We often hear a wholesale condemnation of trans fats. Here are some facts about them:
What are trans fats?
Trans fats is an easier abbreviation for trans fatty acids. They occur naturally and are also created artificially.They occur naturally in the digestive systems of ruminant animals such as bison, kangaroo, cows, goats and sheep. They are, therefore, found in their milk and meat.
[A ruminant animal is one that chews the cud-- the partly digested food that is sent back from the animal’s first stomach to the mouth to be chewed once again].
Artificial trans fats
Trans fats are artificially created by passing hydrogen gas through the liquid vegetable oil. They are, therefore, also called hydrogenated fats.
Almost all the eatables such as crackers, cookies, potato chips that are produced with hydrogenated oil contain trans fats. They are added to enhance their shelf life by keeping them fresh and crispy for years.
Man- made trans fats are very harmful for our health. They are even more harmful than saturated fats, which are considered the worst form of fats. The reason for this is that trans fats not only raise the (bad) cholesterol level, they also reduce the HDL (High-density lipoprotein) also called good cholesterol.
HDL cleans the walls of blood vessels of the bad cholesterol, which can cause several problems by creating plaque in the arteries and blocking the free flow of blood. The trans fats can, therefore, cause health problems such as obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Here is, however, a shocking truth about the trans fats.
Trans fats in their natural form can be beneficial for health if they are taken in small quantities as they are found in their host animals.
They contain trans isomers such as the CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is believed to have anti-carcinogenic( anti-cancer) and several other wholesome properties.
According to Mike Geary, a certified nutrition specialist, CLA is not only anti-carcinogenic, but is also a powerful fat burner. It can particularly burn the belly fat and make it slim and flat. It burns the lean muscle and improves the metabolism.
He, however, cautions against taking CLA supplements in form of pills as they contain artificially created isomer,which is different from the one found naturally in the animals. He further recommends that we should take CLA only from the meat and milk of the grass eating and not grain-fed ruminant animals. The beneficial CLA actually comes from grass.
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