When you hear the word trans fats, a few things should immediately come to mind: margarine, partially hydrogenated oil, and in general, packaged cookies and crackers. For decades now, trans fats (specifically margarine) have been used to help increase the shelf life of many packaged foods.
Study on Trans Fats
In a recent study, 690 middle-aged men were tested for their memory, in regards to their consumption of trans fats. Those who had consumed the most trans fats, remembered 11 fewer words from memory from a group of 104 words, than those who ate the least trans fats. This study was presented at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago.
The author of the study, Dr. Beatrice Golomb said it well, that “Trans fats increase the shelf life of the food but reduce the shelf life of the person.” Further research has shown that the consumption of trans fats is also linked to diabetes, obesity, aggression and heart disease. Dr. Golomb went on to explain that trans fats are very similar to a poison and do nothing for the body’s needs.
Trans Fats Effects on the U.S.
Another doctor, Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, says, “The artificial fats penetrate every cell in the body and can disrupt basic cell functions.” He went on to say, “Heart disease is declining more rapidly in areas where trans fats have been banned [like Boston] and trans fat reduction is almost surely contributing to recent declines in diabetes in the U.S.”
Learn How To Read Labels & Avoid Trans Fats
The governments’ standards for nutrition labels are that if the trans fats in a product are less than half a gram, then they may be labeled trans fat-free. So how do we know how to avoid them? Look at the label of ingredients and if anything says partially hydrogenated are products that contain trans fats.
Interestingly, a study done on a check of 100 products on Keebler.com found that 42 of the 100 products had partially hydrogenated oils in them, even though they were labeled trans fat-free.
So How Do We Reverse Damage to Our Body From Trans Fats?
Willet says trying to reverse the damage of trans fats, on the body, is still unknown. He does recommend living as healthily as possible, getting plenty of exercise and not smoking, as well as limiting alcohol. When possible, try to use a liquid vegetable oil instead of hard fats and include plenty of fruits and vegetables in the diet.