health care providers consider transfat to be the worst type
of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, transfat, also
called transfatty acids, raises your low-density lipoprotein
or LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lowers your
high-density lipoprotetin or HDL ("good")
laden with transfat increases your risk of heart disease, the
leading killer of men and women. Here’s some information
about transfat and how to avoid it.
meat and dairy products contain small amounts of naturally
occurring transfat. But most transfat is formed through an
industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which
causes the oil to become solid at room temperature.
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 other
IN YOUR FOOD
manufactured form of trans fat, known as partially
hydrogenated oil, is found in various food products,
cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening,
which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable
oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of transfat.
corn and tortilla chips often contain transfat. And, while
popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or
microwave popcorn use transfat to cook or flavor the popcorn.
that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried
chicken — can contain transfat from the oil used in the
such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain
transfat, as do frozen pizza crusts.
coffee creamer and stick margarines also may contain partially
hydrogenated vegetable oils.
U.S., if a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in a
serving, the food label can read 0 grams transfat. This hidden
transfat can add up quickly, especially if you eat several
servings of multiple foods containing less than 0.5 grams per
check the food label for transfat, also check the food’s
ingredient list for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. This
indicates that the food contains some transfat, even if the
amount is below 0.5 grams. Eating several portions of foods
containing some transfat may boost your total intake of
transfat to a level high enough to affect your health.
SHOULD YOU GO?
particularly the manufactured variety found in partially
hydrogenated vegetable oil, appears to have no known health
benefit. Experts recommend keeping your intake of transfat as
low as possible.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
has determined that partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is no
longer "generally recognized as safe" and should be
phased out of the production of food over the next several
years. However, naturally occurring transfats still will be
found in some foods.
TRANSFAT HARMS YOU
care providers worry about transfat because it increases the
risk for heart attacks, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Transfat
also has an unhealthy effect on your cholesterol levels —
increasing your LDL and decreasing your HDL cholesterol. If
the fatty deposits within your arteries tear or rupture, a
blood clot may form and block blood flow to a part of your
heart, causing a heart attack, or to a part of your brain,
causing a stroke.
SHOULD YOU EAT?
free of transfats aren’t automatically good for you. Food
manufacturers may have substituted other ingredients for
transfat that may not be healthy either. Some of these
ingredients, coconut, palm kernel and palm oils — contain a
lot of saturated fat.
fat raises your total cholesterol. In a healthy diet, 20 to 35
percent of your total daily calories can come from fat — but
saturated fat should account for less than 10 percent of your
total daily calories.
fat, which is found in olive, peanut and canola oils, is a
healthier option than saturated fat. Nuts, fish and other
foods containing unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are other
good choices of foods with healthy fats.