They are being banned in restaurant and fast food joints, there are the trans fatty acids that lead most to cholesterol and heart disease. It is now mandatory for food manufacturers to declare trans fats on food labels.
Fats are usually saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. Trans fats are mostly artificial fats but can occur naturally in dairy and meat products.
There is a process called partial hydrogenation through which trans fats are made. Liquid vegetable oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat. It is full of hydrogen atoms that can be changed into fats. The food industry found this an ideal fat to work with because it had a smooth texture and could be reused for deep-frying.
Trans fats used to be considered a healthier alternative to saturated fats but research revealed that this was not the case.
Trans fats can increase total and low density lipoprotein or LDL or bad cholesterol levels while at the same time lowering the levels of HDL or good cholesterol. Trans fats help to increase the shelf-life of most processed food products such as margerine-based foods, donuts, cakes, and cookies.
They also add a certain pleasing flavor to all foods. If a product contains hydrogenated oil then it is likely to contain trans fats.
An increased intake of trans fats leads to high cholesterol, clogged arteries, and heart disease. Trans fats can also trigger some types of cancer and diabetes. They raise LDL levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels.
Blood lipid levels increase as does inflammation, which leads to atherosclerosis.
Abdominal fat increases and there are changes in the way the liver makes use of fats. Everybody is at risk when they have trans fats but most at risk are those that already have a history of high cholesterol.
Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should also be wary of trans fats as they can be carried to the unborn or breastfed child.
Ready-made baked goods and fast foods can contain hidden trans fats so avoid these as much as possible. You can find out about the content of products by reading the food labels, as food manufacturers are required to list the contents of commercial foods.
Choose food products that contain low saturated fats such as fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Try and eat freshly cooked foods as much as possible.
To understand the effects of trans fats further you should know about cholesterol. Cholesterol is a substance made by the human liver.
It is needed for the function of nerves and hormones. The liver produces up to 80% of the cholesterol needed and diet should provide the remainder.
Foods such as milk, eggs, meat, cheese, poultry, and fish provide dietary cholesterol. The dietary intake of cholesterol should be restricted to 300 mg a day. So if this level increases then cholesterol levels are affected so it is these artificial trans fats that are not good for health and should be avoided at all costs.
Even vegetarians and vegans are at risk if they consume food with hidden trans fats.
So change your diet today and make it one that is healthy for your heart!