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MomTalk.com November 24, 2017:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more


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Eliminating Trans Fats: Fad or Friend?

donuts3.jpgLast year, the culprit was carbs. Two years ago, fat was in the line of fire. And along the way, sugar, red meat and oils have all been targeted as foods to avoid. But as diet trends came and went, so too did concerns about these foods. Now, it appears that trans fats are the latest victim in the push to help the public trim their waistline and become healthier.

donuts3.jpg
By Karen Barrow

Last year, the culprit was carbs. Two years ago, fat was in the line of fire. And along the way, sugar, red meat and oils have all been targeted as foods to avoid. But as diet trends came and went, so too did concerns about these foods.

Now, it appears that trans fats are the latest victim in the push to help the public trim their waistline and become healthier. And while some restaurants may have added low-carb foods to their menus during the Atkin's diet craze, no one ever proposed eliminating them altogether, making the New York city ban on trans fats seem as important as avoiding second-hand smoke.

But in a year, will the trans fat terror be nothing more than another food fad?

There are two main types of naturally-occurring fats: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are also called "bad" fats because they can build up and stick to your arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are known as "good" fats because, within reason, they can be more safely consumed.

Trans fats are different. They are manufactured fats first developed in the 1900s by food manufacturers. "Trans fats are processed cooking oils that were developed for a longer shelf life," says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and spokesperson for the American Heart Association. In general, shortenings and margarine consist of these fats and the typical American consumes about 5.8 grams of trans fats every day.

The problem is that the process of making a trans fat artificially turns an oil or other natural fat into an unhealthy, saturated fat. It is believed that the consumption of these fats increases the risk of heart disease even more than saturated fats. "Trans fat is the worst fat," says Goldberg.
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