The following are some of the possible adverse effects of trans fats:
- Changes the properties of cell membranes, affecting transport across the membrane and membrane fluidity.
- Inhibits the function of membrane related enzymes.
- Changes cell size.
- Escalates essential fatty acid deficiency.
- Increases blood insulin levels.
- Increases free radical formation and the chances of cancer.
- Increases cholesterol levels.
- Raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol when used instead of natural oils or cis fatty acids.
Dr. Mary G. Enig, a respected, long-time authority on trans fats notes that: “After analyzing hundreds of food samples for trans fatty acids and calculating dietary information, I have concluded that there are many people in the U.S. who consume 20% of the total fat in their diet as trans fatty acids. On average though, 10.9% is the number we came up with when we looked at all the published analyses. In the U.S., typical french fried potatoes have about 40% trans fatty acids, and many popular cookies and crackers range from 30 to 50% trans fatty acids. Doughnuts have about 35 to 40% trans fatty acids.”
It has been estimated that over 200 million people have died prematurely because of the trans fatty acids in refined oils. They are a major cause of cancer, heart disease, immune system breakdown, depression, fatigue, and other disorders. Trans fatty acids are highly toxic, appearing around tumors and other metabolic breakdowns. A diet consisting of 10% corn oil produced colon tumors in 36% of rats.
The best recourse concerned consumers is to avoid all hydrogenated oils. This means choosing where you eat out wisely, reading ingredient labels on products, buying healthier snack foods from more conscious manufacturers, and preparing the bulk of your foods from scratch. This way you can see exactly what goes into the food you are eating. If you control the ingredients, you also control the finished product. With the amount of scandals that go on in the materialistic-driven society that we live in, it is also difficult to completely trust the giant conglomerates that often manufacture toxic chemicals alongside foodstuffs.
The best oils to use for cooking and baking are the ones with the oldest and best track record. Choose cold-pressed oils, preferably organic, and virgin or extra-virgin oils. Olive oil and ghee (clarified butter) are among the best choices for cooking, frying, and baking. If you feel you are lacking in essential fatty acids, read up about these good fats at planetveggie.com, and consider supplementing your diet with high quality flax seed oil, or with borage or evening primrose oil.