Trans fat is a type of fat found in foods that increases our risk for heart disease. There are two broad types of trans fats in foods: naturally occurring and artificial trans fats. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals, and foods made from these animals (for example, milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats. Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
Trans fats are easy to use, inexpensive to produce, and long-lasting. This type of fat gives foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep fry foods because oils with trans fats can often be used in commercial fryers. Several countries and jurisdictions have reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.
It is difficult to stop eating trans fat, so the goal is to eat as little trans fat as possible. Remember that just because a food is trans-fat-free does not mean it is fat-free and can still be bad for your health. Many food companies have replaced trans fat with other types of fat, especially saturated fat.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults who want to lower LDL cholesterol reduce their intake of trans fat and limit their consumption of saturated fat to 5 to 6% of total calories. The tips follow a dietary pattern emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts. Furthermore, naturally occurring, hydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, or olive oil should be used most often. Also, limit red meat and sugary foods and beverages.
In conclusion, Trans fat is considered the worst fat to eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats raise “bad” cholesterol and lower “good” cholesterol. This way, its consumption should be controlled.
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About the Author: MSci Maísa Melo is a Pharmacist and a current PhD student in cosmetic technology, from São Paulo, Brazil. She has earned her master’s degree from the University of São Paulo and has been involved with the development, stability, safety and efficacy of cosmetics since 2013. She has specialized in the clinical efficacy of cosmetics by biophysical and skin imaging techniques as well as the use of alternative models to animal testing. Her research work has been published in several scientific journals and book chapters from the field.