What is trans fat?

Trans fat is another term for trans-fatty acid. 

Trans fat is dangerous.

With the obesity epidemic in America more people are beginning to ask, what is trans fat and how can I spot it in my products.

Americans have opened up to look at their food a little bit closer.

What they have discovered and are still learning is that everything they put into their mouths will have an effect on their health in one way or another.

French fries and all other fried foods may taste good, but if not eaten in moderation you will become obese, and your health will fail.

What is trans fat

There are those who can eat trans fats and keep living life without suffering the effects of weight gain, but it creeps up later in life with signs of high blood pressure, kidney stones, degenerative heart problems, and other health issues. The list goes on.

Manufacturers of large food chains, especially those of fast-food chains, have mostly removed trans fats in their products. (1)

The Food and Drug Administration says by 2018 all U.S foods will be free of trans fat. (2)

The above statement is great news, but you still have to look out for it while you’re shopping as many products still have it, leaving you with the question, what is trans fat?

Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, are created by adding hydrogen to liquid oil.  

The liquid oil then turns into a solid.

Manufacturers of margarine and Crisco use trans fatty acids to improve the texture and stability of shelf life.

Check your cupboards for these products and do yourself and your family a favor by throwing them away.

French Fries

Since the awareness of just how bad trans fats are for your health, many large fast food chains have opted out of using this in their foods.

These fast food chains include:

  • Wendy’s
  • McDonalds
  • Burger King
  • Dairy Queen
  • Jack in the Box

Still, others have been slow to catch up with this trend.

Those companies slow on this movement are still providing foods with trans fats and in areas where obesity is rampant.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, for example, is still using trans fats in their French Fries.

Foods which are battered or fried.

what is trans fat

It may be a bit harder to find the information on smaller restaurants such as mom-pop diners.

Take the time to look at the restaurant’s website, they all have one now, and if they don’t consider alternative places that do.
Many places are voluntarily listing the oils on their menus and websites as the growing awareness continues.

Be aware of the term “Partially hydrogenated oil.”

Hydrogenated oils contain trans fat, which inevitably will raise the LDL (bad cholesterol), and lowers the HDL (good cholesterol).  It also has many other harmful effects, most notably hardening of arteries.

Pie crust and Pie

Unless you are making the pie crust with your own bought natural ingredients be aware store boxed pie crust.

Baked products in restaurants still use trans fats in their pies because of their long shelf life.

Pillsbury Frozen Pot Pie Crust Dough, as an example, has 15 grams of trans fat per pie.

However, there are companies such as Marie Callender’s frozen fruit and cream pies that have between one and four grams of trans fat each serving.

Here is a way to make a heart healthy pie crust:

Margarine sticks

It wasn’t that long ago that margarine was marketed as a healthier alternative to butter.

That is because margarine is made with vegetable oil instead of animal products such as dairy.

For the margarine to keep its form which is mostly solid, store brands depend on the hydrogenated oils that are mostly made up of trans fats and saturated fats.

Many people think because margarine is made up with vegetable oil rather than dairy then it must be healthier.

What is trans fat

That couldn’t be more any more wrong.  

Margarine is very unhealthy for your arteries which harden with plaque due to the stickiness of this product not breaking down in your body.

Companies such as Earth Balance derives its oil from organic and sustainable sources creating buttery spreads that are not only delicious but that are good for you, too.

Earth Balance gets its vegetable oil from sustainable organic farms in Brazil as well as Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sources in Malaysia.

Earth Balance creates the best butter sticks that taste as close to dairy butter as anyone can tell.

They also have manufactured a buttery spread that we use all the time here in our home, for years now.

It is best to for your health to buy buttery spreads or sticks of butter that are not loaded with trans fats and hydrogenated oils.

Waffles and Pancakes

Most stores bought mixes contain partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats.

Jiffy All-Purpose Baking Mix and Pioneer Buttermilk Baking Mix both contain trans fats.

It is not hard to find organic mixes these days with little effort.

The problem is people are too used to their ways of eating and find little reason to change.

When you become sick with hardened arteries, gallstones, kidney stones, or congenital heart failure, it can be too late.

In our home, we use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Pancake and Waffle mix.

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6 Replies to “What is trans fat?”

  1. I’ve heard of trans fat but never knew what it was.
    I’ve actually just recently asked what is trans fat so your post is timely.
    Thanks for the great informative info.

  2. Hello and thanks for sharing, trans fat has done so much damage to many. I am surprised to see how fries, donuts and so on is filled with this unhealthy fat. But it is good to see that many fast food places have turned to a more healthier way to prepare foods.
    Your post is so awesome and well detailed with lots of good information. Have a good day.

    1. You’re welcome! I am astonished at the amount of trans fat that is in our foods, too. Many Americans do not know they are eating a fat that does not break down in their bodies. Hence, all the sicknesses. I appreciate your comment.

  3. hi, thanks for your article I really enjoyed reading it. I have heard of trans fats before and very rarely have chips anymore even though they are my favourite food. Its really quite scary just how bad some of these oils are and just how difficult they are to take them out of your diet altogether, as they seem to be in everything. When im really craving for potato chips I simply tear of kale leaves, spray them with coconut oil and some sea salt and bake them in the oven, kale chips. Joanne

    1. Hi, you’re welcome. I love potato chips myself and every now and then I will indulge. I love the idea of tearing kale leaves, spraying with coconut and baking with sea salt!

      I’m going to have to give that a try. 

      Thanks for sharing and thanks for your comment. 

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