Is trans fatty acid bad

Trans fats are found in heavily processed foods and were previously contained in high concentrations in margarine and other spreadable fats. Due to changed manufacturing processes, this is hardly the case today. Nevertheless, trans fats can be found in numerous other foods.

What are trans fats?

Fats basically consist of carbon atoms that are chemically bonded to one another. In the case of unsaturated fatty acids, they are even doubly linked to one another via so-called double bonds. Trans fats, which are actually called trans fatty acids, belong to the group of unsaturated fatty acids and are produced industrially. Their double bonds are bent by fat hardening in such a way that the originally thin fatty acid becomes creamier and easier to spread. Such hydrogenated fats also arise when vegetable fat is heated strongly over a longer period of time, such as when deep-frying.

Trans fats have a long shelf life and are easy and inexpensive to manufacture, which is why they are widely used in industry. Untreated unsaturated fatty acids from vegetable sources (olive, rapeseed, algae, linseed oil) are extremely healthy and provide us with essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The body needs these to live, but cannot produce them itself.

Also interesting: the connection between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids >>

How unhealthy are trans fats?

If too many trans fats are ingested over a long period of time, they increase the bad LDL-cholesterol, which is deposited in the vessels and leads to arteriosclerosis. This in turn leads to cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. At the same time, trans fatty acids reduce the occurrence of good HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol") in the blood, which is a health concern as it increases the likelihood of developing diabetes.
The Recommended intake for trans fats is less than one percent of the daily supplied energy. This means that a woman who consumes 1,800 kcal a day should get a maximum of 18 kcal from trans fats. 18 kcal corresponds to approx. 2 grams. No health damage is to be expected at this concentration. However, if the amount consumed is regularly above the recommendation, the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases increases by 2.5 to 10 times.

What are large amounts of trans fats in?

Trans fats are often found in fried Food such as french fries, chips and baked goods, but also in nut nougat cream and in some margarines. Spreadable fats with a high proportion of cold-pressed oils are harmless.
In fact, there is still no labeling requirement for trans fatty acids in Germany. The consumption of trans fatty acids is often unwanted or ignorant. Some manufacturers still write "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" fats on their product.

These foods contain trans fats:

  • Fast food like fries, pizza, and burgers
  • Baked goods such as croissants, donuts and cookies
  • Snacks like chips, peanut flips, and popcorn
  • Ready meals such as breadcrumbs, dry soups and canned meals
A croissant and a small portion of French fries contain up to 1 gram of trans fats, and a Berliner even up to 2 grams.

Avoid trans fats: tips for everyday life

  • consume little fast food, ready-made products and fried foods
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables as the main ingredients in your diet
  • use oil with a high smoke point for cooking and frying (clarified butter, coconut fat, virgin olive oil, as well as oils from corn germ, sunflower, peanut, soy and rapeseed)
  • Butter can also be used, but it shouldn't turn brown
  • Pay attention to labels and avoid "hardened vegetable fat", "partially hardened vegetable fat" or "hydrogenated vegetable oils"