Saturday, November 11, 2006

No more delicious, crispy, french fries for me

Trans fats, can live without them. These manufactured fats start life as a perfectly worthy vegetable-derived fatty acid molecule that's bent in at least one position on its long carbon chain--called a cis unsaturated fat. As a result of a partial hydrogenation process, the newly straightened out trans fat molecules are: 1) solid at room temperature, 2) resistant to aging in a rancid sort of way, and 3) full of that great fatty mouth feel found in foods we love to eat but should avoid.

Trans fats are known to elevate levels of cholesterol and triglycerides which, in turn, is known to increase risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). The elevated incidence of gummed up arteries, however, attributable to trans fat intake exceeds that which would be predicted by cholesterol levels alone. Trans fats actually upset endothelial cells--the worthy little cells that line blood vessels--causing them to produce cellular alarm signals as if they were under attack by bacteria or traumatized from a bagel knife.

Food manufacturers are now required to post trans fat content on food labels. Be aware that manufacturers of foods that contain less than 500 mg of trans fatty acids per serving are allowed to list their trans fat content as zero.

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