The Skinny on Fats (Part II)
contributed by Zunayet Karim
Concluding our two-part series on the health effects of good and bad fats, we will be discussing Trans-Fats. If you missed part one, click here to read.
Trans Fat – The Ultimate Killer
This is the killer ingredient which is hidden in many common food sources we consume every day. Every major scientific and regulatory advisory bodies e.g. FDA, American Heart Association, National Academy of Science you name it; issued ominous warning about this hidden killer which is effecting millions of people across the globe.
Trans fat, chemically known as trans fatty acid (TFA) is produced by a chemical process called hydrogenation of the vegetable oils in order to solidify liquid fat or oil into solid state. Originally it was invented at the end of nineteenth century by the French. Food manufacturers use tans fat in their products to preserve longevity and shelf life.
Source of Trans fat in our food:
▪ Baked products: Cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers
▪ Hamburger buns, cereals
▪ Snacks: Potato, corn and tortilla chips, packaged popcorn, tacos
▪ Candy bars, salad dressings
▪ Fried food: Deep fried foods — french fries, fried chicken or doughnuts
▪ Frozen pizzas
▪ Creamer and margarine. Nondairy coffee creamer and stick margarines
What Trans-Fat Does to Your Body
▪ TFA raises our bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers our good cholesterol (HDL), which makes our body vulnerable to heart disease and stroke
▪ TFA damages our arteries and makes them prone to plaque buildup which may eventually cause serious coronary artery disease
▪ Causes inflammation: which will results in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and other chronic conditions
▪ Many studies have shown that diet consists excessive amount of trans fat will results in development of Type 2 diabetes which itself a risk factor for heart disease/stroke and many debilitating chronic diseases
▪ A study published in 2003 suggested that the intake of both trans fat promote the development of Alzheimer disease
▪ Obesity: A number of research finds a link between obesity and trans fat intake despite normal calorie intake
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued specific warning linking TFA to coronary artery disease and requires that the trans fat content of food be declared on the food ingredient label as cautionary measures so raise consumer awareness.
What should we do?
In order to minimize intake we should stay away from food with high level of TFA. Check the ingredients on the packaging how much TFA is there. Go for foods with 0 g trans fat.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily intake of trans fats to no more than 1 percent of total daily calories. For a 2,000 calorie per day diet, the trans fat limit is 2 grams daily.
Inspire changes at home, teach your kids or other family members to make healthy choices. Change is hard but not impossible. To preserve health and protect future generations there is no alternate of making the necessary changes.