Trans Fats What are Trans Fats and why are they so bad for me?
Trans Fats are literally found in hundreds upon hundreds of foods that North American consumers buy on a daily basis. They are in breads, cereals, cakes, cookies, chips, crackers, ice creams, frozen dinners, dressings, sauces, and many more foods that you may not even know that you're regularly consuming.
Trans fats are man made fats. They are made by combining hydrogen with unsaturated fats like vegetable oils. Through hydrogenation these fats become solid at room temperature making them more desirable for cooking or baking and causing their shelf life to considerably lengthen. Not only can trans fats like margarine last a long time, but they have also been found to provide superior baking properties compared to lard.
Trans Fats have been consistently linked with coronary heart disease, diabetes, chronic inflammation, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, and a host of other medical conditions. There is nothing safe about eating Trans Fats at any time or in any amount. Not only will Trans Fats raise your LDL cholesterol but they also subsequently lower your HDL (good) cholesterol.
In 2013 the FDA recognized Trans Fats as being not generally recognized as safe which was expected to lead to a ban of trans fats from commercially manufactured foods found in the American diet. It was then confirmed by the FDA in 2015 that Trans Fats are not recognized as being safe and issued a three year time limit for the removal of all Trans Fats from processed foods.
This couldn't have been a better choice for the FDA to make! Keep in mind though that processed foods of all kinds do not benefit the body.
So what are some foods that contain hydrogenated oils/Trans Fats?
Foods that contain Trans Fats
- commercial breads
- fried foods
- ice cream
- delivery pizza
- salad dressings
- barbecue sauces
- frozen dinners
- microwave popcorn
- ground beef
The common theme in feeding your body in a way that will optimize health and your overall quality of life is to stop eating processed food. If the food you're eating can't be found in nature, it's simply not a good idea to put it in your body. Eating healthy is your #1 life insurance policy. You get to decide the quality of health you'll have.
Eating foods that don't contain any Trans Fats is totally possible and not hard to obtain, but it will take some discipline and educating yourself of the risks and benefits to whatever you put in your mouth. It takes a commitment on your part to read food labels and the decision to treat your body with the care and attention it deserves.
Strategies to help you eliminate Trans Fats from your diet
- Start to read food labels to see if the word "hydrogenated" is listed. Check the Trans Fats percentage value on the top of the food label that's listed along with the other fats contained in that food.
- Educate yourself on what you eat. Knowledge is power and I'm a firm believer in research. People perish for a lack of knowledge. Click here for a great article about Trans Fats by Dr. Mercola.
- Read the above list and start to get rid of these food items one by one. If you eat a lot of them, start slowly by removing one food per week.
- When you go out to eat, eat at high quality establishments that use butter, olive oil, or tallow. Remember, saturated fats do not harm you as we once thought they did so don't be afraid to consume them. Again, educate yourself!
How many processed food items do you eat in a day? In a week? In a month?