Trans Fatty Acids: A Bad Fat

Trans Fatty Acids have been linked to heart disease and heart attack.  But what are they?

Saturated Fatty acids are fats that mostly come from animal fat, yet they can also come from diary and two popular vegetables oils, palm oil and coconut oil. 

Unsaturated fatty acids are believed to be healthy and these fatty acids are plant based.

The Rise of Trans Fatty Acids

Many food manufactures began wanting to use more unsaturated fatty acids in their products. The problem is that they have a short shelf life. For this reason, they began experimenting on a process to allow them to become more stable, more soluble, and to last longer. This process became known as hydrogenation, and a new fatty acid was born, trans fatty acid.

Why Are Trans Fatty Acids Bad For Us?

After being in use for awhile, it became clear that trans fatty acid had one strong drawback for our health. It raises our cholesterol, or rather it raises our bad cholesterol and lowers our good cholesterol. This can increase our risk for strokes, heart disease, and heart attack.

What Foods Contain Trans Fatty Acids?

The foods that contain trans fatty acids are the processed foods such as:

  • stick margarines
  • high fat baked goods such as doughnuts
  • cookies
  • cakes
  • potato chips
  • corn chips
  • crackers
  • french fries
  • any foods that have “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” listed on the label

What Are Some Essential Fatty Acids?

Yes, fat and fatty acids can be bad for our health, especially if they come in the form of trans fatty acids, saturated, or trans-saturated fatty acids. They can raise our cholesterol levels and triglycerides levels (which can result in unwanted fat deposits in our body). Yet, there are some basic essential fats or fatty acids we all should be eating.

Essential fats are healthy fats that help our body to make and release energy. This energy is what keeps us moving and keeps our organs running smoothly.  These fats can also help us with arthritis symptoms such as inflammation, pain, stiffness, depression symptoms, nervous system problems, and can help keep our keep our immune and reproductive systems strong. Some of these essential fatty acids are: 

  • nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, pecans
  • fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel
  • fish oils 
  • flaxseed oils

Since these essential fatty acids are healthy, we all can benefit by adding more of these to our diets.


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