Thursday, January 24, 2013

Angry Fats

Angry birds have nothing on these angry fats—trans fats.

For years, we’ve known that trans fats are hazardous to health. They’re  oils that have been chemically altered into solids—mostly for shelf-stable reasons. We also know that they can cause unhealthy cholesterol levels, cardiovascular problems, insulin imbalance, blood sugar havoc, greater free radical damage from oxidative stress and unhealthy levels of inflammation.

Now, we’ve learned that trans fats are also angry fats. A recent study warns that margarine and other foods with trans fatty acids can make a person angry, aggressive and irritable—and should not be fed to kids in school or to those in prisons.

I’ll take that a step further and say that no one should ever eat trans fats.

Unfortunately, these fats are still abundantly found in conventional foods on the market—including ones that say, “0 Trans Fats.” How can that be? Here’s why: an FDA law allows for a half gram of trans fat per food serving. The result? Small serving sizes can add up quickly to more trans fats than people think they’re getting or want.  This, of course, is opportunistic for the conventional food industry because they don’t want you to know what’s in their products, including trans fat content.

Pretty sneaky, huh?

As if the “O Trans Fats” enigma weren’t confusing enough, there are other names used for trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils. So be on the lookout for those, too—and avoid them.

You’ll also want to stay away from conventionally prepared food, baked goods or packaged food items on the market. As mentioned earlier, the trans fats act as a preservative so that they can last longer on the shelf—and that’s important to the conventional food industry. Fast foods, too, can be especially full of trans fats, so beware.

Check out WebMD’s top 10 foods with trans fats.

The truth is that there are much better fats to choose from. For example, you can get a lot of healthy fats from properly grown and prepared nuts and seeds, avocados, extra virgin coconut oil, flaxseeds and flax oil, extra virgin olive oil and other sources.

You can even get healthy fats from beef. Case in point: grassfed beef contains two to four times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in a standard cut of meat. Additionally, the amounts of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, are three to five times higher in grassfed beef as well.  Omega-3s and CLA support cellular health, healthy brain function and healthy cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

The same is true for vitamin E—a fat-soluble vitamin—levels in grassfed meat; it contains nearly four times the amount of vitamin E than meat that is commercially grown. Additionally, grassfed products are lower in unhealthy fats, cholesterol, and calories. In fact, meat from grassfed animals has only about one third the fat—healthy fat—as a similar cut from a grainfed animal.

So, stay away from those angry fats. Choose healthy fats instead.