by James Hamblin, The Atlantic
For years, granola bars were like balsa wood. They could be instruments of blunt force trauma. I’m not certain, but I believe several people were killed when they tripped and were impaled by granola bars. So in the 1990s, Quaker’s line of Chewy bars were a giant leap for granola-bar kind, landing them within the domain of, as Quaker put it, the chewy foods. That was possible in part because of trans fats: the purposeful placement of a hydrogen molecule on a fatty acid in such a way that created a modification of the standard cis unsaturated fat structure. Partially hydrogenated oils were at once soft and malleable while resisting spoilage. It was a triumph of science that made a shelf-ready product out of something as unimaginable as frosting, and made the buttery compound I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter a source of so much indignation. Read the entire story.