Are you slowly being killed by trans-fats?

Trans fatty acids are the most harmful fats in the human diet and should be avoided at all costs.

Trans fatty acid (TFAs) is the abbreviated term for unsaturated fat with trans-iomer fatty acids. Basically it is fatty acid coupled with glycerine. And although they are unsaturated, they do not behave like the good fats found in vegetable oils and fish. Rather, they behave similarly to saturated fats in the body and produce similar health effects. Therefore, they are the most harmful type of fat found in the human diet and should be avoided at all costs.

TFAs are contained in both natural and manufactured products. Naturally, you will find them in certain animal products including cheese, butter and meat. Manufactured, or artificial TFAs, occur when liquid vegetable oils are hardened during the industrial processing stages of making margarine, cooking fats and pastry doughs for baking, crackers, biscuits, candies, salad dressings, chips, granola bars, fried foods and more.

What makes TFAs so dangerous is that they increase the amount of bad cholesterol in our blood and can reduce the amount of good cholesterol. Exhibiting harmful levels of bad cholesterol is a key indicator for heart disease and TFAs are also associated with many heart complications. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set a recommendation of consuming no more than 1 per cent of our daily kilojoules from TFAs. Postponed

Despite the countless health hazards to humans, it is not mandatory for food manufacturers to declare TFAs on product labels. However, manufacturers can provide statistics voluntarily. They are only required to declare TFAs if a nutritious claim regarding saturated, trans fats, cholesterol, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated or omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids is made.

This is quite concerning, considering the only valid use of TFAs for food companies is higher profitability. When vegetable oils are converted to solid fats by adding hydrogen atoms (hydrogenation), the shelf life of foods is extended. Flavour is also enhanced, which means more calories in your mouth. So really, it’s just not worth consuming TFAs in large amounts if they taste good, yet increase the level of plaque build-up in arteries.

What’s more is there has also been research conducted by Harvard School of Public Health which suggests TFAs may raise the risk of acquiring diabetes. That’s why it is important to make smarter diet decisions and choose heart-healthy fats such as avocadoes, nuts, peanut butter and TFA-free margarines. Don’t forget to check the number of calories per serving on product labels and compare saturated fats and TFA information if available.

Fruit juice – Stay away from it!

Too much of a good thing will cause imbalance in the body

Too often, we forget that juice is a processed food which contains ingredients beyond rich nutrients. There are many additives and sugars in juice which are quickly released into the blood stream. Therefore, too much is not a good thing and can lead to health problems such as obesity and diabetes.

Excessive juice intake can cause dental cavities to develop from the high sugar levels. It can also cause weight gain, diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal issues like bloating, abdominal pain and excessive gas.

This is why a recent British study at Bangor University in North Wales recommended that fruit juice should not be counted as one of the five pieces of fruit services per day, since it contains too much sugar. Instead, dried fruit should be included in your diet guidelines.

In one particular study, the researchers found that freshly squeezed juice can contain up to five teaspoons of sugar per glass. This is because the squeezing process further concentrates their sweetness. This is a problem when people substitute juice for real fruit and it’s a real mistake. Fruit juice is significantly higher in sugar.

Unfortunately, fruit juices do not always have many vitamins and nutrients, despite having vitamin C. A major issue with drinking too much is that it only fills up your stomach and leaves you feeling content. It’s worry because your appetite is satisfied by sugars and not by a nutritious meal. And although you will consume needed daily calories, it won’t be from good fats or protein, but rather high amounts of carbohydrates and sugars. This can lead to a poor, unbalanced diet and future health problems.

Clearly, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. People often opt for juice as a healthier alternative to fizzy drinks, energy drinks and flavoured milk. While one standard serving of juice may contain nutrients, you can get then from the whole fruit without the extra energy. Stick to water!

The sugars found is juice are known to affect your weight and hormones when consumed excessively, since the human body stores unnecessary sugar as fat. Eating sugar also increases the insulin in your blood which can be a danger for diabetics. Insulin also causes the body to store fat which can potentially damage artery walls; a catalyst of heart disease. High sugar levels can even cause your immune system trouble by hindering white blood cells from functioning correctly. So the next time you’re craving juice, think!

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