Are Trans Fats Really Dangerous?
Why Trans Fats Can Shorten Your Life Span
Trans fats are dangerous to your health but are surprisingly found in a large number of packaged food items. Trans fats increase the risk of heart disease, which is why it is best to avoid them completely, if possible. In fact, if there’s one type of food in the world you should avoid, it’s food containing trans fats.
Where Do Trans Fats Hide?
Trans fats are found in many products that you probably have on your pantry shelves. Trans fats are found in crackers, cookies, meat, baked goods, and fried foods. They are also found in margarine and shortening. Trans fats are found in many, many processed foods. Americans tend to eat more processed foods than whole foods, which is why they end up consuming a large amount of trans fats. Sales of packaged foods has also grown considerably in recent years thanks to clever marketing campaigns and the tendency of American families to rely on the convenience packaged foods can provide. The increase in consumption of packaged foods has also paralleled an increase in heart disease, and that hardly seems like a coincidence.
Trans fats can have a disastrous effect on your cholesterol. They increase LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as the “bad cholesterol,” and these levels are desirable if they are lower. Trans fats decrease HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good cholesterol,” and you need HDL levels to be as high as possible. The disastrous effects that trans fats can have on cholesterol levels is what increases your heart disease risk.
It’s All About Money
If trans fats are so bad for you, you might be wondering why companies still use them. Using trans fats in products tends to be very cost effective and the products that contain trans fats have a longer shelf life.
How Much Are You Eating
It is often difficult for a consumer to adequately measure how many trans fats they are consuming because companies are not required to include this information on product labels. If you suspect that you have been consuming too many trans fats or you know your diet is less than optimal, you might want to ask your physician about getting your cholesterol levels checked. There are no known safe levels of trans fat consumption, but most health experts would agree that your consumption of trans fats should be as low as humanly possible.