The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the artificially produced trans fats found in junk and fried foods contribute to more than 500,000 preventable deaths annually. The WHO is working to eliminate trans fats by 2023.
What exactly is trans fat?
Trans fat is vegetable fat that has been chemically altered by a process called hydrogenation. This process turns healthy fat into a solid, unhealthy fat that is worse for you than saturated fat. Trans fats boost LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and can increase your risk of heart disease by 21 percent.
What can you do now to avoid eating trans fats?
The WHO’s campaign was launched mid-May 2018 and is in its early stages, which means it might take some time to see changes. In the meantime, you can read nutrition labels and look at the amount of saturated fat and trans fat per serving.
Trans fats can be found in many foods – including fried foods like doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, and stick margarine and other spreads.
It’s also important to check the ingredient list, which is different from the nutritional label. Ingredient information is listed from greatest to smallest amounts, so if partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup are listed as the first few ingredients, choose another product.
Eat a healthier diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Also limit red meat and sugary foods and beverages. Also use vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil.
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