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More about Trans Fat

  • Remains solid at room temperature 
  • Resistance to oxidative damage, the oil's shelf life is extended 
  • High in Commercial Value 
  • Increase Food Shelf Life, but Shorten Human Life
  • 10-fold higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease compared to Saturated Fatty Acid 
  • Trans fat (trans fatty acids) is the worst kind of fat, far worse than saturated fat

There are four main types of Fatty Acids:

  1. Saturated Fatty Acid
  2. MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acid
  3. PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acid
  4. Trans Fatty Acid

a. Solid forms at room temperature SFA (Saturated Fatty Acid) is found most in animal foods like meat, poultry, butter (which contain 66% SFA), and whole milk. Other sources of SFA include coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils. This type of fat is very visible in beef, while less visible in others such as palm oil

b. MUFA (Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid) is derived from plant sources, such as canola (62% MUFA), peanut (49% MUFA) and olive (77%). Olive oil has the highest content of MUFA among most vegetable oils. MUFA is also found in olive oil margarine, canola margarine, and peanut butter.

c. PUFA (Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid) are primarily found in vegetable oils and fish sources. Omega-6 PUFA is derived from vegetable oils. Salad dressing, margarine, and mayonnaise containing these oils are therefore high in PUFA. Omega-3 PUFA are found primarily in fish. At room temperature, PUFA is in liquid form. Even in cold temperatures, PUFA still remains as liquid since it has a lower melting point than MUFA or SFA.

most PUFA consumed these days, like corn, soy, or safflower are often commercially processed. Their molecular structure is greatly modified. The health enhancement properties of PUFA have largely been lost in this process.

Original healthy sources of natural PUFA are found in nuts and seeds. Also, cold water fish such as salmon contain a good amount of PUFA. The PUFA found in processed vegetable oil such as corn oil is structurally changed and not good for the body.

d. Trans fat (Trans Fatty Acid) remains solid at room temperature. They can be then turned into shortening and margarine. By increasing its resistance to oxidative damage, the oil's shelf life is extended. Its commercial value is increased. 

Fat and Cardiovascular Disease

While some fats are essential for good health, like MUFA and PUFA, other such as trans fat is harmful to our bodies. Therefore, it is the type of dietary fat that matters and not the total amount of fat consumed that decides the cardiovascular disease risk.

This has been well documented in population studies. For example, Greeks consume much lesser SFA and more MUFA (in olive oil) as compared to the Americans, even though they may have similar fat intakes. They also have one of the lowest rates of heart attacks in the world. Japanese who live in Japan have the lowest rate of heart attacks in the world. They also consume an abundance of raw fish (sashimi) that are high in natural SFA and N3 EFA (from the PUFA in the meat of the fish). The lower rates of cardiovascular disease is not directly related to total fat intake, but more with the kind of fat consumed. This is further confirmed by studies within Japan, where it is found that the incidence of cardiovascular disease among fishing villages is lower than farming villages, where the diet is higher in grain. 

 
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