What are Trans Fats?

   Do you find yourself becoming confused with all the talk about trans fats content, saturated fats, mono unsaturated fats, trans fats and unsaturated fats?

   Just what do these terms mean and how do they effect our health?

   We all need a certain amount of fat in our diets to maintain energy. But it is the amount of fats and the types of fats that affect our health. So let's take a look at the different types of fat found in our foods today.

  First, we'll look at unsaturated fats.
  These are the fats that are liquid at room temperature. There are two categories - mono unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

  Mono unsaturated fats are found in canola oil, peanut oil and olive oil.

Trans Fats  Explained

Trans Fats -

Trans Fats - How
        are they Used ?

Trans Fats  - Oil

Trans Fats
      and Your Health



   These fats help to lower your LDL cholesterol, while they raise your HDL cholesterol. This is good for your body.

Healthy Fish and Asparagus

   The next category is polyunsaturated fats. These are found in corn oil, sunflower oils and fish. This type of fat will lower both your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.

   The next type of fats is the saturated fats. These are the fats that are solid at room temperature. This type of fat is the unhealthiest fat because it raises your level of LDL which is responsible for producing plaque that will eventually narrow or clog your arteries. This type of fat is found in animal fats and some vegetable oils.

   The third type of fats is trans fat. This is a man-made fat that is created by injecting hydrogen into an oil until it is partially solidified. This method allows the food to have a longer shelf life because it delays spoilage. It also will raise your LDL levels and lower your HDL levels. That is the exact opposite of what you want to occur in your body.

   Trans fat was discovered in the 1940's and was found to make food tastier and to make margarine spread easier. It was also a lot cheaper than using natural fats in the manufacturing process. Since the trans fats also prolonged the shelf life of foods, it seemed like a great discovery.

   But now scientists know differently. Trans fats will put you at a high risk for heart disease by raising the cholesterol that causes plaque to form in your arteries. Over time, this plaque will narrow your arteries resulting in decreased blood flow to your heart. This can result in episodes of chest pain or other heart related diseases. If a piece of the plaque breaks free it can cause a blockage in the artery which, depending on the location, can cause a heart attack or a stroke.


   You need to check the labels on the foods that you purchase thoroughly. Check the trans fat content and try to purchase food that have very little or no trans fat. According to the American Heart Association, trans fat should make up less than 1% of your total daily calories. Try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats also.

   The good news is that food manufacturer's and restaurants are working to remove trans fats from their products. Search the food labels for trans fat content information, and ask what type of oil your favorite restaurant uses when cooking.

   Making these simple changes to your trans fat intake can improve your health and maybe extend your life.

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