Trans fats are the killer fats. They are the ones that sit on your stomach and add to your overall weight, which puts a strain on your heart and your joints. What is worse, they have virtually no nutritional value. So why do we eat them? Simple, we eat them because they are in the food that we like: they are in most fast foods, shop bought cakes, cookies and margarines.

Some governments have been working to control the amount in margarine and the move to reduce their use is gathering pace.

Man-made Fats

Some trans fats do appear naturally as fatty acids in meat, such as beef and lamb, and in dairy products, but not to a large degree. Its main source is as a by-product of hydrogenation, which is the process used to improve the shelf life of oils. In this case, it is a man-made substance, made to help the commercial viability of cooking oil.

The oil is solidified, which makes it easier to store and keep. In this state it stays soft, which makes it easier to use. They are also formed when some oil is used in cooking at high temperatures.

Unsaturated Fats

Trans fats are actually unsaturated fats, which seems strange, because we are always warned about the dangers of eating saturated fats, which are found in dairy products, red meat and deep fried foods. We know that monounsaturated fats – olive oil, almonds, hazel nuts, avocados,to name a few – and poly-unsaturated fats are healthy, so it is natural to think an unsaturated fat of any kind would also be healthy. Not so with trans fats. They are the most dangerous of the lot.

They Are High Risk

They are dangerous because they clog up our arteries and raise our cholesterol. In fact, they have a completely opposite effect on our cholesterol than we would want – they raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good. They encourage the formation of clots by making blood platelets stickier than usual. So they have a double negative effect, they add to our stomach fat, causing strain on our bodies, and they increase the risk of stroke and heart disease by clogging up our arteries.

Because they are commercially viable and easy to use, their use is widespread. They are not only used in fast food outlets and shop bought cookies, but in most packaged food in the supermarket. You can check if they are present by reading the ingredients. They may be under "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "vegetable shortening". The trap for us is, we would read it and think it was good, because we have been told vegetable oil is healthy.

Most of us are not going to stop eating all the goodies completely, but by being aware of the danger we can limit the processed food we eat and look for healthier alternatives. This will help us lose our stomach fat and protect our hearts.

Author's Bio: 

You can make sure you are eating the right foods and getting the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats in your diet by visiting William Burnell enjoys the benefits of following a healthy lifestyle and likes to help others to do the same.