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Taking Out the Bad Fat

Taking Out the Bad Fat

This year, spring cleaning in my home includes cleaning out my family’s diet of an item that’s pretty much at the top of the naughty list: trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils.

These oils are widely recognized as being a major cause of obesity and degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and contributing to impaired cellular function, nervous system disorders and premature aging. The trans fats in these oils raise your bad cholesterol levels (LDL); LDL contributes to the build up of cholesterol on artery walls. The double whammy of trans fats comes from the fact that they simultaneously lower good cholesterol levels (HDL); HDL transports excess cholesterol to the liver. Trans fats also block the body’s ability to absorb and use good essential fatty acids, such as omega-3s.

Using trans fats in the manufacturing of food products gives them a longer shelf life. Consequently, if you haven’t been conscious about trans fats, you will probably find them listed among the ingredients of many items in your fridge and pantry: many margarines, breakfast cereals, low-fat ice cream, crackers, commercially baked items, boxed cake mix, chips, popcorn, other snacks, and much more.

Hydrogenation is the process of passing hydrogen bubbles through oil as it’s being heated. This results in a denser oil. Full hydrogenation results in a solid oil. Partially hydrogenated oil produces a semi-solid butter like substance. Though it would seem to be otherwise, fully hydrogenated oils do not contain trans fats. Some trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products. However, the ones that are of greatest concern are contained in factory manufactured items labeled partially hydrogenated or simply hydrogenated. Items that contain shortening also contain trans fats. When shopping, know that in the United States the food label can read 0 grams trans fat if it contains less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving. So, the more you eat of these items, the more trans fats you’re consuming though you may think you’re in the clear because of that “0 grams” label.

Replacing trans fatty junk with fresh fruit, vegetables, locally baked breads and cakes, homemade cookies, fresh popcorn, and cooking with organic butter or extra-virgin olive oil will boost the health of your entire family on so many levels, spare our landfills of a ton of excess packaging, and attune your taste buds to real, life enhancing food.

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Read more: Basics, Children, Cholesterol, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Food, General Health, Green, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.

116 comments

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1:54AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

thanks for sharing

4:48PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Thank you.

6:29AM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

great article, thanks :)

6:11AM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

great article, thanks :)

3:32AM PDT on May 30, 2011

Ever since food processing manufacturers realized they could extend the use of many vegetable oils by injecting hydrogen into them, the birth of hydrogenation was born.
Hydrogenated Oils: How Bad Are They for Us?

7:03AM PDT on May 10, 2011

Thanks, I pretty much stay away from trans fat, luckily I don't like much of what's it put into.

1:43PM PST on Dec 3, 2010

For the first time this year my LDL measured a couple of points above recommended limits. HDL & ratio are good. Will need to watch diet a little closer now I guess.....

8:38AM PST on Nov 23, 2010

Good eating habits begin at home and last a lifetime. Teach the children well.

12:34AM PST on Nov 23, 2010

thanks for post

2:20AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Huh, didn´t know that.

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