Man-made deadly trans fats!
“You shouldn’t need to be a chemical engineer to buy healthy food,” said Steen Stender, a cardiologist from Copenhagen University Hospital who kick-started a now global revolt against the addition of harmful fats to our daily diet.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 5,000 Americans a year die of heart disease because artificial trans fat is in the food supply. US Food & Drug Administration Commissioner says “… reduction in the amount of trans fat in the American diet could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year – a critical step in the protection of Americans’ health.”
Food industry often looks for easy-to-use, cheap and long lasting ingredients for product manufacture. Fats/ oils as obtained from nature (extracted from seeds or nuts) are present in liquid form. This limits their applications in food industries. Hence, the solid fats such as margarine, dalda, spreads, and shortenings were developed to facilitate use in commercial food products.
What are Trans fats?
The processing steps used for manufacture of fats that remain solid at room temperature or have longer shelf-life brings about changes in the chemical structures of fats and oils making them detrimental to health.
Trans Fatty Acids (TFA) were first developed because of:
- Low cost
- Longer shelf life
- Solid at room temperature
- Desirable taste & texture
Impact on health
Trans fatty acids have the following harmful effects on health:
- Increases LDL (bad) cholesterol which in turn causes coronary heart disease
- Decreases HDL (good) cholesterol
- Increases risk of obesity and diabetes
- Increases depression and risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Hampers proper cognitive (brain) development
- Causes infertility in women
It’s better to avoid food that has trans fats and switch to healthier options. In long run, trans fats can lead to many health issues.
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