While the majority of substances with the word "fat" in them are not so great for you, this is especially true for trans fats. You're probably already aware that trans fats can be detrimental to you health but 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're 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're also added during processing of many foods. Trans fats can give food a longer shelf life and help maintain freshness. This processed form is created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. These forms of trans fat are called partially hydrogenated oils and these are what the FDA is outlawing. Found in many foods like pies, pizza and French fries, partially hydrogenated oils are also sometimes used as cooking oil in fryers because they last longer than other oils and don't have to be changes as often. While trans fats can also provide flavoring for foods, generally 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 cholesterol") and lowering HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol"). 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 are no longer considered safe for human consumption due to their role in developing 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 friend foods, cakes, cookies, frozen pizza and more. By reducing your intact 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 monosaturated 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.
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