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How much trans fat is too much trans fat?

Jun 07, 2021 15:16 IST | By Vishakha Somani

From health experts to fitness bloggers, everyone touts the benefits of not consuming trans fats. But we all know that it is much easier said than done. Let's take a deep dive into the world of trans fat to understand why they even exist if everyone hates them!

What is trans fat?

Trans fat or trans fatty acids are a type of saturated fat. They are formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, making it solid at room temperature. Known as the worst type of fats, this notorious fat helps keep food products fresh for longer and taste better. It's why packaged food doesn't seem to go bad for months! 

Why are trans fats so bad?

Unlike other fatty acids, trans fats increase your "bad" cholesterol and lower your "good" cholesterol. If you consume a high-trans fat diet, your risk for heart disease and heart attacks becomes significantly higher. 

How much is okay to consume?

If you take a look at the products in your grocery cart, you'll notice the presence of trans fats in abundance. So while it may be impossible to avoid them altogether, the American Heart Association advises limiting your intake to less than 1 per cent of your total caloric intake. This means if you eat 2,000 calories in a day, then trans fat should not make up for more than 20 calories in your total daily diet. 

What are the main sources of trans fat?  

There is some amount of naturally occurring trans fat in dairy and meat but the biggest culprits tend to be processed foods. As per Mayo Clinic, the worst sources of trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil includes baked goods like cakes, pies; fast foods like French fries or onion rings; microwave popcorn; and frozen ready-to-fry foods.

When in doubt, read the nutrition labels before buying any manufactured food products.

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