Thursday, December 8, 2011

How Trans Fat can affect your Heart

English: GOOD OIL logoImage via Wikipedia
We've heard for years that trans fats are bad for the heart.  But what are they and how do they cause heart disease?

This post will answer these questions.

What are trans fats?

Trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Another name for them is "partially hydrogenated oils." This is done for no other reason than to extend the shelf life of these products and maybe to make them taste better. (In other words, money and profits).  These bad fats that contribute to lowered elasticity of the blood vessels with plaque buildup and narrowing that decreases circulation putting us at risk for a number of diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, artherosclerosis arteriosclerosis and stroke.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than 1 percent of your total daily calories.  That means if you need 2,000 calories a day, no more than 20 of those calories should come from trans fats.

Foods that commonly contain trans fats are french fries, pizza dough, pastries, doughnuts and fast foods.

What is the link between trans fat and heart disease?

For decades, the medical community has been advising us that vegetable oils are better than saturated fats in prevention of heart disease.  Human trials have demonstrated that vegetable oils do not decrease cardiovascular disease. Instead, they have shown that vegetable oils may increase the risk of heart disease and might also increase the risk of cancer.

The truth and nothing but the truth

So, if you have been under the mistaken idea that health foods, like fish, that are high in omega-3 content, are good for you irregardless of frying, then think again.  Research has shown that the beneficial effects of these healthy fats are canceled out. Trans fats can actually interfere with how the body uses omega-3.

The bottom line is to limit the consumption of fried and fatty foods and pastries - we really knew this anyway.  Opt for healthy olive oil and natural herbs and seasonings.

"Banish these oils to safeguard your heart"
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