Ten Trans Fat Facts

Here are ten facts about trans-fat, the Darth Vader of  processed foods:

1. Trans fat is found in shortenings,  margarine, snacks such as crackers, candies, and cookies, fried foods, pastries and other  foods prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

2. Hydrogenation is the process of bombarding an oil’s fat molecules with hydrogen atoms, making it more dense and raising its melting point, so that the oil becomes solid at room temperature.  An unfortunate side effect of this the creation of trans fatty acids. Partially hydrogenated oil means that the hydrogenation process stopped short of a full solid, reaching a more creamy, semi-soft, butterlike consistency. This is the story of margarine.

3. Cis and trans are terms that refer to the arrangement of chains of carbon atoms in a fat molecule. hydrogenation turns cis  into trans.

4. Some margarine brands use fractionated oils instead of partially hydrogenated oils in order to eliminate trans-fat. The fractionation process involves heating then cooling a liquid oil, thus separating it to fractions that have different melting points. Unfortunately, this process raises the level of saturated fat in the oil.

5. Trans fat labeling on food packages has been mandatory since 2006.

6. Loophole alert: If a serving has less than o.5 grams of trans-fat, the label may state ZERO. Yes, that includes 0.49 grams in a serving size even a 2 year old would find ridiculously too small.

7. Trans-fat is an artificial creation, but there are some trace amounts of trans-fat found naturally in meat and dairy products, called vaccenic acid.

8. consumption of food containing trans-fat has unequivocally been shown to increase the risk of heart disease by raising levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), and lowering levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

9. In 2003, Denmark effectively banned trans-fat from foods, charting a course for an 80% reduction of trans-fat in all foods.

10. in 2008, California became the first state to ban restaurant chains from using  trans-fats for cooking or frying.

What to do at the supermarket:

Don’t trust the nutrition label stating zero trans-fat per serving. Take a look at the ingredient list to spot partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

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  • Jason Blake

    Thanks for the article highlighting this issue. Besides the fat content of butter and margarine, there is another problem that is very rarely highlighted and that is to do with the industrial production of fats used in products such as margarine. In order to extract the maximum amount of oils from the crushed seeds, chemical solvents are used. Then the solvents are removed afterwards but this involves using other chemicals and catalysts. A residue is normally still present in the extracted oil. Fortunately, with butter the process is largely natural, the main thing you have to worry about is what the cow was fed and injected with during its lifetime…

  • http://iateapie.net Tanya

    Great article that sums up trans fats. One correction: ‘Cis’ and trans do not refer to “the arrangement of chains of carbon atoms in a fat molecule.” They actually refer to the orientation of the hydrogen atoms around a double bonded (unsaturated) carbon atom in a fatty acid chain.

  • Tay

    Hey darth vader, how do you feel about trans fats?

  • Hsknza

    It’s especially easy to overdo saturated fat when you eat at fast food restaurants. Consider that the sausage, egg & cheese biscuit at Burger King contains 19 grams of saturated fat and 1 grams of trans fat, giving you 20 grams of “bad” fat. trans fats and health

  • Roobp57

    I think Australia also banned the use of hydrogenated oils, they found a link to blindness.

  • Roobp57

    I think Australia also banned the use of hydrogenated oils, they found a link to blindness.

  • Jay

    Who is the author..?

  • briana

    lol I need more facts about nutrition and proteins we have to write a two page thing about those stuff because w got in trouble help does anyone know another website
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