Spotlight On Processed Foods And Trans Fats - Everything You Need To Know

  • 15 Jul 2022

Do you know what trans fats are? How they could take your lives? The Department of Agriculture defines processed food as any raw agricultural products that have undergone any type of alteration from their natural state. This includes washing, cleaning, milling, cutting, chopping, heating, pasteurization, blanching, cooking, canning, freezing, drying, dehydrating, mixing, or packaging. And these foods are the ones that have trans fats.

Let's discuss these foods and how harmful they are in this blog. Read on!

Why Do We Talk About Trans Fats As Being Silent Killers?

It has been found by researchers and dieticians that trans fats are a double trouble for one’s heart health. They are toxic and are considered as the worst type of fat to eat. Also called trans-fatty acids or TFA, they raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol in the human body upon consumption. A diet laden with trans fats is popular among children and adults now-a-days and makes them prone to risk of heart disease, like a silent killer!

The rate of heart and blood vessel disease is directly proportional to the rate of trans fats in their diet or amount of trans fats eaten by them.

What Are Trans Fats?

Trans fats are produced by an industrial process that makes partially hydrogenated oil that has solidified at room temperature. It is present in various food products such as cakes, pizzas, chocolates, pies, biscuits, breads, burgers, pastries, fried chicken etc. Trans fats are more solid, have more shelf life, and are more suitable for frying. It is unhealthier as compared to regular unsaturated fats. It also occurs naturally in food products from ruminant animals (such as milk, butter, cheese, meat products etc).

What Is Good And Bad Cholesterol?

Good cholesterol are High Density Lipoproteins or HDL that are healthy for the body. These HDL pick up extra cholesterol and transport it to the body's liver for processing. Consuming trans fats lowers the body's HDL levels. Bad cholesterol are Low Density Lipoproteins or LDL that transport cholesterol throughout the body. As cholesterol builds up in walls of the body's arteries, these arteries become narrow, harden and reduce blood flow to the heart causing heart attacks and strokes. Thus, trans fats are said to be the bad fats for the body.

What Surveys Show About Trans Fats?

  • They increase the risk of coronary artery disease or CAD.
  • Globally increased TFA intake is estimated to be responsible for more than 5,00,000 deaths per year.
  • A survey of street food in Delhi & Haryana found that 25% of snacks had high levels of TFA.
  • In light of disease and negative effects of trans fats consumption on body and heart, the WHO in 2018 introduced a 6-step guide to eliminate industrially produced TFA from global food supply.
  • Artificial trans fats have been banned in many nations. 
  • The World Health Organization has put a complete ban on artificial trans fats by the year 2023.
  • Developing nations still use trans fats in their foods, there is no implementation of ban.

What Are The Harmful Effects Of Trans Fats?

  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Infertility in women
  • Insulin sensitivity in body
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Behavior irritability
  • Aggression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Diminished memory
  • Acne on skin

How To Eliminate Trans Fats From Our Diet?

  • Limit the consumption of processed foods at home
  • Avoid using vanaspati ghee for cooking at home as it also contains trans fats
  • Do not reuse the same oil for frying and cooking at home
  • When shopping, check ingredients list on packaged foods
  • Check the nutrition information panel or NIP on packaged food items for trans fats content when shopping
  • When eating out, avoid eating commercial fried and baked foods
  • When eating out, avoid buying and eating pre-packaged snacks
  • Stop eating in fast food chains that are very notorious for using trans fats
  • Eating more wholefoods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean poultry

What Should Be Our Food Goals?

  • Say NO to junk foods
  • Eat healthy home cooked foods
  • Check food labels on packaged items
  • Support WHO initiatives to phase out the long road to elimination of trans fats
  • Consume only those packaged foods which have 0 grams of trans fats in their ingredient list

Let's join forces and pledge to avoid eating junk foods! Eat only healthy foodsSAY NO TO PACKAGED FOODS!

Visit Project Global Cure to read more such interesting blogs and lend your support in spreading awareness on toxicity of processed foods

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