Ban Trans Fats from Your Diet
What are they? And what do they do to your body?
Over the past several years you’ve probably seen the dangers of trans fats exposed in the media and “trans fat free” callouts plastered on food labels. What are trans fats and how can one food ingredient do so much damage? Let’s take a closer look.
Man-made trans fats are created by bubbling hydrogen gas through liquid vegetable oil under high temperatures in the presence of a metal catalyst. This process changes the chemical structure of the fatty acids in the vegetable oil to produce a semisolid, plastic-like fat that can then be used to extend shelf life, enhance taste, and improve the texture of foods like piecrust and biscuits. The end product, called partially hydrogenated oils, may make food taste better and last longer, but the trans fats within are extremely bad for your body. Trans fats wreak havoc on your triglycerides (the fat in your blood) and your cholesterol, contributing to insulin resistance and increasing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Natural sources of trans fats are not harmful and can be found in certain cuts of meat and some dairy products, but the majority of trans fats in our diets come from the harmful, man-made trans fats found in processed foods. Trans fats may even fly under the radar in many grocery-aisle foods because food manufacturers can tout their products as “trans fat free” as long as a single serving contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats. These small quantities can add up quickly and even very small amounts of trans fats can do a lot of harm.
Don’t be fooled by “no trans fats” claims. Examine ingredient lists carefully and steer clear of any foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils. Clif Bar products never use partially hydrogenated oils or any other engineered fats that can harm your body or slow you down.
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