There’s been a lot of talk about trans fats in the media over the last 5 or 6 years, with New York City actually banning trans fats back in 2006. I want to talk a little about why these fats are so bad for us, and more importantly — how we can avoid them in our day-to-day lives.
These are fats that sneak up on us, so it’s important to be armed with all the information you can.
Trans fats are manufactured fats (except for the ones that occur naturally, but they are small enough to not seriously worry about).
The ones that are the most dangerous for your body don’t occur naturally in the wild, but rather happen through an industrial process. Already, if you’ve read any of the previous Nutrition Articles on my site, you’ll know that eating too much manufactured fat is an extremely easy way to ruin your fat loss and put some serious bumps on the road towards a lean, ripped body.
Trans Fat is created when a manufacturer adds hydrogen to vegetable oil. They call this “hydrogenation”, which is why you hear about “hydrogenated vegetable oil” and the “non-hydrogenated” variety.
This process makes the vegetable oil (it could be anything, but it’s often soy or canola oil, being the cheapest and, not coincidentally, not very good for you) thicker than it normally would be, which means one thing — you can keep food on the shelf longer.
Ever poured extra virgin olive oil all over some bruschetta? Pretty greasy if it gets on your hands, right? Yeah, obviously — it’s a fat. It’s something we put up with in exchange for eating great-quality fats that taste delicious.
Trans fats are all about eliminating this greasiness, not spoiling, and lasting longer on the shelves. Manufacturers came up with this hydrogenation process in order to make more profits by being able to “produce” and ship food in packages that could sit on a shelf for a lot longer.
Remember: long expiration dates for foods that should otherwise rot = bad. It means there’s stuff in there you don’t want to be eating.
Ok, you say — so they add a little hydrogen to some vegetable oil. What’s the problem?
A few things to remember:
No one who is serious about getting in shape, getting a kick-ass body, and achieving their fitness goals is sitting there eating only “diet” and “health”-labeled products in the first place. They’re eating nature’s health products: natural whole food that doesn’t have a marketing team behind it.
Do the same!