Unless you don't own a TV and don't watch the 10 PM news, you have no doubt been bombarded with reports on the dangers of trans fat. Most people don't even know what that is, let alone what it can do to you. Well, for those of you who don't watch the 10 PM news and haven't already been scared out your mind to the point where you'll never eat another Big Mac again, this article may just shed some light on the subject of trans fat, what it is and what it can do to you.
The first thing we need to know is exactly what trans fat is. Trans fat is fat that does not exist naturally. In other words, it's manufactured fat, as if there isn't enough natural fat in the beef that we eat to harden our arteries. Now, you might be wondering why we have to “manufacture" fat. Well, we do this to make things last longer on your supermarket shelf. The most common type of trans fat is vegetable oil that they treat with hydrogen in order to harden it. This is what gives it a longer shelf life. Have you ever bought a jar of peanut butter and looked to see what happens to it after a while? It gets pretty darn hard to get out of that jar. That's because of the trans fat that's in it. That's what that jar of peanut butter can last in your house for months, if not years.
So, where do you find trans fats? In just about any processed foods these days. Mostly you will find them in doughnuts, cakes, pies, cookies, potato chips and just about any processed food. Again, this is mostly to increase the shelf life of these foods.
So, what's the big deal? What can these trans fats do to you? Let's start with hardening of the arteries. These fats, over time, collect in your arteries. Eventually, when they become clogged enough, the end result is a heart attack or stroke. Aside from that, the immediate danger is that trans fat will cause you go become quite overweight if you eat enough of it. Obesity leads to its own problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
In spite of these dangers, avoiding foods with trans fat is easy to do. For starters, when you cook, use olive oil. Don't eat any fried foods, especially in restaurants. Read labels on foods in the supermarkets. If anything says made with partially hydrogenated ANYTHING, don't buy it. In general, softer things are better than harder things. In other words, a tub of soft margarine is better than a stick of hard margarine.
By following these simple tips and understanding what trans fat can do to you, you can live a much longer and happier life.
Yes, trans fat CAN kill you.
To YOUR Health,
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