Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils: Health Risks

Trans Fats are unhealthy fats. Remove trans fat foods from your diet to cut down on the health risks of hydrogenated oils.

To improve the consistency and shell life, vegetable oils are processed using a technique referred to as ‘partial hydrogenation. In the process, compressed hydrogen is forcefully passed through vegetable oils. Unfortunately, this process results in the conversion of unsaturated fats into Trans fats, associated with severe health implications.

What are Trans Fats? : Unhealthy Fats

Veggie oils like soybean, sunflower, etc., contain essential unsaturated fats and fatty acids. These fatty acids, which are not saturated, play a big part in improving mental health by promoting neuronal development and enhancing the production of different hormones and neurotransmitters.

Hydrogen is passed through these vegetable oils through hydrogenation, and the hydrogen atom combines with the unsaturated fats and fatty acids in vegetable oil and transforms them into Trans Fat.

The human body fails to digest Trans Fats, which results in their accumulation within the body, contributing to obesity and the development of other co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac or heart ailments. Moreover, further studies have shown a close link between higher intake of Trans Fats and neuronal degeneration.

Trans Fat Foods: Foods with High Concentration of Unhealthy Fats

Certain foods are loaded with Trans Fats and should be avoided. In addition to refined and hydrogenated vegetable oils, some of the foods containing Trans Fats include,

  • Waffles, Pizza, Fish Sticks, and frozen pies are loaded with trans fats.
  • Potato Chips and Crackers are unhealthy foods and have a high concentration of Trans Fats.
  • Baked Crackers are also equally harmful.
  • Cream Filled Cookies, pound cakes, and Doughnuts are often cooked in Trans Fats.
  • Margarine: margarine is loaded with saturated as well as trans fats, which have a detrimental effect on the overall health of an individual
  • Fried Chicken or Grilled Sandwich cooked in hydrogenated oils or slathered with margarine are also loaded with Trans fats.

Health Risks of Hydrogenated Oil: Trans Fat Health Implications

Some experts believe that till the mid of the 1970s, most of the food was cooked and prepared in coconut oil. Then, however, the introduction of hydrogenated vegetable oils, which had several more advantages like higher boiling temperature and buttery flavor, resulted in a drastic fall in the use of conventional oil.

However, the use of hydrogenated oil is associated with some severe implications on health,

  • The hydrogenation process limits the supply of essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are fatty acids required for a host of biological and physiological processes and are supplied only through diet.
  • Trans Fats are not very easily broken down or digested. Further Trans Fats slow down the normal metabolic process resulting in obesity and weight gain.
  • Trans Fat consumption has also been connected to cancer development.
  • Studies have shown that Trans Fats result in a drop in the level of good cholesterol, which has an essential cardioprotective function. It, in turn, increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis and stroke.
  • Trans Fats interfere with hormonal production ( as they limit the supply of Essential Fatty acids); they are strongly linked with the development of diabetes and other endocrinal disorders.
  • Trans Fats are associated with deterioration of mental functions and neuronal degeneration.

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