Trans Fats and You - Part 3  

Want to Use This Graphic?[Read part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE]

Partially hydrogenated oils are even worse for you than the refined vegetable oils they are made from, because the nickel catalyst, under high heat, causes the hydrogen atoms to change their position on the fatty acid chain.

Before hydrogenation, pairs of hydrogen atoms on the fatty acid chain are on the same side; this is a called a double bond. This double bond causes the chain to bend slightly and electrons are consentrated there. This is called the cis formation, and it's the configuration most commonly found in nature.

But during the hydrogenation process, one of the pairs of hydrogen atoms is moved to the other side of the chain so that the molecule straightens out. This is called the trans formation and it is rarely found in nature. Most of these man-made fats are toxic to the body, but your digestive system doesn't recognize them as a toxin and tries to use them like it would a natural fat.

It uses them in cell membranes, instead of naturally saturated fatty acids, and your cells actually become partially hydrogenated!

Once placed in your cell wall, trans fatty acids, with their reversed hydrogen atoms, wreak havoc on cell metabolism. The reason is that the needed chemical reactions can only take place when electrons in the cell membranes are in certain arrangements or patterns --which the trans fats have altered.

Also, cell integrety is compromized because trans fats are stiffer than saturated fatty acids and the cells become too stiff to function normally in the body. Think in terms of hardening arteries, high blood pressure, neurological disease (1/3 of your brain is made up of saturated fats -which trans fats replace), heart disease, liver disfunction, and cancer.

In the 1940's, researchers found a strong correlation between cancer and the consumption of fat. What were the fats they used in this study? They were hydrogenated fats. But hydrogentated fats were, until recently, catagorized as "saturated fat" in studies, so the results were presented as though natural saturated fats were the culprit. You find out exactly what kinds of fats were used, in order to find the truth in any study on "saturated fat".

Partially hydrogenated fats also interfere with your bodies ability to use essential fatty acids, causing a deficiency in these vital nutrients. This can cause many health problems, including hormonal and s*xual problems, increased blood cholesterol, and a seriuosly compromised immune system.

Lipase enzymes perform some essential roles in digestion and absorbtion of dietary fats. But human lipase enzyme doesn't work on the molecular configuration found in trans fats. So trans fats remain in the blood stream for a much longer period of time and is more prone to form arterial plaque. How trans fats contribute to coronary heart disease is fairly well understood, but the mechanism for trans fat's effect on diabetes is still being studied.

Trans fats have been associated with a host of serious diseases, like cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, immune system dysfunction, low-birth-weight babies, birth defects, decreased visual acuity, sterility, lactation problems, and problems with bones and tendons. Yet the continued popularity of partially hydrogenated margarine over butter speaks to the power of the advertizers over common sense. Your best defense is to avoid it like the plague.

An added warning…. Don't trust the "0 Trans Fats" label. The FDA says that 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving (and who eats just one serving anyway) is the same as none. So you have to check the ingredient list for hydrogenated oils.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 and is filed under . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


Wow, good article. I'll have to bookmark it for when I try to explain to hubby why trans fats are so bad! :)

Hope you don't mind; I added you to my blog list!


Thanks for comment! And thanks for adding me to your blog roll!