What is trans fat?

By | 18 February 2021

Trans fat is a type of oil that is very harmful to health. Consumption of this type of oil in large quantities; poses a risk in terms of many diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases. This oil type, which is frequently used in packaged products and restaurants, harms the general health status of society.  Regarding trans fats, which are very important in terms of health, “What is trans fat?” Many questions such as answers are explained later in the article.

What is trans fat?

Trans fats, or trans-fatty acids, belong to the unsaturated fat group. Trans fats can be produced naturally in the animal body or can be produced industrially. Naturally produced trans fats are synthesized by bacteria in the digestive system of some animals, and small amounts of trans fat can be found in animal foods made from these animals. While 2-8% of the total fat in dairy products is composed of trans fats, this ratio is between 3-9% in meat varieties. Trans fat produced naturally and taken from animal foods is low and does not pose a serious health risk. Artificially produced trans fats are obtained by saturating liquid vegetable oils with hydrogen to become more solid. Industrial trans fats are extremely harmful to health. It is known that excessive consumption of this oil, which is found in products packaged for many different purposes and in ready-to-eat foods, can lead to diseases that can have serious consequences.

Why is trans fat used?

Trans fats; It is a cheap, easy-to-use oil type that can last for a long time without deterioration. It gives a nice taste to food and prevents it from spoiling quickly. Due to these advantages, it is used to extend the shelf life of packaged foods. Trans-fat-used products are cheap, can stay on the shelf for a long time, and are enjoyed by consumers. Therefore, it is a preferred type of oil in the production of packaged foods. It is an oil that is frequently used in restaurants, especially as frying oil. It is preferred in the ready meals sector as it can be used repeatedly. Although it is an advantageous food in terms of cost and long service life, the use of trans fats, which seriously risks the health of consumers, has been restricted by many countries in the food sector. The use of industrial trans fats, except for trans fats naturally found in animal foods, in food sales, and mass consumption places is limited to a certain rate. With this practice, it is aimed to ensure that consumers reach foods prepared with healthier fats and prevent health problems caused by trans fat.

What is trans fat in?

Trans fats produced by chemical processes that enable vegetable oils to become solid at room temperature; It is used in various products for many purposes such as extending the shelf life of foods and making them more delicious. Foods with the highest trans fat content in the food industry:

  • Margarine
  • Bakery products such as bread and cake
  • Popcorn
  • Ice cream
  • Snacks
  • Fast food such as French fries, crispy chicken
  • It can be counted as coffee cream.

The amount of trans fat in packaged foods is specified in the ingredients section. People who want to reduce the use of trans fat and consume healthier fats; While shopping for food, they can examine the trans fat content of the product they will buy and choose the one with a lower or no trans fat content.

What are the harms of trans fat?

The high ratio of trans fats in the total daily fat intake creates a risk for many different diseases.

Excessive consumption of trans fat increases the risk of developing heart disease. Diets high in trans fat disrupt the balance between LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) in the body. It increases the ratio of LDL to HDL. Therefore, the rate of bad cholesterol in the body increases. This condition is an important risk factor for heart disease. It increases the likelihood of heart-related diseases such as coronary artery disease and heart attack. Reducing the amount of trans fat consumed in the diet may be effective in preventing heart disease.

Eating foods rich in trans fats is a risk factor for the development of Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, or diabetes as it is commonly known, is a condition in which blood sugar is higher than normal but the body cells cannot use this sugar sufficiently. In people with this disease, the possibility of suffering from heart, kidney, and eye diseases has increased when the treatment is not applied well and the blood sugar remains high. Increased trans fat consumption is an important factor in developing diabetes, which is a common disorder in society.

Increased inflammation has an important role in the development of chronic diseases such as arthritis (joint inflammation), heart diseases, and diabetes. Conditions that cause an inflammation response in the body by the immune system predispose to the development of chronic diseases. Excessive consumption of trans fat may play a role in the development of chronic diseases by causing increased inflammation in the body.

Trans fat can disrupt the vascular structure by causing damage to the innermost layer of the vessels. As a result of this deterioration, enlargement of the vessels may occur. It is necessary to maintain vascular health and for the proper movement of blood within the veins. Reducing the number of trans fats in the diet can help protect vascular health.

There are also studies showing that trans fats cause the development of some cancers. Studies have shown that it increases the risk of breast cancer in women.

Trans fats basically act by disrupting the balance of good and bad cholesterol in the blood. As a result of the impaired balance, heart problems may occur, inflammation in the body may increase and cause chronic diseases. The simple but effective procedure to avoid all these harmful effects of trans fat is to limit trans fat intake through diet.

What kind of fat should be consumed to be healthy?

For a healthy life, some of the daily calorie intakes should be met from fat. The important point is what type of oil this oil is. Trans fats; are harmful to health and should be avoided as much as possible. However, fats aren’t just made up of trans fats.

Saturated fats are a type of fat found in animal foods at high rates. Excessive consumption of saturated fat can lead to cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, saturated fats should be consumed in moderation. Foods rich in saturated fat: Red and white meat, whole milk and dairy products, tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil.

The most suitable type of fat to consume for a healthy life is unsaturated fats. Both mono and polyunsaturated fats help create a healthier diet. Examples of monounsaturated oils are vegetable oils such as olive oil and avocado oil. Also, nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts are foods with high monounsaturated fat content. Polyunsaturated fats are also known as essential oils. They cannot be produced in the body and must be taken from outside. One of the most well-known varieties of this group is omega 3 fatty acid. Like other polyunsaturated fats, omega 3 has a protective effect on the heart. It helps keep the heart healthy by reducing the level of LDL in the blood. Foods rich in omega 3 and other polyunsaturated fats: fish varieties such as salmon and geranium, walnuts, chia seeds, soybeans.

You can apply to a well-equipped health center for nutritional advice that will reduce your trans fat consumption and checks on diseases that can be caused by trans fat. We wish you healthy days.