What is Trans Fat?
Trans fats aren’t natural; they are created in the food production process when liquid oils are converted to solid fat in a process called hydrogenation.
There are two bad-fat guys and two good-fat guys in the lineup. The bad-fat guys are trans fats and saturated fats…but you already knew that since they’ve been in the news big time for several years now. They are definitely not “essential nutrients“.
Food companies have been required to list trans fats on food labels since 2006. Trans fat is bad because it increases our bad cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL), and reduces our good cholesterol, high density lipoproteins (HDL).Both conditions increase our risk for heart diseases.
The food companies thought this was a swell idea since it let them keep their foods on the grocery shelves longer without spoiling. The doctors liked it too since it kept a steady stream of heart patients coming to their waiting rooms.
The pharmaceutical companies loved it since they were able to sell tons of cholesterol lowering drugs. Who needs an essential nutrient when there’s always a drug to mask the symptoms of a dietary fat problem?
For our own protection, it is strongly recommended that we keep our consumption of trans fats as low as possible,avoiding them entirely if we can. The bad news is that trans fats usually show up as dietary fat in all the essential stuff like cookies, doughnuts and pies from the supermarket and deep fried junk from the restaurants.
The other dietary fat bad guy in the lineup is Saturated fat. It’s that white stuff floating on the top of that can of beef stew you just opened and the white stuff on the gravy from your leftover Sunday pot roast.
In general, it’s the solid dietary fat in our diet and comes from highly marbled cuts of beef, high-fat cheese, whole milk and real cream, butter, ice cream and some oils, like palm and coconut oils.
The oils show up a lot in commercially prepared pastries such as cookies, cakes, pies and are also in shortenings used for baking. So chances are, we take in a lot stealthy saturated fat…it’s in the food, we just don’t see it.
Excessive consumption of saturated fats have been linked to coronary heart disease as well as several other chronic conditions. Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Michael Roizen, M.D. in their book, YOU, The Owners Manual, say that we should keep our input of saturated and trans fats to 20 grams or less per day. So why didn’t they say zero grams?
Is saturated fat bad?
The fact is that we need it, just not in excessive amounts. According to another medical practitioner, Dr. Mercola, “saturated fats provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances, without which your body cannot function optimally.
They also act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.
In fact, saturated is the preferred fuel for your heart!”