Food foundation

The noxious facts about trans fats

Artificial trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, are vegetable oils converted into solid fats at room temperature through a chemical process called hydrogenation

Artificial trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, are vegetable oils converted into solid fats at room temperature through a chemical process called hydrogenation, which consists of adding hydrogen. Hydrogenation was introduced over a century ago for several reasons: it was an inexpensive substitute for butter and lard, and it helped to preserve and make food tastier. Artificial trans fat is found in packaged and processed food including bread, margarine, crackers, cookies, and granola.

When the vegetable oil is completely hydrogenated, almost no trans fats remain and the solid becomes even more consistent and waxy. For this reason, fully hydrogenated oils are called trans fat free oil. However, they still contain, even if minimal, quantities of trans fats, precisely 0.5% per serving: even small quantities can be harmful.

Packaging labels, until stricter labelling laws were enforced in 2016, simply stated"hydrogenated oils", without specifying if the chemical process was partially or fully conducted. That left consumers clueless about the presence or not of trans fats.

The wise thing to do is to stick with healthy, non-processed or raw fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, seeds, raw nuts, eggs (with yolks raw or lightly cooked, overcooked eggs contains oxidized cholesterol), and organic grass-fed meats.

Trans fats have been removed from the American table. Scientists agreed unanimously that not only do they not add any nutritional value, but are detrimental for both the body and brain.

In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) stated they should not be considered safe for consumption and the food industry will have to remove them completely from production by 2018.

The consumption of trans fat is associated with: an increase of"bad" LDL

Cholesterol, which builds plaque in the arteries, and a reduction of"good" HDL Cholesterol, which helps flush out the bad one thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Cholesterolemia, the presence of enhanced quantities of cholesterols in the blood, has been blamed over the last twenty years for all sorts of cardiovascular diseases. Our body naturally increases cholesterol at least in part to respond to an increase in inflammation on our brain and body. Inflammation has become a buzzword in the scientific field as it's the source of so many diseases. Cholesterol is our response to patch out the damages from inflammations. Ingested trans fats for instance, inflame the arteries, and cholesterol intervenes to support the damaged cells.

The bad cholesterol is an indicator of potential risks of a cascade of diseases including heart attack, diabetes, cancer, mental fog, mood and even Alzheimer's.

A study was conducted to assess the impact of trans fats consumption on memory. Middle aged and young people were asked to undertake a test of word recall. The study quantified the link between the number of words recalled and the amount of trans fat consumed. The higher the consumption of trans fats, the worse the words recall. People who did not consume trans fats at all, performed the best. Another study confirmed the reduced production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with happy feeling and the consumption of trans fats.

Another study indicates that there is a link between high cholesterol and the risk of developing dementia. People with dementia and Alzheimer's show the presence of plaques in critical areas of their brain. It seems cholesterol accelerates the process of building these plaques.

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