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    TRANS FATS AND THE IMPORTANCE TO  YOUR HEALTH

 

Brian Rayhack

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

 

1.)   What are Trans Fats and How are They Produced?

2.)   What Foods Contain Trans Fats?

3.)   Why are Trans Fats Important to Your Health?

4.)    Research Studies on Trans Fats.

5.)   How can You Find out the Amount of Trans Fats in the Food You are Eating?

6.)   Is Trans Fat the Only Reason to Blame For a Person    

     Suffering from Heart Disease and Cancer?

7.) References

8.) Online Sources Used

         

 

 

What are Trans Fats and How are They Produced?

Trans fats or Trans fatty acids are derived from partially hydrating unsaturated fats.  This process called hydrogenation involves adding hydrogen side groups or atoms with heat and pressure with a metal catalyst to products like vegetable oil.  (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/reviews/transfats.html)

 During partial hydrogenation, the oil is turned from a liquid to a semi-solid.  This is done by eliminating some double bonds completely through hydration and changing other double bonds to a trans formation seen below with hydrogens on opposite sides of the carbon double bond rather than the same side.  The process of hydrogenation results in a solid fatty acid that is much more stable than before.

 http://www.smartnutritionguide.com/trans%20fats.htm

 

 

 

Saturated Fat
(i.e., saturated fatty acid)

Unsaturated Fat
(i.e., unsaturated fatty acid)

H

 

H

|

 

|

-C

-

C-

|

 

|

H

 

H

H

 

H

|

 

|

-C

=

C-

Carbon-Carbon
Single Bond

Carbon-Carbon
Double Bond

Trans Fat
(i.e., trans fatty acids)

H

 

 

|

 

 

-C

=

C-

 

 

|

 

 

H

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://webgate1.mail.vanderbilt.edu/redirect?http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qatrans.html

 

 

 

What Foods Contain Trans Fats?

Processed foods such as margarine, cakes, doughnuts, and chips are typically hydrogenated by the food industry and contain trans fats.  

http://health.discovery.com/diseasesandcond/encyclopedia/1942.html

 

The stability of trans fats over saturated and unsaturated fats allows products like the ones mentioned above to be stored for months rather than weeks.  This increased shelf life allows for businesses to increase their sales and profit margin.    A list of foods with the amount of Trans Fat is listed below.  This report came from the U.S. Department

 

Why are Trans Fats Important to Your Health?

It has only been recently that scientists have looked at the effects of trans fats.  The evidence through experiments demonstrates that trans fats can cause serious health problems such as heart disease and even cancer.   Trans fats do this by increasing the LDL cholesterol level (bad cholesterol) and decreasing the HDL cholesterol level (good cholesterol). 

http://www.studenthealth.ucla.edu/snac/pages/Resources/Handouts/HOfat.pdf

(list of fats and things to avoid)

 

 



 

 

 

RESEARCH ON TRANS FATS

A research study conducted in the Netherlands at the Wageningen University looked at the correlation between trans fats and their effect on HDL (good cholesterol) level.  The study took healthy individuals and changed 10% of their energy consumption daily to trans fats.2  Over a four week period, the HDL levels in the participants decreased by 21% and impaired flow-mediated vasodilation.2  The study concluded that trans fats especially in high doses has long term negative effects on health and leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.2 

 

A similar study, at the Institute on Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, Laval University, in Quebec, Canada, compared the effects of saturated fats and trans fats on the LDL (bad cholesterol level).  The study had 36 members and lasted for a 35 day period. “Fat represented 30% of total energy intake in each diet, with two-thirds of the fat in the form of semiliquid margarine (0.6 g trans FAs/100 g fat), soft margarine (9.4 g trans FAs/100 g fat), shortening (13.6 g trans FAs/100 g fat), stick margarine (26.1 g trans FAs/100 g fat), or butter, which was low in trans FAs (2.6 g trans FAs/100 g fat) but rich in saturated fat.”3  The LDL levels with the low trans fats but high saturated fat actually lead to a decrease in the particle size of the LDL.  A replicate experiment with participants in the study receiving a diet with high amounts of trans fats showed a dramatic increase in particle size of the LDL.  The conclusion: “Consumption of dietary trans FAs is associated with a deleterious increase in small, dense LDL, which further reinforces the importance of promoting diets low in trans FAs to favorably affect the lipoprotein profile.”3

 

 

How can you find out the amount of trans fats in the food you are eating?

Currently, the food processing industry does not have to label the amount of trans fats in their products.  The trans fats are incorporated in the total amount of unsaturated fats.     However, trans fats are more carcinogenic and more detrimental to your health than plain

unsaturated  fats.  Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will require by January 1, 2006 that all packaged foods have labels that incorporate trans fats information on the back.   http://www.wholefoods.com/healthinfo/transfat.html  The FDA is taking this step to help people live a healthier life.1

 

Here is an example of what Nutrition Facts will look like on the back of boxes in 2006.

 

http://www.consumerreports.org/main/detailv2.jsp?WebLogicSession=P3B5pPUMVXgbjCljnUNhIL4Gk2QVbAcMLnfbKJcEQEXrEE4kehoD|7129848711746716123/169937913/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005/-1|940146871859185807/169937910/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005/-1&CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=300683&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=162689&bmUID=1064335781976

http://www.wholefoods.com/healthinfo/transfat.html

http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/transfat/

http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/N198.html

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/reviews/transfats.html

 

 

 

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