We all need fat in our diet on a daily basis. However, not all fats are created equal – there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Many people know that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the healthier variety, and that saturated fats should be avoided. But did you also know about trans-fats? Read on to learn more about this unhealthy fat:
What are trans-fats?
Trans fats are fats that have had hydrogen added to them in order to make them solid at room temperature and last longer. Many packaged foods, margarines, and vegetable shortenings contain trans fat. If you read the label and see “partially hydrogenated oil” you can be sure that you are eating these unhealthy fats.
Why are they bad?
Trans-fat has come under scrutiny lately because of its harmful effects on our health. These fats can raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, raising the risk of coronary heart disease. In some studies, trans fats have been shown to have an effect on learning and concentration in laboratory animals, as opposed to animals who were given foods containing other types of fat. Trans fat are as bad for you, if not worse than, the saturated variety and should be avoided at all costs. According to the Food and Drug Administration, as of 2006, all food manufacturers will be required to list “trans fat” on their nutrition labels.
How can I avoid them?
The best way to avoid trans fat is to eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods. Fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains are your healthiest choices. If the ingredients on a package list “partial hydrogenation”, avoid consuming them.