Why Are Trans Fats Bad?
The Dangers Of Trans Fatty Acid – The Real Bad Fat
If you’re wondering what trans fats are, then you’re probably either health conscious or you just want to avoid them, because the likelihood is you’ve heard bad things.
It could well be that most of what you’ve heard is on the money because trans fats are bad and more than deserving of the (sometimes aggressive) derision they are met with.
Taking good, healthy fats and turning them into something bad for you is a real problem for the consumer, especially in an era where junk food is already omnipresent.
This could have a massive effect on health in the west.
Thankfully, the fight back against artificial trans fatty acid has begun.
Read on to discover what trans fats are and why they’re so bad for your health.
How Are Trans Fats Made?
Trans Fat Definition – The Hideous Laboratory Fat
Trans fatty acids (TFAs) start off life as good fats like polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats, but funnily enough, they don’t begin as the most commonly despised fat… Saturated. Which is all kind of ironic, because it turns out that Trans fats are the worst of all.
Why are they so bad?
Because they tamper with them and turn perfectly healthy fats into what could easily be called the Frankenstein’s monster of fats. “Frankenfats is you please”.
They use a something called hydrogenation, which in itself sounds relatively harmless, but in reality, they warp the molecular nature adding more hydrogen atoms and in turn create a type of super saturated fat – The ultimate in bad health. (1)
What Does This All Mean Then?
Trans fats are not natural and must be created artificially. Trans fat definition = “Frankenfat”
Why Did They Create Such A Product?
Why Tamper With Nature?
The whole idea was to stabilize oil and make a butter substitute and thus sell more oil, which they did, but in the process, they single handed added one of the most unhealthy foods the world has ever seen to the tables of your average family.
There’s nothing wrong with a business trying to make money. There’s also nothing wrong with consumers making the choice to eat unhealthy food, but for some time, the link between trans fatty acids and poor health wasn’t as well established as it is now.
Trans Fat vs Saturated Fat
For a long time, saturated fat was the demonized fat and was very unpopular, but now with a greater knowledge of the role glucose plays in fat storage and disposal, trans fat has become public fat enemy number 1.
Currently, we have a much better understanding of how fat works in the body and how the extreme saturation of trans fats can adversely affect the health of human beings.
For this reason, there’s been a concerted effort in communities to move away from products containing trans fatty acids, and in some cases, there have been bans.
So, Why Did They Do It?
It was just a commercial decision so they could sell more oil. Unfortunately, it ended up being very unhealthy and now we know it.
What About Natural Trans Fats?
Ruminant Trans Fatty Acids
It’s important to make a distinction between man-made trans fats and the natural ruminant trans fatty acids ones that are not in any way tampered with.
There are naturally occurring trans fats in normal everyday foods like milk or cheese, but they make up such a small proportion of total fat, whereas manufactured foods where contrived trans fats are the main ingredient could contain anywhere up to 60 percent trans fat.
That’s clearly not ideal.
So while there are bad trans fats in many items, you shouldn’t worry about the ones in naturally created products, because no testing has to date been able to show ruminant trans fatty acids as being a health issue unlike the hydrogenated, artificially created variety. (2)
There’s no reason to forgo milk or cheese unless you are lactose intolerant, adverse to dairy or making a personal conscience based choice.
What’s The Bottom Line Here?
There are natural ruminant fats that are not to be confused with the artificial variety which are much more dangerous.
Why Are Trans Fats Bad?
The Health Risks And Dangers Of Trans Fatty Acid
So far, we’ve talked about how bad these awful fats are, but it’s important to know some of the potentially dangerous effects of trans fat consumption. It’s may be enough to make you change your eating habits.
Some of the effects of TFAs are:
A Strain On The Body
It is thought that ordinary trans fats are hard for the body to dispose of and therefore place added strain on vital functions. As opposed to good fats like omega 3, which the body finds relatively easy to use and metabolize efficiently.
This extra strain that bad fat creates can have negative health effects that may become a bigger issue in time, especially with the constant consumption of trans fatty acids in the diet.
Just another reason to eliminate bad trans fat in your diet.
Trans Fat can raise your LDL cholesterol making them dangerous and putting you at risk of health problems that include a potential heart attack, stroke, or the development of cardiovascular disease. These are fats to be taken seriously and avoided as such. (3)
That’s bad news considering many of the types of food found with trans fatty acids in them are already pretty lousy nutritional choices.
What Is the Take Home Message Here?
Trans fats can make you fat, may give you high bad cholesterol, and could contribute towards diabetes. So, they’re BAD!
What Is The Future Of Trans Fats
The End Is Nigh For TFAs
Knowing what we do now about the dangers of trans fatty acid, it’s important to have a look at where the future may take us and how this might affect the very existence of TFAs.
They Are So Bad Some Places Have Banned Them
Going, Going, Gone!
A lot of countries have outlawed them and the regulation has been met with very little opposition other than the producers of these fats. Not a lot of people are willing to protect their freedom to sell such a product. Some states and counties in the USA have banned trans fats or tightly regulated them, restricting their availability and use by manufacturers.
There are viable alternatives, so most people view it a step in the right direction, whilst some more liberal thinkers believe it is unfair of any government to tell any business what they can and can not sell as the implications may not end there.
Companies Are (Slowly) Moving Away From Them
A Little Late, But Better Than Never
Whether it is conscience, public pressure or the risk of being sued, many companies in the USA are looking at ways of replacing trans fats and phasing them out of their products.
At the end of the day, not many companies want to be associated with a product that could have future litigation in the same vein of the legal battles over tobacco.
Though it may have some people worried that sugar and salt could be next. While it’s not likely that sugar and salt will be next on the list on foods to ban, it’s an interesting development, especially with areas in California trying to ban soda drinks with sugar in them.
So, Where Will This Leave Trans Fats?
Probably consigned to the pages of history and in cautionary tales.
What Are The Worst Sources Of Trans Fats?
Where Can You Find Them Still?
Having read to this point, it’s a good bet that you want to eliminate these awful fats from your diet. The first step is identifying them so you can avoid them at all costs.
Here are some of the biggest offenders that may include such food as:
Margarine and shortening are the worst two foods most commonly associated with trans fatty acids.
Any butter-like spread that purports to be an alternative could be a possible source of trans fats, so it’s well worth reading the label, even if they are banned in your area, they still might have been imported and somehow slipped through.
Especially Long Shelf-life Baked Goods
Foods with trans fats may include bakery foods, especially sugary pastries, although with government regulations now, they will probably be naturally occurring ones if you live n a regulated area.
Some baked goods that are kept at room temperature for a long time may contain trans fat, so it can require some vigilance to check packaging and labels if you want to avoid such things.
Hidden Trans Fats
Watch Carefully For These Tricksters
Be aware of hidden TFAs in products. By law, any product that has less than .5 grams of trans fats per serving can list the amount as zero, even if that amount is along the lines of .49 grams. So it’s both theoretically and entirely possible that a product you consume may have nearly half a gram of trans fatty acids every time you eat it, which could add up to hundreds of grams of TFAs every year.
Be judicious and if in doubt, put the product down and opt for natural foods.
What Does This Mean For The Average Consumer?
Junk food is going to be around no matter what, but be careful to note hidden trans fats. It may require some extra legwork.
What Fats Should You Eat
Better Fat Choices
If you want to replace the bad fats in your diet with good quality, healthy fats then you have to aim for either plant based fats or seafood sources of fat.
From The land
Walnuts are the best, but most nuts are excellent. Seeds are also great like sunflower, sesame and chia seeds.
Some beans like soybeans are good sources of fat. Nut butters are mostly good assuming they’re natural and not containing added oils.
From The Sea
Salmon and tuna are excellent sources of omega 3 fats, most oily fish are great. Some seafood is quite low fat like calamari, crab and most mollusks, so they have very good, but small amounts of high quality fat.
The best source of good fat in the world is probably wild caught salmon. (5)
To find out more, visit this healthy fats list.
What Does This All Mean For Your Diet?
Nuts, seeds, and seafood are great, but salmon is probably the best sources of good fat.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Good Fats?
How Do They Help?
Good fats are highly beneficial to the human body because they offer a whole host of healthy characteristics.
Some of the advantages of consuming good fats may include:
Fat Burning Assistance
Omega 3 fatty acids can help to boost your metabolism and actually assist with burning stored body fat.
Relief From Inflammation
Omega 3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties that help to repress the prothrombotic agents that can cause inflammation. This also has a positive effect on helping to keep a healthy blood pressure, which is good news for those people with hypertension.
Possible Pain Relief
Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids that are found in fish oil have been shown to reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
A More Positive Mind
There is some evidence to suggest that omega 3 fats can have a positive mental effect on moods which may be good for people with the symptoms of depression. They may also help people who suffer from attention deficit disorder. Some students take extra fish oil supplementation before exams to ensure optimum nutrition for the brain.
So, What About These Good Health Benefits?
It looks like good fats really can make life a little better and are diametrically opposed to bad fats.
Why Are Trans Fats Bad?
Eat good fats like omega 3 fats from fish and nuts, and stay away from shortening and cheap pastries, especially long life ones or the imported varieties.
Considering just how much of a health risk TFAs are, it would be wise to take a concerted effort to avoid them, by being consumer smart and aware of packaging.
Trans fats are bad, in fact, there is nothing really good that anyone can say about them and as such, most sensible people would recommend you leave them be.