What are “Trans Fats” anyway? Why are they so harmful? Here’s the ultra wordy, scientific, complicated definition from the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Industrial trans fatty acids are unnatural fat molecules formed by a process called partial hydrogenation. In the partial hydrogenation process, heated liquid oils are flooded with hydrogen gas in the presence of a nickel catalyst. This process causes a rearrangement of the hydrogen atoms in the fat molecule, moving one or more hydrogen atoms across to the other side of the molecule (trans means across), causing the polyunsaturated fat molecule, which is normally bent or wavy, to straighten out into a straight molecule.
Here’s my definition:
If Shakespeare was alive today and in one of his twisted plots get the villain to poison the hero, he’d use trans fats in the poisonous concoction (that way he could ensure a slow death full of chronic diseases).
Essentially, when eaten, the body doesn’t recognize these fats and they therefore cause havoc. They are chemically altered, unnatural and unusable which makes them damaging. They’ll promote fat storage and they’re linked to Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.
If that wasn’t enough, here’s some more bad news:
In 1994, the Harvard School of Public Health estimated that at least thirty thousand people die each year of coronary heart disease as a result of eating hydrogenated fats. For each 2 percent increase in calories from trans fats, a woman’s coronary risk escalates by 93 percent.
As an individual, as a community and as society, we have to get away from these foods. The problem is that despite efforts by governments and health organizations, Big Food is Big Business and they can get away with pretty much anything. Hydrogenation and trans fats are cheap, extend shelf life and give processed foods a texture that hits humanities weak spots. So this is way the laws around trans fats can stay lax, the companies who profit immensely from the production of vegetable oil stay deceptive and companies profits go up but it’s we the shoppers, eaters and consumers that end up suffering the consequences of ill health.
Here’s the good news:
You can cut most, if not all, of these junky foods containing the dreaded Trans Fats. The yellow devils, as I like to call them,, can be spotted and actions can be taken to avoid them and protect your health.
Read part 2 of this post here.