There’s lot of discussion of which foods are healthy and which should be avoided, which is good as long as you aren’t using broad categories like macronutrients. Macronutrients include fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Too often people vilify an entire group of macronutrients, like fat. The truth is, you need all the macronutrients to be healthy. While most fat is important, one group, trans fat can cause health issues, but there are some healthy trans fats, too. It’s the man made trans fat that’s bad, not the naturally occurring type found in meat and dairy.
Manmade trans fats were created to extend shelf life.
When it comes to food, there are always exceptions to every rule. Sugar is bad, but eating fruit with natural sugar is healthy. Trans fat is bad, but getting naturally occurring trans fat that is created by bacteria in the stomach of sheep, goats and cows, can be good for you. It doesn’t have to be confusing. The bad trans fat is created in a lab by hydrogenating fat to increase the shelf life. Manmade trans fats are cheaper than naturally occurring fats and have a longer shelf life. That makes them perfect for junk food as a cheap additive. The acceptable amount of manmade trans fat in your diet is NONE! Coffee creamer, microwave popcorn, pastry and fast foods contain trans fats.
Inflammation can cause a number of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
While naturally occurring trans fats, especially in meat or dairy from grass fed animals, may be heart healthy, manmade trans fats increase inflammation and that can cause heart problems. It’s all about the bonding of the hydrogen and carbon molecules. Manmade trans fats mess with your hormones and increase inflammation, particularly for those who are overweight. Studies show it increases inflammatory markers. While butter contains some trans fats, just as margarine does, the trans fats in butter is natural. Studies show that inflammatory markers are increased by margarine, but not by butter.
Animal research shows that trans fats may increase insulin resistance.
Besides increasing the LDL—bad cholesterol—and increasing damage to the blood vessels, trans fats may play a role in your potential for diabetes. A large study that included 80,000 women found that those who consumed the most trans fats increased their risk of diabetes over those who ate the least amount. More studies are being done to find if it’s the type of food that contains trans fats, such as pastries and fast food, which are causing the problem or the trans fats themselves.
- Trans fats can cause damage to the endothelium–the interior lining of blood vessels. Studies show it can suppress the factor that protects the blood vessel walls from atherosclerosis.
- One recent study had subjects replace saturated fats in their diets with trans fats for four weeks. That caused the good cholesterol—HDL—to drop by 21% and impaired the dilation of arteries by 29%.
- Naturally occurring trans fats actually have some health benefits, particularly if they’re from grass fed animals. Dairy products contain conjugated linoleic acid—CLA—and vaccenic acid that help the immune system and decrease body fat.
- Even if the food label says 0 trans fats, the FDA allows it to use zero if the content is 0.5 grams per serving. The serving size could be far smaller than you think (½ brick of Ramon noodles is one serving) or you get many servings throughout the day (think coffee creamer).
For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness