It's no secret that trans fats are bad fats and that we shouldn't be eating them.
We've been hearing that message for a few years now and reading labels within an inch of our lives to make sure we're not eating them. We've even bought foods previously engulfed in this wicked substance because right there on the front of the label is the braggadocios "Zero Trans Fats" proclaiming its newly formulated recipe to be free of iniquity.
Hmmm, could it really be true? And before we even go there, we need to talk about this trans fat thing.
So what's a trans fat anyway... and what's it doing in my food?
Well, as you probably know trans fats are hydrogenated oils such as margarine, shortening or you might see it on a label called just plain hydrogenated (fill in the blank) oil. Trans fatty acids are created through a process called hydrogenation, which basically forces hydrogen into a highly heated oil creating a hard product from a liquid product.
What's it doing in your food? Helping the manufacturer make more money by using a cheap fat instead of using something edible that won't cause you health problems.
The deal with trans fats is they are just as culpable as saturated fats for raising LDL levels (low density lipoprotein, the "bad cholesterol"). But unlike saturated fats (which also raise HDL levels) trans fats actually reduce HDL levels (high density lipoprotein, the "good cholesterol"). So you can see where the margarine/butter debate would logically end.
Though trans fats have only been seriously studied for the past 10 years, there are some early indications that <strong>trans fats could increase your risk to cancer, diabetes and may even cause pregnancy complications</strong>.
So what does the FDA say is an acceptable amount of trans fat in the diet?
In my estimation, it doesn't matter. Any product that contains hydrogenated oils, shortening or margarine should be avoided. Some of the biggest trans fat offenders are donuts, crackers, cookies and French fries. You can probably add to that list -just start reading labels.
If I were to offer you an ooey gooey brownie made with the finest chocolate and I told you that there was only just a little bit of dog poop in it, would you eat it? If you couldn't taste it and it was undetectable (showed up on the ingredient list, but showed up on the nutrition list as 0 grams dog poop), would you eat it?? The nutrition info is going to tell you it's not showing up, but the ingredients list let's you know its there.
You know what I'm saying. Now you need to make up your own mind on what's acceptable for you to put into your body or not. Next time you're tempted to eat something overloaded with trans fats, just think about my icky dog poop analogy. That'll stop you... LOL!
Bottom line is you can't hide your head in the sand. There is food out there that is unhealthy and will take away your good health!
And while you get yourself an education by reading nutrition labels, make sure they line up with the ingredient labels! Next time you're in the grocery store, make it a point to not buy hydrogenated anything (and partially hydrogenated oils, as well) and give your body the healthy foods you need - there's plenty of good stuff out there!
Author: John McGran