Trans Fat


By: Nikki Nies DeepFat141Cafe

There are two types of trans fat, the naturally occurring and synthetically made trans fat.  Naturally occurring trans fat can derive from the gut of animals, such as milk and meat products.  The second type of trans fat, artificial trans fat or trans fatty acids are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make more solid.  The industry gravitate to use of trans fats in their foods as their inexpensive to use, provide more texture and taste and contain a longer shelf life, which means rancidity decreases and profit increases for food companies.

The good news: changes are coming with trans fat! Recently, the FDA announced complete elimination of trans fat.  Until those changes are implemented and permeates the system, it’s still important to be aware of how bad tarns fat really are and why reading nutrition food labels is more imperative than ever!Until the 1990’s, we didn’t know how bad trans fats are for the public.  However, with increased research and awareness of the impact, more and more products are providing consumers easy access to information on the fat content and a breakdown of the ingredients.

The caveat: Products are allowed to advertise themselves  if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving!

Why are trans fat so bad you ask?

  • Raises “bad” LDL cholesterol
  • Reduces “good” HDL cholesterol, which adds to the clogging of arteries
  • Increase lipoprotein and triglyceride levels
  • Increases risk for heart attack, stroke and/or diabetes

I’m glad to see the government is recognizing the harm of trans fat trumps any potential “benefits.” On a label, you may recognize the artificially made trans fats as “partially hydrogenated oils.”  Thankfully, as of November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration no longer recognizes partially hydrogenated oils as listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS)! Additionally, several nations, such as Denmark, Sweden and Canada and jurisdictions, California, New York City, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, MD, have taken measures that have either reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.

Until the new trans fat regulations are put into effect, how are you curbing your trans fat intake? What products have you been surprised to find contain artificially made trans fat?

Photo Credit: Stalking the wild breaded pork tenderloin in Iowa

Sources: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/understanding-trans-fats

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/transfat.html

http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm079609.htm

The Ins and Outs of Cholesterol


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By: Nikki Nies

Often times the words “bad” and “good” are associated with cholesterol, but what defines good and bad you ask?  Let’s rewind a bit and go over what the word cholesterol means.  Cholesterol is composed of a waxy, fat like substance that is made in the liver and can be found in certain foods (i.e. eggs, dairy products and meats).  Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream with the help of an attached protein, called a lipoprotein.

A certain level of cholesterol is needed for the body to function properly: its cell walls, or membranes need cholesterol to produce  vitamin D,hormones and the bile acids  to help digest fat.  However, problems can occur when too much cholesterol builds up, called plaque, in the walls of one’s arteries.  Plaque is a thick, hard deposit and with enough plaque, the build up will make the passage of the blood to the heart harder.

Problems associated with cholesterol:

  • The build up of plaque, called artherosclerosis can then lead to heart disease
  • Angina, also known as chest pain, can occur where there is not enough oxygen carrying blood to reach the heart
  • Heart attack: Can occur if complete blood supply to portion of heart is blocked off by total blockage of a coronary artery

Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream with the help of an attached protein, called a lipoprotein.  There are 3 types of cholesterol, classified depending on the ratio of protein to fat.

Type of Lipoprotein

Description

Very Low Density lipoprotein (VLDL) Similar to LDL; contains mostly fat and not much protein
Low Density lipoprotein (LDL) Considered “bad” cholesterol; can cause the buildup of plaque on walls of arteries; increased LDLàincreased risk of heart disease
High density lipoproteins (HDL) Called “good” cholesterol; helps body get rid of bad cholesterol in blood; decreased HDLàincreased risk of heart disease
Triglycerides Another type of fat; carried in blood by VLDL; derives from excess calories, sugar and alcohol in body are converted into triglycerides; stored in fat cells throughout body

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Those 20 years or older should get their cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years.  A fasting cholesterol test is a common way to gauge one’s heart health. It’s recommended total cholesterol remains under 200.

Ways to Reduce Cholesterol Levels and Prevent Heart Disease:

  • Moderate Exercise:  Can help reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and maintain weight control, which can decrease chances of heart disease
  • Quit smoking: Smoking lowers HDL levels
  • Heart Healthy Foods: The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends one limits daily intake of cholesterol to less than 300 mg; if one already has heart disease, it should be less than 200 mg; limit intake of saturated fat; moderate intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Medications and Cholesterol lowering drugs: i.e. statins; niacin, bile acid resins

Remember, your body makes all the cholesterol needed for regular function.  That doesn’t mean you should refrain from cholesterol rich foods (i.e. eggs), but moderation is key.  High cholesterol is leading cause of heart disease, but it is preventable.  What changes can you make to your daily life to stabilize your cholesterol levels?

Sources: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/About-Cholesterol_UCM_001220_Article.jsp

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9152.php

http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/default.htm?names-dropdown=GA

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=866215&show=html