Natural trans fats have been part of a healthy diet in every era. These components are taken from ruminant animals and represent 2% to 5% of all the fat in dairy products and 3% to 9% of all the fat in beef and lamb. Artificial trans fats, often called industrial, are fats that appear after the food was specially processed to help it last longer on shelves and they're seriously harmful to your health.
We at Bright Side did some research about trans fats and decided to tell you why they are so bad. Read all the way to the end of the article to see an interesting bonus feature!
Natural trans fats
We think that all trans fats are very dangerous and they’re worth avoiding. But this isn’t true! Natural trans fats are less unhealthy than artificial ones and actually have some benefits! After some research was conducted, scientists can say that animal fat found in beef and dairy products can even reduce risk factors associated with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes!
So there’s no need to exclude trans fats totally from your ration, but it’s important to keep eating natural ones. Cookies and cake can be also healthy if you use the right recipes. For example, use butter instead of margarine. But remember about reasonable consumption!
Artificial trans fats
These are very harmful and dangerous for your body. So let’s talk about what damage they can do if you eat them on a regular basis.
1. The risk of heart disease
Studies prove that high trans fat intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes. It was actually calculated that the decrease in the consumption of trans fat between 1985 and 1995 could have led to a drop, by 23%, in coronary deaths! This is equal to approximately 4,600 out of 20,000 coronary deaths per year. It seems crazy, but something as simple as proper nutrition could save the lives of thousands of people each year.
2. The risk of vascular disease and cancer
When good fats were replaced by trans fats for just 4 weeks, good cholesterol was lowered by 21%. The ability of the arteries to dilate was also reduced by 29%. The risk of cancer is also possible, but for now this issue is still being studied.
3. The risk of diabetes
Studies on this issue are not complete yet, and a direct relationship has not been proven, but there was a huge analysis of over 80,000 women which found out that those who consumed the most trans fats had a 40% higher risk of diabetes. It's hard to not draw conclusions when you see results like this.
4. The risk of inflammation
And finally after all the tests and research, it has been proven that trans fats drive inflammation. Everyone has experienced inflammation of one kind or another and should be able to realize how our quality of life can be negatively affected by something like this.
5. The risk of gaining weight
Bad trans fats will always lead to weight gain! Even if you're eating the same amount of calories as you would with healthy foods, you will still gain weight. While it's very important to control your daily calorie intake, it's even more important to exclude trans fats from your diet. It will not only help to keep your body in shape, but it will also help to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
6. The risk of acid reflux
Bad trans fats can trigger acid reflux and make your condition worse. It’s important to consume healthy fats like avocados, walnuts, and olive oil. Take care of your stomach and it will thank you. Acid reflux diets always exclude bad fats.
How to avoid bad trans fats
It is very important to avoid trans fats, but in the modern world there are so many of them and sometimes they can hide in products that you wouldn't even suspect. Here are some solutions for how to keep your body healthy.
1. Avoid certain types of foods.
Avoid products like: frozen food, fried food, peanut butter, margarine, doughnuts, hamburgers, mayonnaise, and crackers. It's also better to avoid buying canned food, prepared food, or boxed food. And when you have a choice between butter and margarine, it's better to buy butter than margarine. Modern types of margarine contain a high amount of trans fats. Butter is a dairy product that is made by churning cream and margarine is a product that was invented to imitate butter.
2. Read product labels!
For food companies, trans fats are useful because products made with them have a longer shelf life. Very often these fats appear from the use of cheap palm oil.
It is always a good idea to check the nutrition facts on the labels of products that you buy. Just make it a habit and your body will thank you. Your food can contain natural fats, but the number of trans fats should be less than 0.1g per 100g or <0.1%.
3. Cook with fresh products and pack your own lunch.
Healthy nutrition is not that hard to accomplish. Just eat at places where you trust the ingredients and the way they cook. And the best solution is to cook your own food. Take a lunch box to the office, especially if you have a very busy schedule.
Did you know about trans fats and how they can influence your health? Write a comment below and share this article with your friends!
Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova for BrightSide.me