Fats can add a great taste to food and make our mouths feel good. This is often at a steep price however. There are three main categories of fats. They are:
- Good Fats – These are fats that keep your body running well and you arteries clean. They include omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats.
- Okay Fats – These are fats that in moderation can be beneficial and in excess can be deadly. These are the saturated and polyunsaturated fats. You really need to eliminate of limit these fats from your diet. Saturated fat is mostly found in animal products. It raises LDL or bad cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fat is found in Mayonnaise, some salad dressings, corn oil, and sunflower oil.
- Bad Fats – These types of fat are killers. Trans or hydrogenated fat and partially hydrogenated fat are good examples. During the hydrogenating process, the cheapest oils are mixed with a metal catalyst. This is usually nickel. the oils are them subjected to hydrogen gas at high pressures and high temperature. This is done until the product is saturated. They then add emulsifiers, then deodorize the oil at high temperatures.
Margarine is a great example of a product with hydrogenated oil. Margarine has to be bleached, flavored and dyed so that it looks and tastes like the butter we’ve come to know and enjoy. Adding the hydrogen helps the oils to remain solid at room temperatures.
This process however changes the chemical nature of the oil to an unnatural “trans” state. This raises the LDL cholesterol while lowering the HDL or good cholesterol. This trans fat is present in butter, margarine, most peanut butter, and some chips. They are also found in almost every shelf stable foods like pastries, cereals, and breads to name a few.
Reading labels doesn’t always tell the truth about trans fats. According to the FDA, “if the serving contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, the content when declared shall be expressed as zero”. This means that if the quantity of trans fats per serving is 0.49 grams it will say zero on the package.
If you eat two or three servings of products like these each meal you could get several grams of trans fat while thinking you’re getting none. In the end eating more fruits and vegetable in our diets is the only way to ensure you’re not getting too much trans fat.
It falls on us to make sure our diet is the best it can be. Trusting others with our diet health can sometimes lead to disaster. Unless we grow our own foods we have to trust people who make and grow our foods to some degree. But if we can get fresh fruits and vegetables from local sources, we have a much better chance of eating well and eating healthy.