Getting to Know Foods High in Trans Fats and Their Dangers

Getting to Know Foods High in Trans Fats and their Dangers

An increasingly busy lifestyle makes many people do not have time to prepare their own food and switch to fast food. However, processed foods often contain trans fat which is the worst type of fat for health.

The food consumed can contain two types of fat, namely unsaturated fat and saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are fats that are beneficial for health. Examples are fats from fish and plants. In contrast, saturated fat is a fat that has a bad effect on health. The source is mostly animal products.

Trans fat is a type of saturated fat. These fats are naturally found in small amounts in beef, goat, and dairy products, such as milk or cheese. However, currently the food industry produces many artificial trans fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil or cooking oil. The goal is to make the food last longer and improve the taste.

Health Dangers of Trans Fats

Trans fats cause levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in the blood to increase, and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Research shows that artificial trans fats have a worse effect on health than trans fats from natural sources. Some of the bad effects of these trans fats are:

Causes coronary heart disease

Elevated LDL and triglycerides can build up and form plaques in the arteries of the heart. This condition makes the blood vessels narrow, so that blood flow to the heart is blocked, and over time will cause coronary heart disease.

Cause a stroke

In addition to heart disease, excessive intake of trans fats can also increase the risk of stroke. Stroke can occur when plaque that forms in blood vessels is released, then flows into the blood vessels of the brain and causes blockages.

When this happens, the blood flow that delivers oxygen to brain tissue will be blocked, so the tissue is damaged or dies. As a result, a stroke occurs.

Worsening type 2 diabetes

So far, studies examining the link between trans fats and diabetes have not shown consistent data. However, it is known that a diet high in saturated fat and trans fat is associated with increased insulin resistance and increased blood sugar levels.

This is especially true for obese people with diabetes and high cholesterol. Unhealthy eating patterns, including those high in trans fats, are thought to increase inflammation in the body so that the risk of diabetes also increases. It is also known to increase the risk of developing gallstones.

Foods High in Trans Fat

To reduce the risk of developing the above diseases, consumption of trans fats needs to be limited to a maximum of 2 grams per day.

Some foods that are high in trans fats are:
  • Baked pastries, donuts, cookies, and pies are usually made from partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Potato chips, corn chips, and microwave popcorn are usually cooked with trans fat to enhance the taste and make them last longer.
  • Fried foods, such as fried chicken and French fries. Sometimes the oil used is ordinary vegetable oil, but frying at high temperatures can cause trans fats to form, especially if the oil has been used repeatedly.
  • Margarine, butter, and coffee creamer are often used as a substitute for dairy products in making coffee.
  • Pizza, crackers and canned biscuits.

Foods High in Good Fat

Although fat consumption is associated with health problems, it does not mean that all types of fat should be avoided. Fat is still needed by the body to produce energy, keep the body temperature warm, form cells and hormones, and absorb various vitamins.

Consumption of good types of fat, namely unsaturated fats (especially omega-3 and omega-6), can also reduce the risk of heart disease. One type of diet that recommends consuming healthy fats is the Mediterranean diet. Examples of sources of unsaturated fats are:
  • Avocado.
  • Nuts.
  • Flaxseed.
  • Marine fish, such as salmon, tuna, and tuna.
  • Healthy oils, including olive oil, canola oil, and sunflower seed oil.
By reducing your consumption of trans fats and increasing your consumption of healthy fats, you can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Limit the consumption of trans fats by reducing the consumption of fried foods and fast food, as well as packaged foods that use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in their composition.