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Why you should attempt to avoid eating trans fat as much as possible

Why you should attempt to avoid eating trans fat as much as possible

There can be no two ways about it  - trans fat can have a highly detrimental effect on your health. To reinforce this statement, the Harvard School of Public Health pulled no punches when they said:

"By our most conservative estimate, replacement of partially hydrogenated fat in the U.S. diet with natural unhydrogenated vegetable oils would prevent approximately 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year, and epidemiologic evidence suggests this number is closer to 100,000 premature deaths annually." 

Indeed, trans fat is by far and away singled out by many health professionals as the worst kind of fat humans can eat. This is because, as opposed to other dietary fats, trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is commonly known as the 'bad' cholesterol. Additionally, trans fats (sometimes referred to as trans-fatty acids) decreases the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the body - the 'good' cholesterol.

Hence, levels of LDL that outweigh those of HDL are evidently bad news for our bodies - the risk of heart disease can increase profoundly. Indeed, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, with 43,946 deaths attributed to the illness in 2012. To put that number into greater context, heart disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes, and affects one in six of us at some point in our lives, according to the Heart Foundation. 

What exactly is trans fat?

Trans fats are an artificially created substance, made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. The oil then becomes solid at room temperature, which makes it an effective way of giving food products made with it a lengthier shelf life. There are also several naturally occurring trans fats, though these typically occur in smaller portions in products such as beef, lamb, mutton and veal.

Which foods contain trans fats?

Unfortunately, avoiding trans fats can sometimes be difficult, as they are present in a broad range of food stuffs. Baked foods, both sweet and savoury, are made with shortening, which typically contains the fats. Hence, cakes, biscuits, and pies pies are likely to be made with trans fats, as are crisps, tortilla chips and even certain popcorns.

Where trans fats really come to the fore, though, is with fried foods, especially those that are cooked in the deep-fat fryer. Hence, French fries, chicken nuggets, battered sausages and suchlike will all soak up the trans fats during cooking

How to cut out trans fats

Because trans fats are present in many foods, it can be tough to avoid them all the time, but there are certain things you can try. For starters, stay away from foods that feature hydrogenated oils in the ingredients. You can also select lean meat that has had all visible fat cut away, as well as going for dairy foods as low in fat as possible. Cutting down on fast foods - burgers, pizza and the like - will also reduce your trans fat intake.

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Why you should attempt to avoid eating trans fat as much as possible

There can be no two ways about it  - trans fat can have a highly detrimental effect on your health. To reinforce this statement, the Harvard School of Public Health pulled no punches when they said:

"By our most conservative estimate, replacement of partially hydrogenated fat in the U.S. diet with natural unhydrogenated vegetable oils would prevent approximately 30,000 premature coronary deaths per year, and epidemiologic evidence suggests this number is closer to 100,000 premature deaths annually." 

Indeed, trans fat is by far and away singled out by many health professionals as the worst kind of fat humans can eat. This is because, as opposed to other dietary fats, trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is commonly known as the 'bad' cholesterol. Additionally, trans fats (sometimes referred to as trans-fatty acids) decreases the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the body - the 'good' cholesterol.

Hence, levels of LDL that outweigh those of HDL are evidently bad news for our bodies - the risk of heart disease can increase profoundly. Indeed, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, with 43,946 deaths attributed to the illness in 2012. To put that number into greater context, heart disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes, and affects one in six of us at some point in our lives, according to the Heart Foundation. 

What exactly is trans fat?

Trans fats are an artificially created substance, made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. The oil then becomes solid at room temperature, which makes it an effective way of giving food products made with it a lengthier shelf life. There are also several naturally occurring trans fats, though these typically occur in smaller portions in products such as beef, lamb, mutton and veal.

Which foods contain trans fats?

Unfortunately, avoiding trans fats can sometimes be difficult, as they are present in a broad range of food stuffs. Baked foods, both sweet and savoury, are made with shortening, which typically contains the fats. Hence, cakes, biscuits, and pies pies are likely to be made with trans fats, as are crisps, tortilla chips and even certain popcorns.

Where trans fats really come to the fore, though, is with fried foods, especially those that are cooked in the deep-fat fryer. Hence, French fries, chicken nuggets, battered sausages and suchlike will all soak up the trans fats during cooking

How to cut out trans fats

Because trans fats are present in many foods, it can be tough to avoid them all the time, but there are certain things you can try. For starters, stay away from foods that feature hydrogenated oils in the ingredients. You can also select lean meat that has had all visible fat cut away, as well as going for dairy foods as low in fat as possible. Cutting down on fast foods - burgers, pizza and the like - will also reduce your trans fat intake.

Why you should attempt to avoid eating trans fat as much as possible
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