Trans Fats: The Hidden Killer in Our Food

Trans fats are very dangerous to our health, because they stick and pile up on the walls of blood vessels, hampering the functioning of the heart, and are blamed for the occurrence of certain types of cancer.

What exactly are trans fats?

Trans fats are a type of fatty acids in the foods we eat. Fatty acids in the human body are a source of energy and are found in fruits and vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, animal fats and fish oil. Not all fatty acids are unhealthy. A moderate amount of monounsaturated fats may even benefit your health.

However, trans fats as fatty acids are bad for your health. They are often found in processed food and contained in many baked goods, because they are cheap and prolong shelf life. In recent years, trans fats were declared even more harmful than saturated fats. One Dutch study showed that 20 percent decrease in mortality due to heart disease, coming from diet eliminated from all trans fats.

Trans fats are prohibited in some countries

In some places in the world foods with a high amount of trans fats are already forbidden. Even in the US food producers have to completely get rid of trans fats in three years, recently decided Food and Drug Administration in the US.

Trans fats are banned in:

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Austria
  • Latvia
  • Hungary

Margarine virtually contains no trans fats

The researchers first decided to take a look at the margarine, which has been in the past considered as the biggest source of trans fats which on the other hand is considerably cheaper and more accessible than butter.

“We focused on both margarine, commercially available, as well as hard vegetable fats, which are sold in the wholesale market for future food production, mostly for bakery. The results showed that the margarine in retail (off the shelf) is practically free of trans fats. On the contrary we have found significant amounts of trans fats in approximately one third of hard vegetable fat used by food business operators in the production of non-prepacked foods, especially bakery and pastry. Such fats are sold wholesale in bulk, which are not available directly to consumers in stores. Despite, this may endanger human health, because they are used as an ingredient in other foods, “explained Dr. Igor Pravst from the Slovenian Nutrition Institute.