The American Heart Association (AHA) defines trans fat or trans fatty acids (also called partially hydrogenated oils) as vegetable oil that went through an industrial process to have hydrogen added to it to make it more solid or stay solid at room temperature. Trans fat, unsaturated fatty acids, has at least one double bond in the trans configuration and are formed during the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils. These hydrogenated oils are therefore laden with trans fat.
About Trans Fat
This industrial process to partially hydrogenate oils mainly extend the shelf life of the oils and ultimately the foods that contain it. It also provides a longer fry-life for the oils. This is more a benefit for the commercial food producer rather than the consumer. It is cheaper to produce trans fat on a daily basis than it is to use animal fat. Partially hydrogenated oils can found in bakery products, packaged snack food, margarine, and crackers.
Dangers of Trans Fat
The AHA indicates that trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels and lowers good cholesterol levels, as a result increase the risk of developing heart disease and stoke.
Even though scientific studies indicate that the consumption of partially hydrogenated oils and trans fatty acids are unsafe it is still being used in a number of foods. It is necessary for you to read the food labels before buying oils that were partially hydrogenated.
You can identify if a product has trans fat in it if the ingredients listing has the following words: "partially hydrogenated" or "shortening". Be wary of meals that have "low in trans fat". You could end up consuming more than 1.2 g of trans fat by having single serving of a burger, fries, and some ice cream for dessert. For this reason, many would want a ban of trans fat on commercial foods.
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