Chemically saturated with hydrogen atoms. Used for various purposes in organic chemistry, by replacing double bonds between carbon atoms with additional single-bonded hydrogen atoms. Hydrogenation is often used on food grade oils, usually from soybeans, cottonseeds, coconut or palm kernel oil. Hydrogenation became popular when butter was found to contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Hydrogenated oils contain no cholesterol but do contain saturated fats, because hydrogenated and saturated mean the same thing. Hydrogenated fats are artificially processed at high temperatures in the presecence of hydrogen gas and a catalyst such as cobalt or aluminum. Hydrogenated oils are found in all fast foods, specificially fried foods such as chicken sandwiches and french fries, in in baked goods like bread, cookies, cakes, pretty much anything that calls for "shortening." Hydrogenated oils are often partially hydrogenated, which means the process isn't completed. This creates trans fats, which are physically incompatible with your body. Hydrogenated oils are being blamed for association with cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes. Hydrogenated oils are found in just about all processed foods, including chips, candy, popcorn, baked goods, doughnuts, and more. They are nearly impossible to avoid at the supermarket.
Crisco(tm) is pure partially hydrogenated soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, with artificial colors and possibly some fake butter flavor if one opts for the "butter flavored" brand.