While the majority of substances with the word “fat” in them are not so great for you, this is especially true for trans fats. While you're probably already aware that trans fats can be detrimental to your health, now the FDA has decided to remove all partially hydrogenated oils—trans fats—from all foods by 2018. Let's take a look at what trans fats are, why they're bad for you and how to cut them from your diet until they are removed from the food industry.
What Trans Fats Are
Trans fats, or trans fatty acids, are naturally found in meat products in small doses, and they are also added during processing of many foods. Trans fats can give food a longer shelf life and help maintain freshness, and they are created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. These created forms of trans fats are called partially hydrogenated oils, and they are the specific type of trans fats that the FDA is outlawing. Found in many fried foods and baked goods like pies, pizza, French fries, etc., partially hydrogenated oils are also sometimes used as cooking oil in in fryers because they last longer than other oils and don't have to be changed often. While trans fats can also provide flavoring for foods, in general, the negatives outweigh the positives.
According to a recent study, consuming trans fats may increase the risk of developing memory loss. The specifics of the study indicated that men aged 45 and younger who consumed high amounts of trans fats remembered fewer words during a word recall test than men of the same age who did not consume trans fats. In addition to memory problems, trans fats are well known for raising LDL cholesterol (“bad”) and lowering HDL cholesterol (“good”). High levels of LDL cholesterol and dwindling levels of HDL cholesterol can contribute to heart disease and also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, both contributors to a higher risk of early death.
The FDA's Recent Decision
By June 2018, all foods will be required to have partially hydrogenated oils removed from them, as ordered by the FDA. The FDA determined that partially hydrogenated oils should no longer be considered safe for human consumption due to the role they play in the development of coronary heart disease and deadly heart attacks. While these trans fats will still be around likely for another few years, there are steps you can take now to cut back on them. According to the CDC, the most common sources of these trans fats are fried foods, cakes, cookies, frozen pizza and more; therefore, by reducing your intake of these foods you will also be cutting back on partially hydrogenated oils. It's critical to check out nutritional labels to be sure of the exact contents of a food item. Another tip the American Heart Association recommends is to replace the trans fats in your diet with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, which are considered healthy fats.
While long overdue, the decision to officially deem trans fats unsafe for human consumption and to ban them from the food industry is a good step in promoting better health and nutrition for the general population. Until the time comes when all partially hydrogenated oils are gone, make sure you take preventative measures to ensure a healthy nutritional intake and overall lifestyle for you and your family. Check out our supply of wellness essentials at eVitamins to help you accomplish that goal and start living healthier now!