Industrial — Not Natural — Trans Fats Cause Heart Disease

Industrial — Not Natural — Trans Fats Cause Heart Disease

Trans fats are made industrially by “hydrogenating” vegetable oil in a process that involves bombarding it with hydrogen gas. This transforms the liquid unsaturated fats into solid or nearly solid saturated and trans fats.

The most common sources of trans fats include cakes, pies, frosting, creamy fillings, fried foods and cookies and biscuits made with shortening or margarine.

Oils that are “fully hydrogenated” become indistinguishable from saturated fats, and are treated as saturated fats by the body.

However, trans fats — at least the ones made from vegetable oils — are foreign to the body and contribute to atherosclerosis and heart disease (16Trusted Source).

A 39-month study of atherosclerosis in the heart arteries of 50 men showed the disease worsened faster in men who consumed more trans fats (17Trusted Source).

This increase in atherosclerosis increases the risk of heart attack. A study examined 209 people who had recently experienced heart attacks and found they had higher levels of trans fats in their fat cells compared to 179 adults who had not had heart attacks (18Trusted Source).

In the US, food labels are now required to list the amount of trans fats per serving. Unfortunately, companies are allowed to round down to zero if the amount per serving is less than 0.5 grams.

This is especially troublesome given that the serving size is not regulated, and companies may manipulate the serving size to be less than you would typically eat at one time in order to claim “0 grams trans fat per serving.”

To avoid this trap, take a look at the ingredients. If they list “partially hydrogenated,” then the food contains trans fats and should be used very sparingly.

While industrial or artificial trans fats are clearly harmful, dairy products and meat contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats. These natural trans fats are not associated with heart disease and may actually be beneficial (19Trusted Source).

 

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