Recently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced a ban on trans fats. Trans fats have been popular since the 1960s due to their ability to spread easily after being taken out of the fridge and keep foods from going bad too quickly. It wasn’t until recent years that the health risks of trans fats was fully recognized. But how are they bad for you and why did the FDA move forward with this particular ban?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, trans fats are an â€œunsaturated fatty acid of a type occurring in margarines and manufactured cooking oils as a result of the hydrogenation process. Consumption of such acids is thought to increase the risk of atherosclerosis.”
Basically, trans fats are the byproduct of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) that help preserve the shelf life of certain foods and add to the overall flavor. Crisco is an infamous example of a hydrogenated shortening product. Unfortunately, the ramifications of eating trans fats are far worse than we previously imagined.
Trans fats have been linked to heart disease and a slew of other health problems such as high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes. Trans fat builds up in the arteries, the pathways of oxygenated blood moving from your heart to the rest of your body, and can harden into plaque. This plaque will eventually block your arteries, resulting in a heart attack.
The FDA is responsible for maintaining public health by assuring that what they eat is safe. By banning trans fats, they are helping to ensure that everyone is healthier and reduce the risk of health complications brought on by trans fats.
According to the FDA, the foods that most commonly contain trans-fat and you should do your best to avoid are:
There are, of course, many more. While the ban has already taken effect, companies have a full three years to fully rid their products of trans-fats and replace them with healthier substitutes. Therefore, make sure you always read the nutrition label on all food you buy