You’ve probably heard that trans fats are bad for you. But what exactly are they and can you remove them from your diet? If you’re after a lean physique, you need to know.*
The Types of Fat
Fat is good for you. You need it for all sorts of body functions. We need it for vitamin absorption, and for healthy skin and for hair. Fat also fills your fat cells and protect your body to help keep you warm. In a typical woman’s daily diet of 1800 calories, between 360 and 630 calories should come from fat. That will give you the required amount of between 40-70 grams of fat per day.
Of course, you also need to eat the right types of fat.
There are three types of fat which you need to know about . . .
Trans fats are artificially created by pumping hydrogen into liquid oil. Margarine is an example of liquid oil that has hydrogenated oils added to it, making it a trans fat. So do French fries. The potato, of course, does not contain trans fats. However, when they are fried in hydrogenated oils, they become soaked with them. That’s why you should only eat fries that are cooked in non-hydrogenated oils.
Unsaturated fats are extremely good for us. Things like olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado, and nuts are all good things to have in your diet. You can have 40-70 grams of unsaturated fats in your diet each day.
Saturated fat is not good for the heart. Examples are butter and cheese. You should consume saturated fat in moderation, with it making up around 7% of your diet. That’s about 14 grams for the average person, which equates to two tablespoons of butter or two slices of cheese.
The Problem with These Fats
From the above, we can see that trans fats are not natural fats. They are man-made. When they get into your system they will alter your biochemistry. Ultimately this will change your metabolism. This can lead to diabetes resulting from obesity.
Trans fats will also lower your good (HDL) cholesterol and raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol. It also causes heart attacks and strokes. Trans fats even cause dementia and cancer.
Over the years, we have lowered our intake of trans fats due to more stringent requirements around food labeling. But you still need to be careful. As an example, the label for whipped topping says zero trans fats on the label. However, when you read further, you learn that it contains water and partly hydrogenated fat. And that is exactly what a trans fat is.
They can get away with this because you can have less than half a gram of trans fats per serving, and have it say ‘zero’ trans fats on the label. But trans fats are so bad for you that even half a gram per serving is bad news.
Trans fats can be found in such common foods as microwave popcorn, cookies, donuts, and fried foods.
The Secret to Avoiding “Bad” Fats
The first secret is to always read the label. The second is to be on the lookout for the word ‘hydrogenated’. You do not want that word on the label. Doing this one simple thing will upgrade your diet, improving the quality of the food you eat.
You will feel a whole lot better and you will be much healthier for removing trans fats from your diet.