Trans fat, or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat that occur in small amounts in nature, but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods, and frying fast food starting in the 1950s. Trans fat has been shown to consistently be associated, in an intake-dependent way, with increased risk of coronary artery disease, a leading cause of death in Western nations.
In a statement Monday, the U.N. health agency said eliminating trans fats is critical to preventing deaths worldwide. WHO estimates that eating trans fats — commonly found in baked and processed foods — leads to the deaths of more than 500,000 people from heart disease every year. The WHO recommends that no more than 1 percent of a person’s calories come from trans fats. In 2015, the FDA took steps to finish the job of eliminating trans fats, calling for manufacturers to stop selling trans fatty foods by June 18, 2018.
FOOD WITH TRANSFAT
Artificial trans fats are unhealthy substances that are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid, like in the creation of margarine or shortening. Trans fats also occur naturally. Vaccenyl and conjugated linoleyl (CLA) containing trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminants.
|Trans fat contents in various foods, ranked in g per 100 g|
|food type||trans fat content|
|shortenings||10 to 33 g|
|margarine/spreads||0.2 to 26 g|
|butter||2 to 7 g|
|whole milk||0.07 to 0.1 g|
|breads/cake products||0.1 to 10 g|
|cookies and crackers||1 to 8 g|
|salty snacks||0 to 4 g|
|cake frostings and sweets||0.1 to 7 g|
|animal fat||0 to 5 g|
|ground beef||1 g|
- Baked goods. Most cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening, which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of trans fat.
- Snacks. Potato, corn and tortilla chips often contain trans fat. And while popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavor the popcorn.
- Fried food. Foods that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken — can contain trans fat from the oil used in the cooking process.
- Refrigerator dough. Products such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain trans fat, as do frozen pizza crusts.
- Creamer and margarine. Nondairy coffee creamer and stick margarines also may contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- A study published in Archives of Neurology in February 2003 suggested that the intake of both trans fats and saturated fats promote the development of Alzheimer disease
- There is a growing concern that the risk of type 2 diabetes increases with trans fat consumption
- Research indicates that trans fat may increase weight gain and abdominal fat, despite a similar caloric intake.
- One 2007 study found, "Each 2% increase in the intake of energy from trans unsaturated fats, as opposed to that from carbohydrates, was associated with a 73% greater risk of ovulatory infertility…"
- Spanish researchers analysed the diets of 12,059 people over six years and found those who ate the most trans fats had a 48 per cent higher risk of depression than those who did not eat trans fats.
In 2015, the FDA took steps to finish the job of eliminating trans fats, calling for manufacturers to stop selling trans fatty foods by June 18, 2018.
When you check the food label for trans fat, also check the food’s ingredient list for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Health experts say they can be replaced with canola oil or other products. There are also naturally occurring trans fats in some meats and dairy products.
Monounsaturated fat — found in olive, peanut and canola oils — is a healthier option than is saturated fat.
Nuts, fish and other foods containing unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are other good choices of foods with healthy fats.