Trans fats – Double trouble for your heart!

Trans fat is considered by many doctors to be the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat ó also called trans-fatty acids ó both raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

What are Trans Fats?
Some meat and dairy products contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat. But most trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature.

This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. Some restaurants use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in their deep fryers, because it doesn’t have to be changed as often as do other oils.

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

Transfats (margarine or vanaspati) are a cheap substitute for healthy oils, ghee,and butter. Food industries prefer this to other fats because it is cheap, easily available, and increases the shelf life of their products. Most biscuit and fast food industries as well as road side eating places, restaurants, sweet shops and bakeries opt to use this cheap alternative.

Recent studies have proven that the use of trans fats in the diet increases the risk of obesity, angina, heart attacks strokes and sudden cardiac death. They increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduce the good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood.

Caution to women: Regular consumption of trans fats increases the risk of ovulatory infertility. They increase the risk of obesity which is a risk factor for breast cancer, gall bladder problems, and osteoarthritis. In women it doubles the risk of heart diseases.

Warning to parents: Children are not immune to the effects of trans fats. Children as young as 8 or 9 years have been found to have high cholesterol and early stages of clogged arteries. Use of pre-packed meals or packaged foods which are high in trans fats increases the risk.

How to avoid trans fats?
1. Eat more home cooked foods.
2. Use more vegetables and fruits in your diet to mitigate the harmful effects of trans fats.
3. Read food labels and nutrition fact labels.

References:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114

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