Whether you are in treatment for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, Obesity, emotional eating, or have problems with weight management due to restricting or overeating, you need to know about what fats do in your body once and for all. In other words whether you are obese, underweight or a normal weight, if you are having problems regulating food intake in healthy ways, this series on fat is a must.
The trans fatty acids that are detrimental to our health are those that are produced when vegetable oils are heated under pressure with hydrogen and a catalyst, in a process called hydrogenation. These fats are often referred to as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. In the past few decades, food manufacturers have replaced saturated fats with trans fats in the vast majority of processed foods to prolong their shelf life, and to position their products as a healthier alternative. This was possible because saturated fats were being demonized at the time. Trans fats are found in the majority of processed and fried foods but can also be found in bulk foods such as nuts and fruits, whether or not they are organic. They are so common, it is nearly impossible to buy a processed food without a trans fat.
The following list is a compilation of the adverse effects reported in humans and animals from the consumption of trans fatty acids. This information is based on decades of research done by Dr. Mary Enig and has been confirmed by others.
- Trans fats lower “good” HDL cholesterol in a dose response manner (the higher the trans fat level in the diet, the lower the HDL cholesterol in the serum).
- Trans fats raise the bad LDL cholesterol in a dose response manner.
- Trans fats increase tendency towards blocked arteries.
- Trans fats raise total serum cholesterol levels 20-30mg.
- Trans fats lower the amount of cream (volume) in milk from lactating females in all species studied, including humans, thus lowering the overall quality available to the infant.
- Trans fats increase blood insulin levels in humans in response to glucose load, increasing risk for diabetes.
- Trans fats increase insulin resistance thus having an undesirable effect in diabetics.
- Trans fats affect immune response by lowering efficiency of B cell response.
- Trans fats decrease levels of testosterone in male animals, increase level of abnormal sperm, and interfere with gestation in females.
- Trans fats cause alterations in cell membranes, including membrane fluidity.
- Trans fats cause alterations in fat cell size, cell number, and fatty acid composition.
- Trans fats escalate adverse effects of essential fatty acid deficiencies.
Earlier in the “Fats Explained” series, we discussed Healthy Trans-Fats. You can read about healthy trans fats HERE.
Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.
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