could be made by human synthesis and occurs naturally. Almost all the hexane is acquired from petroleum mixtures through controlled distillation and other removing methods.

Hexane is an useful compound as a solvent. There are many popular uses of this compound and one of them is as an industrial cleaner or degreaser. It is useful in dividing molecules and separating fats and oils apart from different substances. It is used in plants and vegetables to remove the greases and proteins and they are used in other productions

In the food industry, hexane is used to extract the vegetable oil from plant seeds such as canola, soybeans, sunflowers and corn because it is more efficient and less expensive than squeezing out the oil with presses. The hexane is removed from the oil before it is bottled and sold, but there is always the potential for some hexane residue to be left in the oil.

Is it difficult to avoid hexane?

Most hexane exposure comes through the air, however if you wish to eliminate hexane residues from your diet, you can choose foods that are "100-percent organic" and oils that are expeller-pressed rather than solvent-extracted. Expeller pressing is not as efficient as hexane extraction so oils made this way are going to be more expensive. Keep in mind that labels that state the product is made with organic ingredients may still use ingredients that have been exposed to hexane.

Not only vegan food items, even some of the vitamins will be processed by hexane.

Is it your suppliments processed with Hexane?

Many of us take vitamins and other supplements regularly in hope they will make us healthier and maybe to fill in gaps in less than perfect diets. But, the significant problem with the supplement industry is that many companies do not disclose toxic solvents used to process the vitamins they make. Of particular concern is a substance called hexane, generally used as an industrial-strength cleaner, degreaser and a component in gasoline, but is also used in a variety of supplements and other natural food products to extract certain nutritional components.

According to the World Health Organization, a single exposure to hexane can cause vertigo, dizziness, and drowsiness. It is also a skin irritant. Long-term exposure may cause neuropathy, anorexia, and diminished reflexes. The FDA does not currently set a limit for hexane in most foods with the exception of hops and spices which are allowed to contain up to 25 ppm or 2.2% per weight. Since there is no specific limit set by the FDA, food manufacturers do not have to disclose the use of hexane in their products.

Most of the research on toxicity of hexane involves inhalation of the chemical. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the limit of exposure to inhaled hexane to 50 ppm over an 8 hour work day. Over 50 common household products contain hexane, so for those of at home it is difficult to determine the amount of daily exposure.

In order to reduce your risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals, it is vital to know where your supplements come from and what type of manufacturing practice the company uses. The manufacturer should be willing to disclose any chemical coatings or solvents that are used.

In choosing supplement it is best to research the company to understand their manufacturing practices. Avoid supplements made by pharmaceutical companies. Choose companies that use real, whole foods in their supplements and not synthetic vitamins. The vitamins or supplements should also be raw-based. Look for vitamins that are gluten-free, soy free, and do not contain any preservatives or artificial colors. You take vitamins and supplements to help improve your health, so do a little research to make sure you get the best quality product available.

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