You've probably heard this term before but may not know what all the fuss is about. Here's some information about trans fat that I hope will be helpful.
What is it?
"...trans fat, is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening."*1
Trans fat was a result of experiments by a German chemist. It's a man-made product that was originally advertised as healthy because it was "plant-based" instead of from animal fat. Common sense tells us that what God has made is far healthier than what man tries to do to "improve" it. Scientific evidence is finally catching up and confirming the dangers of trans fat.
What harm does trans fat do?
"...researchers were able to definitively prove that trans fat increased the risk of heart disease by 23 percent. Other discoveries showed that this fat contributes to cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalance, skin disease, fertility problems, and many others. Also, it was found that there is no proof that animal fats posed the same threats."*3
"Trans fat clogs your arteries and promotes heart disease. Moreover, trans fats prevent the synthesis of prostacyclin, which is necessary to keep your blood flowing. When your arteries cannot produce prostacyclin, blood clots form, and you may succumb to sudden death. Trans fat has also been linked to dementia. ... Trans fat...is thought to act as a pro-oxidant, contributing to oxidative stress that causes cellular damage, and many researchers agree that there is no threshold at which trans fats are safe."*2
What foods contain trans fat?
"It is found in many other foods besides margarine and shortening...including fried foods like french fries and fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers. In the United States, typical french fries have about 40 percent trans fatty acids and many popular cookies and crackers range from 30 percent to 50 percent trans fatty acids. Doughnuts have about 35 percent to 40 percent trans fatty acids."*1
"The problem is that it’s oftentimes hidden. Even products boasting a 'zero trans fat' label can contain trans fat, because food manufacturers are not required to list trans fat if it falls below a certain amount per serving. Using ridiculously tiny serving portion is a legal loophole that permits food manufacturers to mislead you about the trans fat in their products. As a general rule, to successfully avoid trans fats, you need to avoid any and all foods containing or cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil...."*2
"One tip to determine the amount of trans fat in a food is to read the ingredient label and look for shortening, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. The higher up on the list these ingredients appear, the more trans fat."*1
Watch out for similar dangerous substances.
In 2014, "the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed trans fats from the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list. This is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, instead of reverting to healthy saturated fats like coconut oil, lard, and butter, trans fats are being replaced with other non-saturated vegetable oils that produce toxic cyclic aldehydes when heated. These byproducts appear to be so harmful they may even make trans fats look benign in comparison, and we may not realize the full ramifications of this switch until a decade or two down the line."*2
Is all fat bad?
Definitely not. God created many healthy fats for our benefit. Some healthy fats you can eat are organic butter from raw milk, organic virgin coconut oil, virgin olive oil, avocados, raw dairy products, etc.
"The truth is: you need saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources, since they are necessary for many of your body’s functions. Saturated fat:
0. Provides building blocks for your cell membranes, hormones, and other hormone-like substances
0. Helps in the absorbability of fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K
0. Contributes to the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and for effective mineral absorption
0. Contains caprylic acid and lauric acid, which act as antiviral agents
0. Contains palmitic and stearic acid, which help bring cholesterol levels to normal range
0. Contains butyric acid, which aids in modulating genetic regulation and helps in preventing cancer" *3
So watch out for those dangerous trans fats. Read labels or avoid processed foods altogether. The more organic, whole, home-cooked foods you eat, the healthier you'll be.
So say goodbye to margarine and junk foods, and try some avocados, and organic butter or coconut oil. Your body will thank you. =)