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Trans Fatty Acids and their Effect on Cholesterol Levels
- Trans fatty acids were once thought to be a healthy alternative to foods high in saturated fat, such as butter
- Omega-3 fatty acids are an example of healthy fats. These are found in fish and other food products
- Knowing the levels of saturated and unsaturated fats in your food is a good way to have a heart healthy diet
By now, most people have heard that so-called Trans Fats are dangerous for your health. In many fast food restaurants, the use of these fats have been stopped altogether and many of the foods, such as margarine, which once used them are now free of trans fatty acids. But where did these fats come from? And what effect did they have on our health, particularly on our levels of cholesterol? Here are some answers.
The Unhealthy Healthy Alternative
Several decades ago, medical researchers had discovered that saturated fats could raise cholesterol levels and high cholesterol was believed to be a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. Back then, the line between saturated and unsaturated fats seemed clear: the former (found in animal products) was bad for you and the latter was better for you. Based on this knowledge, butter which is high in saturated fat become enemy number one and margarines began to replace them on the shelves. Margarine was made with a new type of unsaturated fat which was thought to be a healthier alternative: Trans fatty acids.
The fats were unsaturated but when hydrogen was added to them to make them more solid and to ensure they would last longer their effect on cholesterol also changed. Instead of increasing HDL levels the way some unsaturated fats do today, they lowered HDL (good cholesterol) levels while simultaneously raising LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
Using this supplement can help you reduce the risk of being exposed to trans fats consumption such as fast food restaurants and having your cholesterol in check.
Not All Fats are Bad
While the concern over this once supposedly healthy fat option may make you wonder about all of the fats recommended by medical science, don’t worry too much. Fats like omega-3 fatty acids are still well known to provide health benefits. These fats can be found in fatty types of fish, such as salmon and tuna. Other types of unsaturated fats – those that are still in liquid or natural form – are also not a bad choice either, at least in moderation. Olive oil and avocados, for example, are recommended choices for healthy diets.
You also have to know how to avoid saturated and Trans fats. While omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, saturated fats can be found in red meat. That means red meat should be avoided as often as possible.
Reducing the Risks
The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to avoid trans fatty acids by reading the food labels. All foods are now required to include Trans fats as an ingredient in their labeling. You should also look for low levels of saturated fats, too.
When it comes to dining out, avoiding these bad fats can be very problematic since most restaurants do not include their nutritional information where diners can view it easily. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything fried or anything that might have been made using margarine, such as baked goods (pies, for example). You can also send a message to restaurants by taking your business to ones that do not use any Trans fatty acids and/or ones that make their nutritional information easily available.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Bad Cholesterol Levels14 Apr 2009|