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Adverse Health Effects of Foods with Trans Fatty Acids: Healthy Alternatives to Trans Fats

Updated on July 28, 2014

Olive Oil is an Excellent Choice for nearly every Cooking

What are Trans Fats? Need for Healthy Alternatives for Trans Fats

Trans fats are derived by partly hydrating unsaturated fats. Trans fats are manufactured through a process of ‘partial hydrogenation’. During partial hydrogenation, the oil is turned from a liquid to a semi-solid. This process is carried out by eliminating some of the double bonds entirely, through hydration, and changing other double bonds to a trans formation with hydrogen on the opposite sides of the carbon double bond rather than the same side. Consequently, a solid fatty acid is generated that is more stable than before.

A host of clinical trials and researches have been conducted and they confirm that trans fats are extremely unhealthy and exert detrimental effects on our body. Trans fatty acids increase the levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL, and VLDL; and importantly they decrease HDL levels, thereby, increasing the risk of developing cardio-vascular disorders. The more solid is the fat, the more it will occlude the arteries.

Foods with Trans Fatty Acids

Here’s a list of foods that have trans fats in them; the following foods have the largest amount of trans fats and must be strictly avoided.

  1. Waffles, pizzas, frozen pies and fish sticks
  2. Doughnuts have shortening in the dough and are cooked in trans fats.
  3. Chips and Crackers.
  4. Potato chips
  5. Cream filled cookies and pound cakes
  6. Margarine: is packed with trans fats and saturated fats, these cause a lot of damage to the heart and vascular system and increase the peril of developing atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease and heart attacks.
  7. Cake mixes: cake mixes, as well as other mixes contain plenty of trans fat per helping.
  8. Fried foods: chips, chicken, fish and various other foods that are deep fried in hydrogenated oil are chockfull with trans fats.
  9. Sandwiches and pancakes: also have plenty of trans fat, from the margarine that is slathered on.

Why are Trans Fat Oils Bad?: Health Effects of Trans Fats

The consumption of trans fats is fraught with a lot of adverse effects on our health. There are several health implications of trans fats, some of these are:

  1. Trans fats increase the level of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the body. These are dubbed ‘bad cholesterol’.
  2. What’s more, trans fats diminish the level of HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol or ‘good cholesterol’. Consequently, excessive consumption of trans fats on a regular basis, increases the likelihood of developing atherosclerotic plaques within the arteries; over a period of time, the arteries get occluded and ischemia develops. Trans fats increases your risk of developing cardiac diseases and stroke.
  3. It is also linked to a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  4. Various studies published in Epidemological journals have indicated that high consumption of trans fats is linked with breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
  5. Trans fats also increase the risk of obesity. Excessive consumption can also be linked to a host of gastro-intestinal disorders.

Healthy Alternatives to Trans Fatty Acids: Saturated Fatty Acids

Trans Fatty acids are primarily used as cooking oils as they provide flavor and prevent food from turning rancid.

Using polyunsaturated fats are considered to be very beneficial for health and are a good alternative for trans fats. However, the primary concern of using polyunsaturated fats for frying food is oxidative damage and flavor stability. Food cooked in polyunsaturated fatty acids can turn rancid due to oxidative damage which tends to impact its shell life.

However, there are several vegatable oils that can be used for frying foods which include - palm, coconut oil, palm kernel, sunflower, cottonseed and soy oils.

live oil is a mono-saturated fat, and is easily the best option for you to choose. Replace other fats such as margarine and butter with at least two tablespoons of olive oil daily, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and you can keep heart troubles at bay.


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