Foods high in trans fats are high-calorie and pose a serious threat to the health of a person. Undoubtedly, these fats will surely and very slowly poison you, but are present in most foods in stores.
Trans- isomers of fatty acids are prepared by heating liquid vegetable oil to high temperatures, in the presence of hydrogen and catalysts. This is a process known as hydrogenation.
As a result of the chemical reaction vegetable fats are hardened, as seen in margarine. The more hydrogenated the oil is, the harder it is at room temperature.
Fats taken with food are of three types - saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are of animal origin and in their structure has no double bonds, so that at room temperature, they are solid.
Unsaturated fats contained in the oil and olive oil have double bonds in their molecules and are liquid at room temperature.
Dangers of trans fats
It is scientifically proven that trans fats are harmful to health. They increase the levels of bad cholesterol while lowering levels of good cholesterol in the blood.
This double negative effect between the two types of cholesterol is twice stronger than the effect you have from animal fats.
Foods with trans fats not only lead to weight gain, but also store fat in the abdominal area. Abdominal fat poses a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
When consuming trans fats more often, higher insulin resistance is observed, which is a prerequisite for the development of diabetes.
Trans fats cause so much strain the cardiovascular system, according to data from the Institute of Harvard, replacing them with liquid vegetable oils would prevent 30 000 deaths per year just in the United States.
Trans fats can cause blockage of blood vessels, diabetes, long-term increase in blood pressure and pose a serious risk of cardiovascular problems.
They are harmful even in small doses. Undoubtedly foods with trans fats are a serious problem in modern society, due to the illness and disease they cause.
Foods with trans fats
If trans fats are so dangerous, why are they present in so many foods? The answer is very simple - they enrich the taste and flavour of food, are cheaper and prolong shelf life. The main source of trans fats from processed foods is hydrogenated oil.
Trans fats naturally occur in meat and dairy products. The higher fat content of these products, the higher are the levels of trans fats.
Regulation of foods with trans fats
In some U.S. states the use of trans fats for cooking in restaurants is prohibited. The European Union recommends noting the contained trans fats in products and possible ban of artificial trans fats. When checking the label, and look not only for hydrogenated, but also for partially hydrogenated oils.
Trans fats are widely used because they are cheap and have high durability. There is no law that requires mandatory display of the exact weights of the contained trans fats on the information list. On the other hand, they often pass under the general designation of vegetable oils.
Artificial trans fats
Trans fats should be replaced with foods that are cooked in olive oil, sunflower, linseed and soybean oil. Olive oil is the most useful because it is rich in monounsaturated fat. Virgin olive oil has many health benefits.
Generally, your intake of processed and fried foods should be limited. The intake of animal fat should be reduced too.
According to the American Heart Association, the consumption of trans fats must be kept to less than 1% of total calorie intake for a day.