Why you must avoid transfat

Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health

Trans fats are the worst for your cholesterol. They increase small particles LDL and lower large HDL. They also increase inflammation, which can trigger:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Other chronic conditions.

Even small amounts of trans fat in the diet can have harmful health effects, the risk of coronary heart disease increases. Eliminating trans fats from your diet should be a priority.

Trans fat is considered by nutritionists to be the worst fat.

A high LDL  in combination with a low HDL  increases your risk of heart disease, one of the killer of men and women. Here’s some informations about trans fat and how to avoid it.

What is trans fat?

Trans fat comes from adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats are more solid than oil is, making them less likely to spoil. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.

Trans fat in your food

 

  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Protein bars
  • Doughnuts
  • Fries foods 
  • Margarine

Be aware of what nutritional labels really mean when it comes to trans fat. For example, in the United States if a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the food label can read 0 grams trans fat. Though that’s a small amount of trans fat, if you eat multiple servings of foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, you could exceed recommended limits.

Reading food labels

How do you know when food contains trans fat? Look for the words partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. That’s another term for trans fat. The word shortening also means that it may contain some trans fat.

Although small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, it’s the trans fats in processed foods that seem to be more harmful.

Doctors and nutritionists worry about trans fat because of its unhealthy effect on your cholesterol levels — increasing your small particles LDL and decreasing your large HDL cholesterol. There are two main types of cholesterol:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a molecule that transports the “bad” cholesterol. It’s bad because it tends to get stuck in arteries and cause blockages.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries the “good” cholesterol, which mops up bad cholesterol and takes it to the liver for disposal.

LDL and HDL particles come in various sizes. The bigger the better. Small-particle LDL raises a person’s risk of having a heart attack by a factor of three, possibly because the diminutive particles are much more likely to work their way into the arterial wall. They also oxidize more readily than larger LDL particles. This tendency magnifies their plaque-forming potential. Having small LDL (so-called pattern B) is by far the worse condition , a good reason why transfat should be totally eliminated from your diet.

Other effects of trans fat

Doctors are most concerned about the effect of trans fat on cholesterol. However, trans fat has also been shown to have some other harmful effects:

  • Increases triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. A high triglyceride level may contribute to atherosclerosis or thickening of the artery walls.
  • Increases Lp(a) lipoprotein. Lp(a) is a type of LDL cholesterol found in your blood, depending on your genetic makeup. It’s unclear how high levels of Lp(a) — independent of other cholesterol levels — increase your risk of heart disease.
  • Causes more inflammation. Trans fat may increase inflammation. It plays a key role in the formation of fatty blockages in heart blood vessels. Trans fat appears to damage the cells lining blood vessels, leading to inflammation.

Avoiding trans fat

Be aware that some restaurants use trans fat. Trans fat is sometimes a part of the oil restaurants use to fry food. A large serving of french fries at some restaurants can contain 5 grams or more of trans fat.

Some restaurants put nutritional information on their menus, but most aren’t required to list trans fat content.

There’s no question you should limit trans fat, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association (AHA).

What should you eat?

Don’t think a trans fat-free food is automatically good for you. Food manufacturers have begun substituting other ingredients for trans fat. However, some of these ingredients, such as refined vegetable oil (Omega 6) are pro-inflammatory and carcinogenic.

In a healthy diet, 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories can come from good fat.

Read my article about good fat versus bad fat. 

Monounsaturated fat — found in olive, is a healthier option. Nuts, fish, flax and chia seeds containing omega-3 fatty acids are other good choices of good fats.

A good lifestyle personal trainer/nutrition consultant will educate you on this topic,

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