Site icon Women Fitness

Understanding Trans Fatty Acids

trans fatty acids

Trans fats are artificial fats made when hydrogen gas reacts with oil– by a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.

Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarine, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Unlike other fats, the majority of trans fat is formed when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. A small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods.

The intake of trans fats in the diet should be restricted to less than 1 per cent of the energy consumed by the body which works out to be less than 2 to 3 grams a day.

Why are They Bad for You?

Trans fats pose a higher risk of heart disease than saturated fats, which were once believed to be the worst kind of fats. While it is true that saturated fats — found in butter, cheese and beef, for example — raise total cholesterol levels, trans fats go a step further. Trans fats not only raise total cholesterol levels, they also deplete good cholesterol (HDL), which helps protect against heart disease.

What Harm do They do to the Body?

The stiffer and harder fats are, the more they clog up your arteries. Trans fats do the same thing in our bodies that bacon grease does to kitchen sinks. Over time, they can “clog the pipes” that feed the heart and brain, which can lead to heart attack or stroke risk.

According to the comprehensive Nurses’ Health Study — the largest investigation of women and chronic disease — trans fats double the risk of heart disease in women.

Trans Fats in Food

University of Maryland Medical Center registered dietitian Cynthia Payne has compiled a partial list of foods containing trans fatty acids, with estimates of how much trans fat each contains in grams.

Bakery Products Amount of Trans-Fats (grams)
Cinnamon bun, Entenmann’s 1.6
Pie — 1/8 pie 4
Frosted cake, 1 slice 3
Large chocolate chip cookies 1.5
Muffin, 3 oz. 3
Pound cake, 1 slice 3
Donuts 3
Pound cake, fat free, 1 slice 0.2
Breakfast Bars and Cereals Amount of Trans-Fats (grams)
Pop tarts 1.4
Granola bars, chewy, chocolate chip 0.6
Margarine, Dressing & Spreads Amount of Trans-Fats (grams)
Vegetable shortening, 2 Tbsp 7-9
Margarine, stick 5-8
Margarine, tub 1-4
Ranch dressing 1.5
Breads, Rolls & Taco Shells Amount of Trans-Fats (grams)
Taco Shells, baked, 3 oz 8
White flour buns, 1 bun/roll 0.8
White or wheat bread, 2 slices 0.2-0.6
Dinner roll, 1 0.1
Chips, Popped Corn & Candy Amount of Trans-Fats (grams)
Microwave popped corn, 3.5 oz bag 8.8
Candy, 3 oz 6.9
Tortilla chips, 3 oz 4.1
Microwave popped corn, low-fat, 3.5 oz bag 3.7
Potato chips, 3 oz 2.3
Processed Oven Ready Food Amount of Trans-Fats (grams)
French fries, 3 oz 2-3
Gorton’s Fish Sticks, 3 oz 3
Turkey breast, 3 oz 0.2
Commercial Fast Food Amount of Trans-Fats (grams)
French fries, 3 oz 1-5

Tips to Avoid Trans Fats in Diet

Exit mobile version