We are all aware of the huge push to delete trans fats from our foods since the early 2000’s, but do you know why? Inspired by an article on examine.com, I thought I would fill you in on the dirty details of trans fats.
First of all, what are they? Trans fats are actually unsaturated fatty acids that are a byproduct of partially hydrogenated oils. Don’t get too caught up on the jargon; focus more on the reason they are bad. The following is list of the effects of trans fat consumption: increased LDL levels, increased risk of atherosclerosis, increased coronary heart disease risk, and diabetes. With a track record like that, why was it introduced to us in the first place? Well let me explain….
Like most ideas the United States thought would be great and turned out to be a nightmare, the introduction of trans fats ranks right up there with slavery, separation from the metric system, and high fructose corn syrup. In the 1950’s scientists decided saturated fats were terrible for us, so they decided to indorse unsaturated fatty acids AKA trans fat. Trans fats were more useful. They have more “flavor stability”, they have a longer shelf life, and can be used more flexibly in so many more ingredients and foods. So, we put trans fats in everything only to find out that just a 2% increase intake of them cause a 23% increase in cardiovascular disease risk! Worse news, just because a label says no trans fat doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any. The FDA has allowed products to be labeled as such, as long as there is less than 0.5 grams. So read the ingredients for “partially hydrogenated oils” because you shouldn’t be taking in more than 1% of your calories from trans fats.
The silver lining in all this; eat real food! There are different types of trans fats, ones that come from animals and ones that are scientifically made. The trans fats that are scientifically made are the ones that are causing all the issues. Poor bacon has been getting a bad rap when the real culprit is frozen pizzas you thought were the fit and healthy brand. Studies are showing animal consumed trans fats are having no negative affect on CVD risk!
Now, this doesn’t mean you can shove your face full of bacon and sausage every day, because there are saturated fats and plenty of other ingredients to jack you up; however, real food is always better than something bagged! I hope we shined some light on trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils that will leave you choosing a BLT instead of DiGiornos!
For a more in depth version of trans fats, check out this link!