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How to be a trans fat detective

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A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. No amount of trans fat is healthy if your diet does not contain good fat, your body will use the deformed fats instead, which contributes to major health risks from heart disease to cancer. trans fat can be found in foods like: a) Baked foods: Cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pizza dough, and some breads like hamburger buns. b) Fried foods: doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken including chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells. c) Snack foods: potato, corn, and tortilla chips, candy: packaged and microwave popcorn. d) Solid fats: Hard margarine (stick margarine and semi solid vegetable shortening). e) Pre-mixed products: Cake mix, pancake mix, and chocolate drink mix. Trans fat acids tend to raise total LDL(bad cholesterol) levels and lower HDL(good cholesterol). It MUST be noted that no amount of trans fat is healthy, and should be kept below 1 percent of you total calories.
What you'll need: 
Use your own investigative skills to avoid trans fat:
When shopping, read the LABELS and watch out for " partially hydrogenated oil" in the ingredients. Even if the food claims to be free of trans fat acids, this ingredient tells you that the product is a trans fat suspect.
When eating out, put fried foods, biscuits, and other baked foods on your "skip" list.
Avoid products unless you know that the restaurant has eliminated trans fat.
Most countries have no labelling regulations for fast food, and it can even be advertised as cholesterol free and cooked in vegetable oil.
Eating one doughnut at breakfast (3.2g of TFA), large French fries at lunch (6.8g TFA) adds 10 grams of TFA to one's diet, according to the American Heart Association.
While it is prudent to watch the levels of cholesterol one eats, healthy fats can actually help your body process cholesterol in a more beneficial manner. For example: a) Monounsaturated fats lower total LDL ( bad cholesterol) levels, while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). b) Polyunsaturated fats can lower triglycerides and fight inflammation. c) On the other hand, saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol. Trans fat are even worse, since they can not only raise LDL (bad cholesterol), but also lower the HDL (good cholesterol).
BOTTOM LINE: HOW MUCH FAT IS TOO MUCH? This depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age and most importantly your state of mind. The average recommendation for every individual are: Keep total fat intake to 20-30% of calories Limit saturated fats to less than 10% (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet) Limit trans fat to 1% of calories (2grams per day for a 2000 cal diet) Limit cholesterol to 300 mg per day. However, if you suffer from a cardiovascular disease, the American Heart association suggest a similar plan, but limiting saturated fats to less than 7% of your calories (140 calories for a 2000 calorie diet).
How to implement these recommendations? The simplest way to approach fats is to replace the saturated and trans fat in your diet with healthy monounsaturated and polysaturated fats, and to increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fat friendly lifestyle tips: Out with the bad and in with the good. Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat, unhealthy chemicals, and made with inferior, overly processed damaged oils. Create your own dressings with high quality, cold pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil or sesame oil and your favourite herbs.
What's better: Butter or margarine? Both have good and bad points. With margarine, choose the soft-tub versions and make sure that the product has zero grams trans fats and no partially hydrogenated oils. regardless of whether you choose butter or margarine, use it in moderation and avoid adding it to other foods. Olive oil is a healthier substitute.
The meat of the matter. Beef, pork,lamb, and dairy products are high in saturated fat. Choose low fat dairy in moderation. Go for lean cuts of meat, and stick to white meat, which has less saturated fat.
Don't go no fat, go good fat. If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing all the bad fats with good fats. this might mean replacing some of the meat you eat with beans and legumes, and using vegetable oils rather than tropical oils, which tend to contain more saturated fats.
Ask what type of oil your food is cooked in. When eating out, ask your server or counter person what type of oil they use in cooking. If it's partially hydrogenated oil, run the other way. Otherwise, see if you can request your food to be specially prepared with olive oil, which most restaurants have in stock.
Whether a business meeting over lunch, dinner from a neighborhood or a fast meal with the kids, eating out is a part of our lives. We eat out because it is quick, easy and it's fun. But is it healthy? It can be. Plan ahead, choose wisely, and you will find foods that fit into your meal plan. Always ask for calorie and fat information on menu items. You can ask for: skinless chicken, no butter on a particular fish, broiled instead of fried, and your sauces to be served on the side.
Here are some tips on how to order your meals? If you don't know what is in the dish or don't know the serving, ask. Try to eat the same portion as you would at home. If the serving is too large, share with your dining partner. Eat slowly. Ask for fish or meat broiled with no extra butter. Order your baked potato plain. If you are on a low-salt meal plan, ask that no salt be added to your food. Ask for sauces and gravies on "the side". Read the menu creatively. Order a fruit cup for an appetizer or a melon for dessert. Ask for substitutions. Instead of French fries, request a double order of a vegetable. Ask for calorie low items, such as salad dressings, even if they are not on the menu. Vinegar and a dash of oil or lemon are a better choice than high fat dressing. Limit alcohol, which adds empty calories and no nutritional value to your meal.
Believe it or not, you can make healthy choices when choosing or making your meals. Always know exactly what you want and plan ahead of every meal. For many years, fats in our diet has been considered the culprit in obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the resulting "low fat" foods and diets haven't resulted in most people controlling their weight or becoming healthier. In fact, the opposite is true. Shifting through all the conflicting information can leave you with even more questions. Reducing the intake of some types of fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, chronic diseases,etc.While other type of fats are absolutely essential to our health and well being. Be good to yourselves.
Cut your total daily calories to loose weight- fats are more filling, and curbing hunger can stop you from indulging in additional calories.
Omega -3 fatty acids reduce CVD incidence (American Heart Association)
Omega-3 fatty acids can be an effective therapy for both the treatment and prevention of human liver cancers (University of Pittsburg study).
Omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression probably because it increases human gray matter in the brain (University of Pittsburg study).
Eating fatty fish, high in omega 3, lowers the likelihood of developing "silent" brain lesions that lead to memoty loss and dementia (University study in Finland).
When choosing OMEGA-3 supplements, choose those that are mercury free, pharmaceutical grade and molecular distilled.
Make sure that the supplements contain both DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA ( eicosapentaeonic acid).
Supplements with higher concentrations of EPA are better. A good guide ratio to look for is 3:2 (EPA:DHA).


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