What are Trans Fats?
Trans fat is the least heart healthy type of fat out there. It is a man made fat which helps to keep the shelf life longer on some packaged, fried and processed foods. Trans Fats are desirable for companies because they are cheap and last a long time. The fat starts out as a normal vegetable oil and is blasted with hydrogen molecules at very high pressures, turning into the solid at room temperature trans fat. The molecular structure changes and looks similar to Saturated fats. Small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, including beef, lamb and butterfat. It isn’t clear; though, whether these naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects on cholesterol levels as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured.
What does Trans Fat do to my health?
Trans fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreases HDL (Good) cholesterol. This fat is WORSE than saturated fat (in butter), because saturated is known to only raise your LDL, and not effect your HDL. Trans fat also can increase your triglyceride levels. Basically Trans Fat is like poison to your body. Ever clog your sink with bacon grease? Well that is a visual of what it does to our arteries. Trans Fat increases your risk for heart disease. Other studies show that trans fat cause inflammation and can be very harmful to the children of pregnant and lactating mothers. Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes also increases.
How can I avoid Trans Fat?
Beware of these fats, because they are hidden in a lot of foods these days. Always read the label for no trans fat and also read the ingredients. Look for partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list, this is a fancy name for trans-fat. You can see that in the picture below there is no amount listed for trans fat on the nutrition facts label, but there is partially hydrogenated oil listed in the ingredients. If food has 0.5 grams or less of trans fat it doesn’t have to list it on the nutrition facts. Tricky!! So if you are eating 3 or 4 servings, then you could be getting 1 or more grams of Trans Fat. If it says partially hydrogenated oil, please put it back on the shelf, there is still trans fat in it!. Never buy stick margarine, because it contains this poison. Trans fat can be in fried foods like French fries and doughnuts, and baked goods including pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and shortenings. You are better off choosing whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice. Stick to the perimeter of your supermarket, because the healthiest foods are commonly kept here.