Nutrition is a division of science that is known for a lot of disagreements, debate and difference in opinions. But one common fact that all doctors and nutritionists agree to is the harmful and downright toxic effects of Trans fats on the human health. It’s a matter of great relief that the consumption of this particular toxic fat has reduced to a minimal over the recent years, all thanks to the extensive research on this subject and adoption of the following results by the masses. But, to be precise, directly or indirectly, trans fats is still finding its way into the morning plate. The motive of writing this article is to simply highlight the ill effects of consuming Trans fats followed by how to avoid the same while you are shopping for groceries.
A brief definition of Trans Fats
Trans fatty acids or simply trans fats is a derivative of unsaturated fat. This is an artificial form of fat that is factory made and could be rarely found in nature. Trans fats are formed when vegetable oils are heated and hydrogen gas is made to pass through it. This in turn raises the melting point of the oil and therefore the oil starts to become viscous and ultimately turns solid.
Trans Fats and Heart Disease Risk
Various clinical trials have been carried out in the recent years where volunteers were fed trans fats instead of carbohydrates and other healthy fats. Health risk factors that involved cardiovascular diseases, ailments of the circulatory system as well as carcinogenic properties of trans fats were the principle evaluation sectors that were stressed upon. After the trials, it was seen that there was a significant increase of LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol and reduced HDL or the ‘good’ cholesterol. In most of the cases, consumption of any form of fat tends to increase both the HDL and LDL form of cholesterols in the blood, but trans fats are an exception. Moreover, replacing carbohydrates with food items containing trans fats negatively impacts lipoproteins that on the long term can lead to heart attacks, blocked arteries and diseases of the circulatory system.
How to Avoid Trans Fats?
‘READ THE LABELS’, a simple yet effective way to avoid Trans fats if you are a lover of food items from the local grocery store. Avoid food items that has ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ ingredients printed on the product label. To be fair, this won’t be enough, as the best alternative is to avoid processed food items altogether.Opting for real dairy products like butter, cheese instead of margarine and coconut or olive oil for your salads instead of vegetable oils is the best alternative. Another effective way is to take some time out from your daily schedule and choose to cook your own food at home.
Natural trans fats from animal products such as steak, pork etc are safe if taken in a limited amount, but no matter how small amount of artificially prepared trans fats such as margarine, or hydrogenated vegetable oils you consume, it is really bad for your overall health and heart. If an individual continues to include artificial trans fats in her/his diet, inflammation of the heart and arteries, resistance to insulin in case he or she is a diabetic and heart failure risks are unavoidable. Even though people these days are avoiding this harmful substance altogether, many ‘trans fats’ free products still available in the market contains the objectionable amounts of this harmful substance in them. The message one should take away from this article is that it is best to opt for home cooked meals instead of fast or junk food items from the neighbourhood diner.