What substance could be so harmful that it causes all these health problems and yet is so prevalent in our food supply that most people are eating dangerous amounts every single day, without giving it a second thought? This substance can increase belly fat (visceral fat), and consuming even small amounts (2% of total energy intake) is consistently linked to heart disease.
This stuff can contribute to insulin resistance, increase risk of type 2 diabetes, increase bad cholesterol, decrease good cholesterol, trigger systemic inflammation and adversely affect almost every cell in your body. This industrially manufactured ingredient is called Trans fatty acids (TFA’s).
TFA’s come mostly from the industrial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, which alters the natural configuration of the oils. If you see “partially hydrogenated” oil in the ingredients list of any food product, then it contains TFA’s. TFA’s are not found in nature, its purely man made.
Trans fats promote inflammation which, again, can damage artery walls and result in abnormal plaque build up. Inflammation, in turn, can cause artery walls to rupture. This could result in massive blood clots that obstruct the flow of blood, causing either a heart attack or a stroke. It could also result in massive loss of blood through internal bleeding, leading to death.
If Trans fats are so dangerous, why is their use so widespread? Lets put it this way: “TFA’s are a food manufacturer’s dream: an unspoilable substance that lasts forever. Trans fats make oils more solid and extend their shelf life but they decrease yours. TFA’s are cheap and for countless food products, they can prolong shelf life, allow easy transport, provide solidity at room temperature (to make spreads), and increase suitability for commercial frying.
Ways to Avoid Trans Fatty Acids
Any diets consisting primarily of fruits, fibrous vegetables, root vegetables, beans, legumes, brown rice, unprocessed whole grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, and lean meats, are free of TFA’s.
If you don’t eat anything that comes in a box or package with a label, then you won’t ever consume man-made TFA’s.
Food companies manipulate their product labels to make you think their foods are TFA-free. The front of their package may say “ZERO grams of trans fats,” and yet there is hydrogenated oil listed in the ingredients. So watch for Ingredient label loopholes.
TFA’s are commonly found in baked goods (bakery), fried foods and packaged convenience foods.
Note: The primary source of TFA’s is partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. In particular, soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, and palm oils are frequently hydrogenated. Read food labels as a first step on any packaged products and look at the ingredients list. If it contains partially hydrogenated oils, be rest assured it contains TFA’s.
Last, but not least, be on guard for a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and for better long-term well-being for the sake of your health, avoid foods that contain TFA’s and ensure you treat it with all the same sensitivity as how you could treat POISION….