So, back to hydrogenation. What is it? It occurs when oil which is contained in cobalt, aluminum and nickel (the metal is a very important part), has hydrogen bubbles blown into it and gets heated to 212-392 degrees fahrenheit.
This alters the chemical structure of the oil, giving it amazing preservative qualities and causing it to harden, like shortening and some stick margarines, which food product companies seem to love. Margarine has quite a following as well, which really began booming in the 50's. And on top of all of this, the process of hydrogenation actually increases the amount of oil. And to a company looking to cut costs, that's a "great" way to go...
It all started back in the early 1900's when cotton seed oil was the first oil to be hydrogenated. Early on, it wasn't selling well at all, so Proctor & Gamble started giving it away! The rest is history. Now, we're in a constant battle of trying to avoid all the hydrogenated oils because it's high in fat and seems to cause diabetes among other health issues and let's not forget the fact that your body can't actually process this stuff. It's not good.
It's in most chips, pretzels, granola bars, etc. You can avoid it by looking for "expeller pressed oils" on the ingredient labels. You can also avoid it by cooking at home, avoiding deep-fried foods, buying organic products. I also know that Frito Lay is hydrogenated-oil-free.
This is what I've learned so far, but I feel like I've got a lot more to learn... such as the laws on this stuff! Obviously they're pretty lax at this point.