Lorie Johnson

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Trans Fats: Avoid Them Like The Plague


Trans Fats. You've probably heard of them. You probably even know they're bad for you. But if you're like most people, you're a little iffy about what they really are and how to avoid them. 

Let me assure you, it's worth the little bit of effort to learn about them and once you do, you will hopefully be motivated to avoid them like the plague!

First of all, trans fats are man-made. Scientists years ago had the brilliant idea of a cheap food additive that prolongs a product's shelf life. Ever wonder how those Twinkies stay "fresh" for two years in your pantry when those made-from-scratch cupcakes start turning green after just a week? The answer is, the cupcakes contain natural fats, probably good ol' fashioned butter, when the Twinkies contain trans fats. 

Here is a perfect example of unintended consequences. Because even though it's a swell idea to try to prolong the life of our foods,  unfortunately, science is increasingly discovering the item used to do that is really, really bad for us. And when you think about it, it's not surprising. I mean, our bodies don't know what to do with food that isn't made by God. 

It's far better to forego the trans fats and ingest natural, saturated fats such as butter and eggs, because at least our bodies know what to do with those things! I've interviewed many doctors and nutritionists, most recently Dr. Michael Aziz, the author of "The Perfect 10 Diet," who all say trans fats are making us obese and leading to a whole host of serious medical conditions not the least of which are cancer and heart disease.  

To put it simply, trans fats are made by taking a regular, natural fat, and injecting hydrogen into it at high pressure. Yum. It often turns liquid fat into solid fat. A perfect example is Crisco shortening. They should put a picture of a can of Crisco in the dictionary next to the phrase, "trans fat."

Note in the description of how to make a trans fat I said HYDROGEN. That's the key to recognizing trans fats. Most of their chemical names contain some form of the word "hydrogen." You will not see in any product's list of ingredients the words "trans fat."  That doesn't mean it's not there, it's just not technically called that. Look for words like "partially hydrogenated" or "hydrolyzed" or anything with "hydro" in the description. That's a trans fat.

Now, if you're looking at the ingredient lists on your favorite foods for those types of terms, prepare to be overwhelmed.  If you're at the grocery store almost EVERYTHING on the cookie and cracker aisle contains trans fats. 

Even the foods that say they don't contain trans fats actually do, because in really tiny print it says "per serving" which means it contains it, just not enough to be considered a full serving's worth. Almost all baked goods contain trans fats unless they are organic.  Read those labels.

But what if you're eating out? How do you know whether the restaurant is cooking your food in trans fats? Easy. Ask. And if they are, ask them to instead use butter or olive oil. Fast food restaurants are notorious for using trans fats in the deep fryer. 

To give you an idea of how bad trans fats are, New York, New York - the city so nice they named it twice - has banned trans fats in all restaurants. That means it's illegal for restaurants to cook with it! 

Many of the less-healthy establishments don't like the new ban because trans fats are cheaper. But the restaurants that have been using natural fats all along are relieved that the playing field is more level now.

Do yourself a favor: get off the trans fats!!  God wants us to care for our bodies. They are temples of the Holy Spirit!

 

 

 

 

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 1:06 PM



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