Trans Fats, AKA Hydrogenated Oils

Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, could be destroying your health and the health of your family.

Have you ever given your toddler a graham cracker? What about all of those peanut butter sandwiches we feed our children? Do you consider those healthy snacks for your children? Many parents do.

Image of Peanut butter sandwich

By now you have probably heard of the dangers of consuming foods like French fries, doughnuts, fried chicken, margarine, prepackaged foods such as cakes, cookies, crackers, and other processed foods.

Food manufacturers using trans fats use them because they save them money. They are not concerned with the fact that on a gram-for-gram basis, these hydrogenated fats are the most harmful fats of all.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate that trans fat causes 72,000 to 228,000 heart attacks, including roughly 50,000 fatal ones, per year. This fat also promotes diabetes.

Think about it....if a product does not decompose, it should probably not be eaten, right?

Starting in January 2006 all Nutrition Facts labels on packaged foods had to list trans fat. A product must contain less than 0.5 grams per serving in order to bear a "no trans fat" label, according to the Food and Drug Administration. However, such products may still contain up to 0.49 grams.

This labeling can be extremely misleading to people. That is why you need to read labels closely. Check ingredient lists for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and shortening. Remember that a serving is often a very small portion of the total amount in a package.

Any amount of this hydrogenated fat is bad.

According to Dr. Robert Demaria, in his book Dr. Bob's Trans Fat Survival Guide, this fat has a half life of fifty-one days. That may sound strange, but it's actually quite scary....

When you eat a bag of chips, a doughnut, cream-filled cookies or anything else with hydrogenated fat, it takes your body fifty-one days to properly metabolize and eliminate HALF of it. In another fifty-one days, HALF of that, twenty-five percent of what you originally ate, is still in your body!

The trans fat you consumed three months ago is still in your body. If you are eating it on a daily basis imagine how much of it is congesting your body, and your liver, from years of eating these man-made fats!

Negative Effects of Fake Fat

  1. They are damaging to the functions of cell membranes when they become part of the membrane structure, preventing the cells from functioning properly.
  2. Increases insulin levels in the blood and contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  3. Escalates the adverse effects of essential fatty acid EFA deficiency, such as inflammation, poor skin tone, ADD/ADHD and depression to name a few.
  4. Increases total cholesterol and the more you eat, the more it disrupts your cholesterol balance of LDL and HDL.
  5. Lowers the quality of human breast milk and correlates with low birth weight in human infants.
  6. Weakens the immune system.
  7. Precipitates, or triggers, childhood asthma.
  8. Interferes with hormones, possibly causing infertility.
  9. Increases size and number of fat cells leading to obesity. Ladies, for us that means more cellulite!

Progress in the Elimination of these Killer Fats

The good news is that very gradually restaurants and food manufacturers are decreasing or eliminating the these fake fats from their foods.

In 2004, Denmark became the first nation to virtually ban partially hydrogenated oils and largely eliminate the artificial fat from the diet.

In 2007, Puerto Rico made its restaurants trans fat free, and in July 2008 California became the first state in the nation to make its restaurant foods free of this artificial fat. Many other states, cities, and counties throughout the U.S. are following with similar bans in their restaurants.

Several food manufacturers are also finding ways to eliminate them from their snack foods.

Image of person reading nutrition label

So what's a nutrition conscious consumer to do?

  • Don’t trust the nutrition label stating zero trans fat per serving. Take a look at the ingredient list to spot partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or shortening.
  • Remember that it is not okay to eat this stuff in moderation. It's a complete health hazard.
  • What are the most common places you'll find these tasty, yet deadly fats? Most fried foods; boxed baked goods; some margarines; peanut butter (always choose all-natural peanut butter); crackers and chips, especially the ones with powder coatings; and many prepackaged meals.

I hope that knowing these facts will help you make healthy decisions for you and your family.

These trans fatty acids, as they are often called, overwork the liver and contribute to fatty liver disease, both of which lead to health problems throughout the body because the liver can't filter the blood properly.

As the recipe section grows you will have access to a variety of simple, budget friendly snacks that you can make and keep on hand for yourself and your family. Avoid buying those snacks at the store that are filled with hydrogenated fat, food dyes, and high fructose corn syrup.

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