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Transfats & Processed Foods
Fat in general gets a bad name, but we need Essential Fatty Acids or (EFAs) for our body to function properly. Unlike other fats, trans-fats, or trans-fatty acids, are largely artificial fats.
Trans fats are made by a chemical process called partial hydrogenation. Liquid vegetable oil (an otherwise healthy monounsaturated fat) is packed with hydrogen atoms and converted into a solid fat.
This makes what seems to be an ideal fat for the food industry to work with because of its high melting point, its creamy, smooth texture and its reusability in deep-fat frying.
Partially hydrogenated fats, or trans fats, extend the shelf life of food. They also add a certain pleasing mouth-feel to all manner of processed foods.
Think of buttery crackers and popcorn, crisps, biscuits, crispy French fries, crunchy fish sticks, creamy frosting and melt-in-your mouth pies and pastries. All these foods owe those qualities to trans fats.
Hydrogenated fats were seen as a healthier alternative to saturated fats: using stick margarine was deemed better for you than using butter, yet numerous studies now conclude that they are are actually worse.
Saturated fats raise total and so called bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and, crucially, they also interfere with the absorption of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).
Trans fats do exactly the same, but they also strip levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, the kind that helps unclog arteries.
Trans fats also increase triglyceride levels in the blood, adding to our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Research shows that the chance of becoming pregnant drops by 73% for every extra 4g of trans fats (the equivalent of ½ portion of takeaway fried chicken) eaten every day!
If you think how much trans fats are present in foods you might eat every day such as crisps, cakes, biscuits, chips you can see how easy it would be to overload your body with trans fats.
Research shows that 80% of women with a high intake of trans fats had problems with ovulation.
Semen needs to be rich in prostaglandins which are made from EFAs, so men also need to avoid trans fats.
Processed Foods -- easy, cheap, convenient.
One thing to get clear in your head is that when a food manufacturer makes a product they want it to:
a) Look good
b) Taste good
c) Be cheap to produce
d) Sell well
e) Give them maximum profits
Nutritional value, sugar, sweeteners and trans fats content are immaterial to them. They are in the business of making a product that the general public will buy repeatedly in order to sustain their money making business.
Food is not meant to come in cellophane or plastic bags, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles or tubs to be pushed into our mouths with no effort spent on preparation or proper cooking!
Next time you're in the supermarket look at the labels on products before you buy. Check for: sugar content, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats, salt, high fructose corn syrup.
Remember the manufacturer puts them there to disguise the use of poor quality ingredients with not just little, but potentially, no nutritional value at all.
Don't be deceived by products which claim to be "low sugar" or "low fat". Low sugar products generally have artificial sweeteners added and low fat products have extra sugar added to improve the taste!
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