Trans fat, also known as trans fatty acid or partially hydrogenated oil, is primarily a man-made fat created through the process of hydrogenation. Hydrogenation adds a hydrogen atom to the fat molecule, which makes the fat easier to use in baking while extending its shelf life. Small amounts of trans fats occur naturally as well. Trace amounts of natural trans fat can be found in red meat and dairy products.
Trans fats have absolutely no health benefits, unlike some other fats such as olive or canola oils. Consuming trans fats greatly increases the risk of heart disease by affecting cholesterol. Trans fats are considered the worst food for cholesterol levels because it hits them with a double whammy. Not only does trans fat raise LDL, or bad, cholesterol, but it lowers good, HDL, cholesterol at the same time. In addition, studies have found that man-made partially hydrogenated oils cause more harm than naturally occurring trans fats.
In a 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, trans fats were found to have a strong connection to coronary heart disease. The study showed that on a calorie-for-calorie basis, trans fats are more responsible for heart disease than any other “nutrient.” Even a diet containing only 1% trans fats significantly affects health.
In addition to heart disease, trans fats have been linked to a number of other health problems:
• Alzheimer’s disease – A 2003 study in the Archives of Neurology show a link.
• Cancer – Initial findings show trans fats increase risk of prostate and breast cancer.
• Obesity – Trans fats cause weight gain and an increase in abdominal fat.
• Liver disease – Metabolizing trans fats interferes with regular enzyme functions.
• Infertility – Trans fats increase the risk of infertility in women.
Posted 3489 day ago