The danger of trans fats and how to avoid them
Artificial trans fats can be formed when oil goes through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil more solid (known as hardening). This type of fat, known as hydrogenated fat, can be used for frying or as an ingredient in processed foods to improve the shelf life.
Consider the shelf life of a packet of shop-bought biscuits. Now consider the shelf life of home baked biscuits.
Are trans fats bad for you?
Trans fats have been identified as being one of the most dangerous food additives.
Consuming a diet high in trans fats can lead to high cholesterol levels in the blood, which can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
How to reduce your in-take of trans fats:
Reduce your intake or better still, stop eating the following altogether:
- Baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, pies, pastries and doughnuts
- Microwave popcorn
- Frozen pizza
- Fried foods
- Vegetable oils
- Ice cream
- Fast food
How do I know which foods contain trans fats?
Foods that are labelled as containing partially-hydrogenated oils or fats are a source of trans fatty acids. Sometimes ‘partially-hydrogenated’ oils/fats are just labelled as ‘hydrogenated’ oils.
What to eat instead:
- Try these delicious snack options
- Eat ‘real’ food and shop the grocery and real deli counters leaving the central aisles well alone
- If you are a baker, bake the occasional cake or biscuits, make them healthier by reducing the amount of fat you include in your baking
- Give up processed and fast food
In order to eat a balanced and healthy diet, you need to eat some fat. Find out more here about how to do this healthily.