You’ve heard of “good” fats and “bad” fats, right?
How about the worst fat ever?
The worst fat you can possibly eat is a trans fat.
Why? Trans fats are associated with serious health issues. Studies show trans fats are associated with:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
- Increased inflammation in the body
- Increased “bad” cholesterol levels (low density lipoproteins or LDL)
- Decreased “good” cholesterol levels (high density lipoproteins or HDL)
Trans fats are manmade fats that wreck havoc on your body.
By simply reducing your intake of trans fats by 2%, you can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.
That is not a typo. A reduction of two percent leads to a decrease of almost one third.
Medically speaking, a 30% reduction in cardiovascular disease is HUGE. As in there are medications primarily used to reduce heart disease that do not have that large of an impact.
And a 2% decrease in trans fats? That is so tiny! And very achievable.
I’m going to tell you all about it and show you how to do it.
First, there are a few things you NEED to know.
1.) Trans fats hide in many foods.
Some sources of trans fats are more obvious.
- Many margarines
- Fried foods
- Store bought baked goods (unless made with real butter)
- Frozen pizzas
Trans fats, however, hide in foods you would not suspect.
- Conventional crackers
- Boxed cake and pancake mixes
- Premade frosting
- Frozen meals
- Non dairy creamer
- Conventional peanut butter
- Microwave popcorn in butter flavor
- Granola bars and snack bars
- Refrigerated (or premade) dough
2. Trans fats can go by different names.
Allow me to do some translation for you.
Partially hydrogenated = trans fat.
Trans fat = dangerous for your health.
Partially hydrogenated = dangerous for your health.
Think of partially hydrogenated as a fancier word for trans fat. It’s similar to calling an old, moldy, and dumpy apartment a “domicile with old world charm.” Either way you say it, it’s still bad news.
3.) Foods labeled with 0 grams of trans-fat can actually contain trans fats!
It’s true. The FDA allows foods that contain up to 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving to be labeled as having no trans fat. Pretty sneaky, huh?
The moral of this story? Don’t take the manufacturers word for it — check out trans fats details for yourself.
4.) You MUST check your food labels for trans fats and check ingredient lists for “partially hydrogenated” oils.
This is the only way to be confident the food you are buying does NOT contain trans fats.
Consider Ritz crackers, a very popular (and tasty) snack food.
The nutrition label says:
If you didn’t know any better, you would think Ritz crackers were free of trans fats.
But because you are a super savvy consumer, you know to search one step further.
You check the ingredients list and this is what you see:
Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Folic Acid), Soybean Oil, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Soy Lecithin, Malted Barley Flour, Natural Flavor.
Did you see that? Yep. Partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.
So Ritz crackers, do indeed, contain trans fats.
5.) You should entirely eliminate trans fats from your diet.
There are very few things I will say to completely eliminate. Trans fats are one of them.
Trans fats have no unique health benefits, but a host of serious health detriments.
So seriously do yourself (and your body) a HUGE favor by avoiding trans fats completely.
From Learning to Life
I truly love learning, especially about health and wellness.
But information without real, transformative action doesn’t do much good.
So I challenge you to take this learning and translate it into real life.
What can you do right now — today — to decrease your intake of trans fats?
Perhaps you decide to switch from nondairy creamer to almond milk or real cream. Or you ditch your conventional peanut butter. Perhaps you take it further and have a kitchen clean out and dump anything with trans fats (or partially hydrogenated oils).
No matter how big or small your change, you will be doing your health a favor! Remember, just a 2% reduction in trans fat intake means a 30% reduction in heart disease.
In health and happiness,