Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fats and your worst enemy. They increase the risk of obesity, inflammation, heart disease and cancer according to the American Heart Association. Trans fats are of two types, natural and artificial. Natural trans fats are made by bacteria in the stomach of sheep, goats, and cattle. Meaning they are found naturally in meat and dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, and cream. Artificial trans fats, on the other hand, are formed when fats and oils are hydrogenated, a process by which hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to form semi-solid fat called hydrogenated oils. They can raise your bad cholesterol levels. If you’re on the journey to lose weight, there are certain trans fats you should avoid completely.
We tend to eat fried foods because they taste good. Foods such as French fries, nuggets, and chips have been deep-fried in partially hydrogenated oils though some manufacturers claim they use healthy oils. Most labels say 0g trans fats, but this is due to regulation by the FDA which allows the companies to write 0g if they contain 0.5g trans fats per serving.
Be careful because not many fried food manufacturers stick to 0.5g trans fats per serving. Additionally, even though it is true the foods contain 0.5g trans fats, we tend to consume more of it and sometimes we can’t control ourselves. The best thing is to limit consuming fried foods at all.
Cakes, Pastries, and Pies
Bakery goods are often made with vegetable shortening or margarine. Vegetable shortening is a cheap butter alternative fat which is solid at room temperature. It’s commonly used in baking due to high-fat content which produces softer and flakier pastry than other fats. Although manufacturers have tried to reduce the amount of trans fats in vegetable shortening and margarine, you can’t assume that all baked foods are free of trans fats. Excessive consumption of these cakes and pies can lead to trans fats pile up in your body resulting in arterial blockage. Better still, you can make your own cakes, pastries or pies at home using healthy oils and ingredients.
A slice of frozen pizza contains about 0.3g of trans fats. You can imagine the amount of trans fat you consume in four slices of pizza. Plus, they are high in sugar, salt, and carbs which are markers for weight gain. Due to the good taste, it’s tempting to eat more of these frozen foods several times a week. You should avoid buying these foods to cut on your weight. Alternatively, you can make your own pizza by looking for cheese ingredients and other toppings.
Grabbing a packaged sandwich in the morning seems convenient, but you’re probably consuming more trans fats in the first meal of your day. One sandwich serving contains at least one gram of trans fats and other ingredients which contain hydrogenated oils. In fact, if you take a close look at the ingredients list, hydrogenated oils appear in the top five.
Non-Dairy Coffee Creamers
For coffee lovers, non-dairy creamer is a part of your morning daily consumption. These non-dairy creamers are used as a substitute for milk, tea or other hot beverages. However, they are made from partially hydrogenated oils to increase their shelf life thus adding a considerable amount of trans fats to your body.
Popcorn itself is a healthy snack full of fiber and vitamins. But, buttered or flavored microwaved popcorns contain trans fats as high as 5g per serving. The use of partially hydrogenated oils is common in microwave popcorn due to its high melting point which helps to keep the oil solid until the popcorn bag is microwaved. The only way to avoid adding trans fats to your body is by avoiding consumption of packaged popcorn or check the label for trans-fats free popcorn.
Doughnuts contain high levels of trans fats. Many doughnuts makers claim to have taken trans fats out of their ingredients but this is not true. “0g trans fats” on the label doesn’t mean they are free of these fats. Some contain small amounts of trans fats which continues to pile up with time depending on your rate of consumption. By avoiding such doughnuts, you improve your heart health and blood sugars.
Trans fats are associated with negative health effects. By making your own healthy homemade foods, you are able to control the consumption of these fats. If possible, you should use oils such as olive oil instead of margarine. Also, when buying packaged foods be keen to check the label if it’s indicating trans-fats free.
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