Why Trans Fats Are Bad?

Trans fats are not good for health. The trans fats are very harmful to the body, they act as slow poison.

If an unsaturated fatty acid is solidified by a chemical process known as hydrogenation so that its molecules contain trans double bonds between carbon atoms, it becomes a trans fat. In this process, the oil becomes solidified. The hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor of the food so the food industry use it.

Tran Fat Definition

Trans fats interfere with the body's ability to regulate cholesterol. The trans fats are very harmful to the body, rather they act as slow poison. It is now mandatory to put the amount of trans fats on the food label in many countries like USA and Australia. Other countries like India has no regulation on trans fats so it is being used freely in many food products. The trans fatty acids are so dangerous to the health that the governments should actually ban the use of trans fats in foods.

The different names of trans fat are "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "shortening". In India it is known as vanaspati which comes in brand names as "Dalda", "Rath" and "Ghaghan".


How Much Trans-Fat?

The Heart Foundation recommends that the intake of saturated fat and trans fat combined should be no more than 8% of total energy intake. People eating foods containing trans fats are at increased risk of coronary heart disease because it raises the "bad" LDL cholesterol and reduces the "good" HDL cholesterol level in the blood.

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How much trans fat is safe to have in a day?

The American Heart Association advises limiting trans fat consumption to less than 1% of daily calories. This means that if you consume 2000 calories daily, then you should not take more than 2 gram trans fat (about 20 calories). But you may already eating more than this as the FDA allows to put "0 Trans-Fats" on the food label that contains less than 0.5 g of trans fat per serving.
It is therefore important to choose foods that have 0 trans fats and the least amount of saturated fat and that use healthy fats such as canola oil in the product.

Trans Fat Foods

What Foods are high in trans fat?

Trans fats are found naturally in dairy foods, lamb, beef and mutton. They are also found in many packed foods which use hydrogenated vegetable fats. Other trans fat foods are snacks, viz. cookies, cakes, fried foods, microwave popcorn, margarine, etc.

Always look for the words shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil on the food label, these are nothing but trans fats.

Following is a list of foods containing trans fat.

An American consumes on the average 40 percent trans fat of total trans fats consumed in cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, bread, etc. and 20 pecent of total trans fats consumed in fat.

  1. Margarine, Butter, Spreads: Margarine, butter and shortening are loaded with trans fats and saturated fats.
    Spread
    1 tablespoon
    Trans fat
    (g)
    Saturated Fat
    (g)
    Butter0.37.2
    Tub margarine0.61.2
    Soft Tub margarine0-0.51
    Stick margarine2.82.1
    Shortening4.23.4

    Soft variety of margarine or non-hydrogenated margarine contain no trans fat. Read the label.

    The butter contains very less trans fat than the tub margarine, but if you look at the total of saturated and trans fat, then butter seems to be worse than the margarine.

  2. Fast Food: Most foods like fries, pies, chicken dishes, pancakes have trans fats. A medium pack of French Fries contain 14.5 gram of trans fat, while a KFC Original chicken has 7 gram. KFC used to cook everything from chicken to potato wedges in trans fat hydrogenated oils. But it was supposed to replace the trans fat with a healthier soybean oil by April 2007.
    McDonald's New York City Metro restaurants claim that their French fries has 0 grams trans fat per serving and reduced saturated fats.
  3. Baked Goods, Cookies, Pastries and Cakes . These foods are loaded with trans fats and saturated fats. Even butter substitutes used in biscuits and cookies and for seasoning are mainly trans-fatty acids.
    Each slice of a pound cake has 4.3 gram of trans fat and 3.4 gram of saturated fat.
    Ready-made cack mixes often contain high levels of trans fats and artificial chemicals and preservatives.
  4. Soups: Although soups are thought to be healthy, it is not true for canned soups. Canned soup cups and noodles like Ramen noodles contain very high levels of trans fat.
  5. Salad dressings and dips Salad dressings are loaded with trans fats.
  6. Microwave Popcorn : 5 - 7 g of trans fat per half bag.

  7. Trans Fats in Indian Food

    The Indian Food available in restaurants are loaded with trans-fatty acids and saturated fats. They use vanaspati for cooking bhaturas, parathas, puri (poori) and tikkis.

    Indian Food
    100 g
              Trans Fat

    Bhatura           9.5%

    Paratha           7.8%

    Poori               7.6%

    Tikkis               7.5%

    Compare this with 4.2% - 6.1% trans-fatty acids in French fries. This means that the Indian food is worse than the Western foods. No wonder India has the highest number of diabetics.
    It is better to cook these items at home with vegetable oils that do not contain any trans-fatty acids.

References
1. Trans fat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat
2. Saturated and trans fats | The Heart Foundation






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