You have probably heard that trans fats are harmful to your health, but how much do you really know about what they really do and how you can avoid them?
Trans fat is an unnaturally produced type of fat
It is created when hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils are combined. Trans fat is used in the food industry because it has a higher melting point and longer shelf life.
Because these trans fats are created through an artificial process, the human body is unable to process them.
Consuming food products that contain trans fats can lead to many health problems including coronary heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Check food labels
When doing your shopping, check the labels of everything you buy and avoid anything that is labelled “partially hydrogenated” or which contains hydrogenated oils.
Try to purchase items labelled zero trans fats
You should also avoid prepackaged snacks and foods with an unnaturally long shelf life.
Think about things you make at home like cookies, donuts, or bread. How long would you keep these things before they go bad? Not more than a few days at the most.
So if these same things you buy from the store have a shelf life of weeks or months, then you can be sure that they are full of trans fats and preservatives.
Try to eat fresh foods, and prepare them at home as much as possible
For example, instead of buying a cake mix at the store, it would be better to buy the ingredients separately.
If you often eat outside of the home, it can be harder to completely avoid trans fats. But there are some ways to minimize their intake. When eating out, you can avoid certain foods that are fairly likely to contain high levels of trans fats.
Foods with a high trans fat content
Foods to avoid include deep fried foods like French fries, fried chicken, donuts, and extra toppings like bacon, mayonnaise, or cheese. (At most fast food restaurants the cheese is highly processed.)
If you have to eat out, when you are at work, or on the go, try to choose healthier meal options like fresh salads, steamed vegetables, whole-wheat sandwiches, and soups.
Trans fats are so deadly that certain countries and states have banned manufacturers from using them
Denmark became the first country to do this in 2003. California was the first state in the U.S. to ban trans fats from restaurant food. Other states including New York, Florida, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, have also banned trans fats from restaurants and schools.