Trans fats are another cause of high blood pressure

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When the demand for butter outstripped farmers’ ability to supply this desirable fat… the search for a substitute set us on the path to trans fats, heart disease, and high blood pressure. We didn’t realise the hazards of trans fats until about 20 years ago.

How Did Trans Fats Get Into Our Food?

Butter was in high demand in the 1860s, and there simply wasn’t enough to go around. Emperor Louis Napoleon III offered a reward for a replacement… As a result, a French chemist produced the first margarine. It was made from clarified beef fat.

It wasn’t until 40 years later that the hydrogenation technique was invented… and the path to hazardous trans fats was opened. Butter rationing during two world wars, along with the cheaper cost of margarine… resulted in an increasing number of individuals choosing to this butter alternative — manufactured from cheap vegetable fats.

When vegetable oils are hydrogenated, their molecules undergo chemical reorganisation. This results in a fat — trans fat — that hardens to a semi-hard state at room temperature. Trans fats, in essence, resemble the saturated fats that our taste buds crave. We are naturally drawn to flavour and consistency.

Semi-solid trans fats are excellent for baking and are less expensive than butter or lard. This is a significant benefit for food processors… This is why trans fats can be found in most baked dishes as well as fried foods. While this low-cost substitute for butter is a windfall for food manufacturers, it poses a risk for consumers. Every year, an estimated 100,000 individuals die prematurely in the United States… as a result of the usage of trans fats.

So, what’s the big deal about trans fats?

Trans fats have the most detrimental influence on cholesterol levels of any fat. They raise your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while decreasing your levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol. The overall effect of trans fats on cholesterol levels is… twice as detrimental as the effect of saturated fats.

Trans fats have recently come under scrutiny for harming the lining of your arteries. This damage is what causes artery hardening and high blood pressure. The linings of your arteries play a critical function in blood pressure regulation. When these critical linings are destroyed, their function is compromised, resulting in hypertension.

How Can Trans Fats Be Avoided?

Despite the fact that trans fats were first utilised in margarine… This dangerous fat has been removed from the majority of margarines. However, they can still be found in many baked items and fried dishes. Indeed, because of their low cost and convenience (trans fats keep goods from rotting), hydrogenated oils are becoming more popular.

Avoid donuts, French fries, pastries, and quick foods… This hazardous fat is frequently found in ostensibly healthful granola bars. Examine the labels carefully… Any food that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils should be avoided.

Finally, some assistance from the FDA

Fortunately, it is becoming easier to identify and prevent these hazardous trans fats. The FDA requires food manufacturers to include the trans fat amount… on the Nutrition Facts label seen on all products beginning in January 2006.

Even a modest amount of trans fat in your diet is harmful to your heart. Make the switch to healthy fats right now. Not all fats are harmful to your health. Some fats can even help you lower your blood pressure. Healthy fats can be obtained through olive oil, almonds, and fatty seafood.

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