Trans fats are your worst enemies. According to the American Heart Association and scientific research, trans fats increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, inflammation, and cancer (1), (2). To counteract this, the FDA has put restrictions on the use of trans fats (3). Unfortunately, many foods we routinely overconsume are still loaded with partial trans fats.
So, if you think you have gained weight, are finding it hard to lose weight, and don’t feel as fit as you used to be, you should start avoiding trans fats. This article lists 15 trans fat foods that are fatal and belong to the bin instead of your gut. Take a look.
But first, you’ve got to know why trans fats are so bad for your health. Let me take you back to basics and help you understand what trans fats really are and how they affect the body.
What Are Trans Fats?
Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids. They are found in meager amounts in milk, butter, lamb, and beef. The chemical structure of the unsaturated fatty acids has more than one double bond and a “cis” (on the same side of the double bond) configuration. However, many food companies routinely use trans fats by partially hydrogenating the cis-trans fats. The trans configuration helps enhance the taste, increase the shelf life, and is inexpensive. But this “trans” (diagonally opposite side of the double bond) is dangerous for your health.
These trans fats lower the good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) and increase bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), thereby increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also cause weight gain, which ultimately leads to diabetes and obesity-related health complications.
So, it is best that you avoid foods that are high in trans fats. Scroll down to take a look at the 15 high trans fats foods.
15 Foods High In Trans Fats
1. Cakes And Pies
Cakes and pie mixes contain a lot of trans fats. Though they may list 0 trans fats, according to the rules and guidelines, the companies are allowed to write 0 g trans fats if they contain 0.5 g trans fats per serving. And as you know, not many of us stick just one serving. Several servings can make you pile on trans fats and lead to arterial blocks in the long run.
2. Biscuits, Cookies, And Crackers
Biscuits, crackers, and cookies all have a flaky texture. And most food companies use trans fats to build the crunchy texture that we love so much. Trans fats increase the shelf life, which allows them to sell the product for a longer time and helps the buyer to store them for months. Make biscuits, cookies, and crackers using healthy oils and less sugar or a substitute of refined sugar, which are healthier than the packaged ones.
3. Margarine, Butter, Tallow, And Lard
Animal fats like tallow and lard and dairy fats like margarine and butter are storehouses of unhealthy trans fats. A pat of butter contains 0.2 grams of trans fats, but we consume a lot more butter than just a pat of it per day. One tablespoon of margarine contains 2.1 grams of trans fats, and tallow and lard are animal fats used to make fries and other fried foods. At high temperatures, tallow and lard become toxic and unhealthy for your heart.
4. Microwave Popcorn
The flavored and crispy popcorn in the movies is a match made in heaven. But make sure you don’t get your ticket to heaven so quick! Popcorn, in general, is a great source of fiber and vitamins, but not the microwaved or movie popcorns. So, it is best to avoid consuming packaged popcorn.
5. Breakfast Sandwiches
If you are in the habit of grabbing a packaged sandwich in the morning, you are probably consuming a whole lot of trans fats in the first meal of your day. The packaged sandwiches contain about 1 gram of trans fats and have other ingredients that contain partially hydrogenated oils. So, avoid consuming packaged breakfast sandwiches. Have a bowl of oatmeal instead.
Many of us loovee doughnuts. But they are loaded with carbs, and the deep frying in oil also makes them overloaded with trans fats. And if you have icing on them, you are probably consuming the worst and dangerous type of doughnuts. Ban doughnuts from your diet completely to improve your heart health and blood lipid profile.
7. Cream-Filled Candies
Cream filled candies are yummy and gooey. And each candy contains about 0.5 grams of trans fats. But the catch is, we don’t stop at just one candy, do we? Consuming too many cream-filled candies can build up a ton of trans fats in your body. Plus, they are loaded with sugar, which will make you gain weight and prevent you from losing it.
8. Fried Foods
Crispy fried foods taste great, and the crunch adds to the whole experience of the food. The labels may say 0 g trans fats, but as mentioned before, the FDA allows the companies to declare 0 g trans fats in one serving if they contain 0.5 g trans fats per serving. We tend to overconsume fried foods because they taste great, and we literally cannot stop ourselves. So, it is best to avoid consuming fried foods at all occasions.
9. Frozen Foods
Frozen foods like frozen pizza and frozen ready-to-eat foods are high in trans fats along with carbs, salt, and sugar. These contain about 1 g trans fats per serving, and just like any other fried foods, we all can go overboard and consume a lot of them without even realizing it. Avoid buying these foods so that you can cut down on your trans fats intake.
10. Peanut Butter (Excluding Natural Peanut Butter)
Peanuts are healthy, but they are also high in calories. Peanuts contain healthy fats – but they can only help if you consume them in limited amounts. Partially hydrogenated palm oil is used in packaged peanut butter to prevent the natural oils found in peanut from rising. And this is where things go downhill for peanut butter lovers. The next time you think of finishing half the jar of peanut butter, think of the number of trans fats you are consuming and what it can do to your heart. Choose natural peanut butter that you have to stir to mix. These do not have trans fats and is definitely part of a healthy diet.
11. Blended Vegetable Oils
Blended vegetable oils are a blend of vegetable oils that are refined, deodorized, and bleached. These vegetable oils are used in cooking, frying, baking, icing, filling, and savory glazes. The more you heat the oil, the more the chances that you will consume trans fats. Avoid deep frying or stir-frying foods in these oils. Also, choose a healthy substitute for these oils to keep the trans fats levels to the minimum.
12. Baked Foods
Baked foods like puffs, patisseries, croissants, and tarts are delicious but loaded with trans fats. The packaged ones, especially. The trans fats make these foods crispy and flaky, which adds to the taste. Try making them at home using healthy sources of fat. They may not turn out “restaurant type” but will definitely be the “healthy type.”
13. Pancakes And Waffles
Great for breakfast, yes, but not so great for your health. Especially if you prepare the pancakes and waffles with a readymade pancake and waffle mix. Prepare the batter at home and use a healthy oil or none at all to make the pancakes.
14. Ice Cream
Ice cream lovers, here’s the bad news. The ice creams that you get from the market are high in sugar and trans fats and can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Make some homemade popsicles or add fruits to frozen yogurt or just make a batch of ice cream at home.
15. Non-Dairy Creamers
Non-dairy creamers do not contain the traditional cream. And to make up for the taste and texture, they contain trans fats, especially the flavored ones, like French vanilla, hazelnut, etc. Use traditional creamers or consume black coffee or green tea to avoid consuming trans fats from these creamers. You may also use almond milk, which is a great non dairy alternative to put in coffee.
There you go – 15 foods high in trans fats that you must avoid. I know, you must be thinking how boring your life would be without these yummy foods. But the dangers they pose are not fictional. Lower your trans fats intake gradually, and you will see a positive difference in your attitude toward food and your body. So, say NO today, say NO now! Take care!
Disclaimer: “The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician before starting a diet, exercise, or supplement regimen. This article is intended for educational purposes only.”