Trans Fatty Acids

Twisted Fats

Trans fatty acids result from a refining process called hydrogenation, which forces extra hydrogen atoms onto plant oils using intense heat and pressure.  This allows companies make inexpensive solid fats out of cheap liquid oils.  The problem is that some of the fat molecules become twisted into an incorrect shape.
Do trans fats let companies make cheaper cup cakes? Yes!  Are they good for you?  No!
Ever try building a house out of bent, twisted lumber?  The material is simply the wrong shape, and the results are predictably bad.  With fats, the biochemical effect is the
same.  This is why partially hydrogenated oils are bad and why they play a significant role in heart disease, make blood platelets more sticky and impair immune function. Trans fats show up in junk foods, in margarine, and in deep frying oils used at many fast food restaurants.
Unfortunately, the average fast food nutrition guide does not show trans fatty acid content.

Butter vs Margarine

What about butter vs margarine?  The question of butter vs margarine is really a trade off between the trans fats in margarine, vs the saturated fats in butter.  Neither is desirable.  Between the two I think the trans fatty acids are worse, but don't overdo either one.

Fake Fats

How about the new, so called fake fats, such as Olestra and Simplesse?  These modified fats are calorie free simply because they pass straight through the entire intestinal tract, foiling your body's digestive efforts.  Olestra side effects reportedly include reduced absorption of fat soluble vitamins, among other bowel problems.  Despite the reported olestra side effects, more and more foods are using these unnatural fake fats.  The human intestinal track is an amazingly sophisticated piece of machinery, deserving of care.  The last thing it needs is yet another fake food.

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