Today’s blog will be about trans fats – the deadly killer. Trans fats are found in lots of pre-packaged foods and margarines without the general public knowing about them and their effects. To say that these fats are harmful to our bodies would be a gross understatement. Read below and educate yourselves on how they are created and why they are on par with smoking…
Hydrogenation and trans fats
This refers to a process used within the food industry where quantities of unsaturated vegetable oils are manufactured into more solid fats like margarine.
The heating, catalysing and pumping of hydrogen into unsaturated oils results in the formation of saturated fatty acids, as the original double bonds are broken and replaced with single bonds once again full of hydrogen. The amount of hydrogen added during this process will determine the amount of saturated fatty acids in the end product. The consistency of the final product will also be determined by the degree of hydrogenation. Fully hydrogenated vegetable oil would result in a very hard waxy substance. Most hydrogenation is partial, leaving varying amounts of vegetable oil still containing unsaturated double bonds. Many of these double bonds however, will have been converted into trans fatty acids due to the actions of this intense and prolonged process. Trans fatty acids are detrimental to our health and warrant some explanation.
Consumption of hydrogenated fats is associated with a host of serious diseases, not only cancer but also diabetes, obesity, immune system dysfunction, low-birth-weight babies, birth defects, decreased visual acuity, sterility, difficulty in lactation and problems with bones and tendons.
Metabolic studies have shown that dietary trans fatty acids have adverse effects on blood lipid levels, promoting an increase in LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and a decrease in healthier HDL cholesterol, and that this effect is double that produced from the ingestion of saturated fat.
Based on available metabolic studies, one report estimated that approximately 30,000 premature coronary heart disease deaths annually could be attributed to the consumption of trans fatty acids.
Common foods which contain trans fats
- many margarines
- biscuits, cakes
- take away foods
- pies, pastries
- pre-prepared foods
- many ‘low fat’ processed foods.
Stay away from trans fats, they really are killers.