Trans Fats: Risks and Avoidance
Trans fats, also known as trans-fatty acids, have gained a reputation as one of the most harmful types of fats in our diet. They are created by the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid oils into solid fats and gives them a longer shelf life. However, research has linked trans fats to a range of health problems, including:
- heart disease
In this blog, we will explore the risks of trans fats, how to identify them in your food, and provide tips on how to avoid them for better health.
What are Trans Fats and Why are They Harmful?
These are unsaturated fats that are chemically modified to become more solid and stable at room temperature. They are commonly found in processed foods like:
- fried foods
- baked goods
- snack foods
They are also used in many fast-food chains and restaurants.
The problem with trans fats is that they can raise levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease. Trans fats also contribute to inflammation and can lead to insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), consuming just 5 grams of trans fats per day can increase the risk of heart disease by 23 percent. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting trans-fat intake to less than 1 percent of total daily calories.
How to Identify Trans Fats in Your Food
It can be listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated oils” or “hydrogenated oils.” However, food manufacturers can list products as having 0 grams of trans fats if they contain less than 0.5 grams per serving.
To identify trans fats in your food, look for these ingredients in the ingredients list and avoid foods that contain them. Choose foods that are labeled as “trans-fat-free” or “no trans fats.”
How to Avoid Trans Fats
Eat a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods. Choose foods like:
- whole grains
- lean proteins
- healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado
When shopping for packaged foods, read the nutrition labels carefully and avoid products that contain partially hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated oils. Instead, look for products that are labeled as “trans-fat-free” or “no trans fats.”
When eating out, choose restaurants that use healthier cooking oils like olive oil, canola oil, or coconut oil. Avoid fried foods and opt for grilled, baked, or steamed options instead.
Click here to see the full scientific article from healthline.
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