Trans Fats

Trans Fats

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Studies show that the more trans fat a person consumes, the faster the cardiovascular system ages. In one study of more than eighty-five thousand participants, women who consumed more than four teaspoons of margarine a day had a 70 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those who rarely consumed margarine at all. That makes those fifty-five-year-old women 2.7 years older than if they used olive oil. Some researchers have attributed as many as 50,000 deaths a year to trans fat consumption.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    To hydrogenate fat or make trans fat, food manufacturers forcibly unpair the carbon double bonds in a polyunsaturated fat and force them to bond with hydrogen atoms. This means they're taking a very unstable fat and artificially making it more stable. In a partially hydrogenated fatty acid, only some carbon molecules have been saturated with hydrogen and carbon-pair bonds remain. In a fully hydrogenated fatty acid, all carbon double bonds have been replaced with hydrogen bonds. This process creates what I call a "Franken-fat," a fat that does not exist in nature and is totally unrecognizable, unusable, and actually quite damaging to the body.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Trans fatty acids are unhealthy processed fats found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and shortening. Partially hydrogenated oils are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated vegetable oils that have been chemically altered to be made more solid or semi-solid at room temperature.
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    Trans fats are similar in structure to saturated fats, and they also raise levels of total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol. Trans fats may also raise blood triglycerides and lower high density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of

    Trans fats are one type of fatty acid formed during the processing of partial hydrogenation. They are found naturally in some foods but mostly from foods that are partially hydrogenated. Trans fats act like saturated fat in the body and tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fats trigger the liver to make more total and LDL (lousy cholesterol) cholesterol.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    You can figure out if a food contains trans fat by doing a little detective work. On the information label, find the total fat content. Then, subtract the saturated fat and the mono and polyunsaturated fats. This leaves the trans fat. So, for example, if chocolate chip cookies have 12 grams of fat per serving and the label lists 4 grams of saturated fat, the cookies also have 8 grams of artery-aging trans fat.

    Another way to tell is to look at the list of ingredients. A food label must list the ingredients in order of quantity, from most to least. If hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are listed early on the list and before polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, you know the product contains lots of trans fat. If the label lists unsaturated or monounsaturated oils, olive oil, or canola oil first, the fats are probably okay. Some experts contend that trans fats make up 25 to 60 percent of all fats contained in processed food, and 15 to 30 percent of the total intake of dietary fat. Others disagree, saying the numbers are much lower.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Health news seems to be full of gloom and doom much of the time, so brace yourself for some good tidings: Americans cut their intake of deadly trans fat by an incredible 58% between 2000 and 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trans fat is the type found in partially hydrogenated oils, which are used to prepare all kinds of fast foods (like French fries and fried fish) and packaged desserts and snacks, among other foods. These oils provide a nice texture and extend shelf life, but they have another rather unfortunate quality: They plug up your arteries like a cork in a bottle of Chardonnay, making you more likely to develop heart disease.

    Growing awareness about the trans fat threat has led communities across the United States to pass laws prohibiting the use of partially hydrogenated oil. Some food companies and restaurants have stopped using them simply because it's good public policy and doesn't hurt relations to let you know they care about you. Many fellow consumers are reading ingredients lists and avoiding foods that contain the evil oils. Whatever the reason these very bad fats are disappearing,  preventing thousands of heart attacks each year.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    There's preliminary evidence that trans fatty acids, found in partially hydrogenated fats and oils, may contribute to belly fat. In animal studies, including some in primates (monkeys), diets rich in trans fats led to more belly fat, even when calories didn't go up. The high-trans-fat diet also increased insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may contribute to obesity. There are no magic bullets in weight loss, but choosing foods that contain no trans fats may be good not only for your heart but for weight control.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that trans fat was a contributing factor to coronary heart disease. If a product says it contains few or zero grams of trans fat, look at the nutrition label. Often it will be loaded with saturated fat, which can be just as unhealthful as trans fat. Example: One popular frozen snack makes the "zero trans fat" claim on the front of the label, but the nutrition facts panel shows it has 17 grams of saturated fat, 80 percent of the daily value of fat a person should consume.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    A recent Spanish study looked at more than 12,000 people. It revealed a 48% increase in rates of depression in people who had higher levels of trans fats in their blood. It seems these unhealthy fats can increase inflammation in the brain, creating unhealthy blood vessels and poor circulation in the brain -- both of which can contribute to mood problems. Since brain tissue is made mostly of fat, it makes sense that better-quality fat makes a better brain. In light of this research, the years of hydrogenated peanut butter and trans-fatty snack foods may be coming to a mood-lifting close.