We all hear about how bad trans fats are for us, but most of us don’t know exactly what they are or why they’re so bad. With the recent news that McDonald’s fries are higher in trans fats than previously expected, I thought I’d share some links to sites that talk about these dreaded trans fats and why it’s so important not to eat too much of them.
The American Heart Association has a page on trans fats here. Here’s an excerpt that explains the basics of trans fats:
Trans fat (also called trans fatty acids) is formed when liquid vegetable oils go through a chemical process called hydrogenation, in which hydrogen is added to make the oils more solid. Hydrogenated vegetable fats are used by food processors because they allow longer shelf-life and give food desirable taste, shape, and texture.
The majority of trans fat can be found in shortenings, stick (or hard) margarine, cookies, crackers, snack foods, fried foods (including fried fast food), doughnuts, pastries, baked goods, and other processed foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.