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trans fat information and articles:

what are trans fats?

all about fats

trans fat labeling

learn how to read labels for trans fats

what is hydrogenation?

flax seed oil

the dangers of trans fats

healthy low fat snacks

healthy pie crust

all about extra virgin olive oil

trans fats in unexpected places

soybean oil

interesterified fat

 

 


 

 

what are trans fats

Trans fats are a group of fats that, like saturated fats, cause an increase in dangerous LDL cholesterol and raise the potential for heart disease. Trans fats are found in many of the processed foods on the market. The dangers of trans fats, which are also called trans fatty acids, have only become apparent in recent years and government agencies, food manufacturers and consumers are all reacting to the news.

The makeup of trans fats

Chemically, trans fats appear like unsaturated fats the fats that are healthiest for the human body. However, once trans fats are consumed, they act very much like saturated fats. Saturated fats and trans fats both increase the amount of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood. An increase in LDL cholesterol can in turn increase an individual's risk of heart disease.

So, how are trans fats made?

Trans fats are produced naturally in some dairy foods and beef, but they are only present in these foods in very small amounts. Most trans fats are found in partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils. The process of hydrogenation removes some of the essential fatty acids of oil and changes the way it reacts.

Why are oils hydrogenated?

The process of hydrogenation is used to extend the life of fats and oils in food products. Partial hydrogenation makes oil solid; it converts oil into products like vegetable shortening and margarine.  In the process, the more healthful polyunsaturated fatty acids are removed. These healthy fats have shorter shelf lives and are not as durable when exposed to high temperatures such as those encountered during deep fat frying.

 The human body does not need trans fats. Nutritionally, they do nothing for us and can be entirely replaced by healthy fats and oils in the human diet. The use of products containing trans fatty acids has been entirely driven by food manufacturers due to the longevity of these fats for use in processed food products.

 

   

   
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