Yes, we’ve heard about all those dangerous fats in our diet, especially in processed foods as trans-fats. The following are deadly facts you need to know about trans-fats, they…
- cause up to 100,000 premature deaths from heart disease in the U.S. alone each year;
- bring on diabetes;
- are connected to many forms of cancer;
As if the above diseases aren’t enough, a new study from the University of California San Diego studied 1,000 healthy men under age 45. The men’s diets were noted and assessed and then they each took a memory test. The test consisted of looking at a series of word cards. Each participant had to state whether each word had appeared on a previous card or not...click to continue reading...
The research team presented their results at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in 2014.
- Men who ate more trans-fats performed worse on these word recognition and recall tests – even after adjusting for factors like age, education and mental abnormalities like depression;
- Men who ate the most trans-fats saw a minimum of 10% reduction in the amount of words correctly remembered.
- For each additional gram of trans-fat consumed, men lost recall of more words.
Trans-fats INCREASE Food Shelf-life – DECREASE Human Life
According to researcher Dr. Beatrice Golomb, "From a health standpoint, trans-fat consumption has been linked to higher body weight, more aggression, and heart disease. As I tell patients, while trans-fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people."
The results doesn’t surprise me as a clinical practitioner because I’ve followed the research of cognitive decline in many of my clients, especially seniors, whose diets included trans-fats. Okay, so we often make excuses that this cognitive decline in the senior group is because of age…HOWEVER, this recent study was conducted on healthy men in their 40s who had little, if any, preexisting health disorders.
It’s not as easy as it sounds to simply avoid trans-fats, unless you only eat what you’ve prepared and, therefore, can control every ingredient. Food additives are sneaky.
So just avoid-trans fats to keep your brain healthy, right? Unfortunately it's not that simple. In 1999, the FDA proposed that products using trans-fats be specifically listed on their label, even though for six years previous to 1999, they had access to studies showing the health dangers and the accumulated toxic effects of trans-fats. Because of outrage through better consumer and advocate education, the new labels finally appeared in 2006. Okay, so that should have been the end of that, right?....Not so.
Five Most Common Sources of Trans-fats
- 1. Fried Fast Food Facts…
One medium size serving of French fries contains eight grams of trans-fat – that’s 35% of the FDA's recommended daily value of saturated fats in ONE SERVING. In addition, the French fries contain eight grams of saturated fats, making this food even worse for you. Add a fried chicken sandwich and you're way over your limit for the day-or the week! It's recommended that you keep your saturated fat intake to below 20%, aiming for five percent if possible.
What can you do instead? Avoid fast food or prepared food that you take home a bake/cook. At home, slice baking potatoes or sweet potatoes, spray them with nonstick spray (check the label for no trans-fats) and sprinkle with salt. Broil them in the oven for a healthier alternative to French fries.
- 2. Commercial Baked Goods
Commercially baked goods are packed with trans-fats. One slice of pound cake contains 4.5 grams of trans-fat and 3.5 grams of saturated fat. One donut contains five grams of trans-fat and four grams of saturated fat. Many of the baked goods you pick up at the store or local bakery are loaded with margarine and shortening, both of which are high in trans-fats.
What can you do to satisfy your sweet tooth? Bake your goodies using fat substitutes and low fat recipes. I like baked goods with coconut oil or small amounts of real butter, it’s healthier and jam-packed with flavor.
- 3. Frozen Pre-made Foods
Check labels on those pot pies, fish sticks and frozen desserts – you’ll most likely find high percentages of trans-fats.
What can you do? Fry your own fish in olive, Grapeseed or coconut oil, bake your own desserts and only purchase frozen items occasionally but be sure they are low in both trans-fats, saturated fats and wheat/gluten-free when possible, especially if you are avoiding foods that accelerate inflammation.
- 4. Chips, etc.
You may think you're being pretty good because you bought low fat potato chips, but check the trans-fats – think again. Always check the labels on potato chips, corn chips, snack crackers and other crunchy snacks. Most crunchy snacks have been fried or baked with trans-fats or saturated fats, so look for healthier alternatives.
What can you buy instead? Find brands of trans-fat free and wheat/gluten free crackers, etc. They even make healthy organic popcorn now with no trans-fats and its taste is amazing – assuming you don’t have sensitivity to corn.
- 5. Margarine and Shortening
Butter is loaded with saturated fat and margarine and shortening are loaded with trans-fat. It may seem like there's no way to win, but you can limit your usage of these items and replace some of them with healthier fats. For instance, there are certain dishes and foods I want the taste of real organic butter. That said, I only use it maybe once a month for that special recipe. Everything in moderation! AND, be sure the real butter is organic because all those chemicals used in animal products accumulate in fat so butter and cheeses are loaded if they’re not organic.
What can you do? Use olive oil but don’t cook on high heat as it can become carcinogenic. I use coconut oil for all my cooking, baking and sautéing because it remains stable even in high heat but use caution because it does have a smoke ratio. I cook a lot and also teach clients to shop and cook healthy. I often add coconut oil after cooking or on raw foods for the buttery flavor and I use flavored balsamic vinegars and Grapeseed oils…they add amazing depth and enhance all other ingredients in a healthy simple way.
Trans-fats have been in processed foods for years without consumer knowledge through disclosure. You might now be asking, “How can that be if the FDA knows these fats are health-depleting?”
Here’s the scoop. The FDA's labeling laws allow a product to claim it's FREE OF TRANS-FATS...even if it isn't, that’s right! They consider it "trans-fat-free" as long as it has less than .5 grams per serving.
You might not think half a gram is enough to worry about and avoid, allow me to enlighten you. If you consume a 2,000 calorie diet, it only takes 20 additional calories from trans-fats to raise your risk of heart disease by more than 20% – a risk I’m not willing to take, are you?
So, you see now that simply reading labels isn’t insurance you’re avoiding trans-fats…you need to stop buying processed foods altogether. BEWARE that if the food expiration date has a long self-life it’s likely there are trans-fats hiding in it under legal aliases.
How do you insure no trans-fats? Easy, switch to fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, animal products, healthy omega oil supplements and healthy oils for cooking – it helps protect brain health AND overall health, Naturally.
In my next investigative report, I’ll share which good fats and fat supplements that should be taken daily to protect not only cardiovascular and brain health but also avoid and reduce inflammation.
Your Partner in Health,