Trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Manufacturers use them because they’re cheap, simple to produce and last a long time.
Many restaurants use them to deep-fry foods, as oils with trans fats can be used many times in a commercial fryer. While some meat and dairy products contain a small amount of naturally occurring trans fat, most is formed through the industrial process.
Trans fat is considered by many health experts to be the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat raises your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and lowers HDL, or “good” cholesterol.
One of the biggest concerns about trans fats are the unhealthy effect on cholesterol levels. When LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries, it makes them hard and narrow.
HDL is responsible for picking up excess cholesterol and taking it back to the liver. Because trans fats raise LDL cholesterol levels and lower HDL cholesterol, this increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In addition to harming heart health, trans fats can have negative effects on many other aspects of your health. Regular consumption increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
It’s also thought to increase weight gain by favoring abdominal fat deposition, increasing the risk of obesity as well as type-2 diabetes, as obesity is a major factor for developing this serious health condition.
A 2003 study, published in Archives of Neurology, linked the intake of trans fats to promoting the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
When it comes to trans fat, there are no safe levels, unlike other dietary fats, as they are unnecessary for the body, resulting in considerable potential harm with no apparent benefit, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
There are eight steps you can take to avoid consuming trans fats, including:
- Never reuse cooking oil.
- Avoid margarine and shortening, as well as foods that contain them like commercially prepared baked goods such as packaged cookies and pastries.
- Thoroughly review a product’s ingredient statement, even if it says “0” grams of trans fat, if the word “hydrogenated” is used, it contains at least a small amount – any amount above zero is too much.
- When you’re eating out, ask the server what type of oil is used to prepare your food. If possible, request a healthier oil. Ideally, skip deep-fried foods altogether.
- Use more stable oils at room temperature, like olive oil to drizzle on foods or for salad dressing.
- Use only small quantities of oil and make sure the oil is not heated too high before cooking.
- Purchase only all-natural peanut butter, as a main source of trans fat comes from non-natural peanut butter which typically contains hydrogenated oils.
- Cut back on or better yet eliminate fast food, which often contains hidden trans fats.
- While there are some things that can be enjoyed in moderation, trans fat is not one of them. Say goodbye to that nasty substance for better health.
-The Alternative Daily