When on a diet, most people immediately think that they must cut out fat. The reasoning behind this is that “fat is what makes you fat”. Unfortunately it is a bit more complicated than that. On the one side the argument is true, but on the other side it is completely false. The reason for this is that there is not only one fat, but many different types. All of these fats affect the body on different ways, and they all play other roles.
For instance, there are fats that are really good for us – some might even say they are essential for our survival! These fats include things like essential fatty acids, which help in transporting fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E, A, and D throughout the body.
We also need fats to keep our skin healthy, and our bodies use fat as slow-burning fuel to moderate our blood-sugar levels.
What is trans-fat?
Trans-fats are unhealthy fats, and these should be avoided as far as possible. These are fats that appear on nutritional labels under names like “hydrogenated vegetable oil” and “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil”.
Hydrogenated vegetable oil is created through an industrial process which starts with liquid vegetable oil and adds hydrogen to it. The end product is solid at room temperature, and is used by commercial food manufacturers because it adds an appealing mouth feel to foods such as pie crusts and cookies. Better still, it’s shelf-stable. Unlike more natural fats, it does not turn bad when left unrefrigerated. Foods made with this also have a less greasy feel. This is good for marketing.
Why trans-fats are bad:
Studies have shown that trans-fats are bad, and they have been linked to heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes and systemic inflammation.
One study showed that African green monkeys who were fed trans-fats gained weight, and they gained that weight around their middles, even when their diets did not have excess calories. Another study also linked the consumption of trans-fats to type-2 diabetes.
The World’s Healthiest Foods website calls trans-fats “unnatural fats” and declares them “detrimental to your health.”
The bottom line is: trans-fats are bad. Do not eat them.
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