SENIORS LOOK AT TRANS FATS

Jun 5th, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Trans Fats Linked to Coronary Disease

Senior citizens have been warned for a decade now that trans fats are health hazards. Just what are trans fats?  Wikipedia says this:

“Trans fat is the common name for unsaturated fat with trans-isomer (E-isomer) fatty acid(s). Because the term describes the configuration of a double carbon–carbon bond, trans fats are sometimes monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, but never saturated. Trans fats exist in nature and also occur during the processing of polyunsaturated fatty acids in food production.” (Wikipedia)

Food manufacturers began hydrogenating (adding hydrogen) to food products because they discovered both flavor and shelf life improved by the addition. The process changes liquid oils (corn and soybean oil) into solids when hydrogen is added; this is labeled ‘hydrogenation’ and results in trans fats.

The problem is that coronary heart disease increases with consumption of trans fats. It raises bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL). And improved flavor and shelf life are not worth heart disease.

Foods That Contain Trans Fats

What kind of foods are likely to contain trans fats?

  • fried food at fast food restaurants
  • buttered popcorn packaged in stores and at the cinema
  • bread/biscuit products packaged in stores
  • pies and anything containing lard
  • many more…

The point here is that we senior citizens are literate, and we need to be reading labels on food products. Food manufacturers are required to label anything that contains trans fats, and they must tell us the quantity  of trans fats in the product. Another word for trans fats is ‘partially hydrogenated oil’… of any kind. That language can be found in the ingredients list. So you need to be reading the label of contents as well as the ingredients.

Armored with this information, we seniors can be smart shoppers and avoid buying anything that contains trans fats.



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