What Are Trans Fats

Trans Fats are a form of unsaturated fats.  There are two types of trans fats, natural and artificial.  Natural trans fats occur in meat and dairy from cattle, sheep, and goats.   When these animals digest grass, the bacteria in their stomach cause the trans fats to form naturally.

Generally, these types of trans fats make up 2% to 6% of the fat in dairy products and 3% to 9% of the fats in cuts of beef or lamb.  However, based on the research I conducted, a moderate intake of meat and dairy products does not seem to be a health challenge.  Dairy fat is believed to be helpful. 

Communication With My Doctor

Talking with my doctor

During my annual physical my doctor told me that artificial or industrial trans fats are harmful to your health.  He said that these fats occur when vegetables are chemically altered to stay solid at room temperature, which gives them a much longer shelf life. 

My doctor told me that artificial trans fats may increase your risk of heart disease.

My Doctor Mentioned A Few Studies

In a series of clinical studies, people consuming trans fats instead of other fats or carbs had an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol without a corresponding rise in HDL (good) Cholesterol.

My doctor said that most other fats tend to increase both LDL and HDL.

He mentioned that replacing other dietary fats with trans fats increases my ratio of total to HDL (good) cholesterol and negatively affects lipoproteins, both of which are important risk factors for heart disease.

My doctor did say that increasing trans fats could lead to heart disease.  He also said that increasing trans fats could increase the risk of diabetes.  He showed me the statistics from several studies.  All of the statistics showed that there was a relationship between consuming industrial trans fats and increasing A1C (a diabetes indicator). 

How To Avoid Industrial Trans Fats

If you want to avoid trans fats, read the labels carefully. Don’t eat foods that have any partially hydrogenated items on the ingredients list. 

However, the labels do not always go far enough. Some processed foods, such as regular vegetable oils, have trans fats, but they do not name them on the label or ingredients list.

Reading labels will help to ensure you’re minimizing your trans-fat intake; the only way to be sure is to cut processed foods out of your routine entirely.

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.