As promised in last week’s All About Those Fats post (see what I did there with the titles? Very clever), this week we’re talking about the types of fats that you should try to minimize. (Unlike the healthy fats that you should eat regularly).
What do unhealthy fats do?
- Increase inflammation
- Increase risk of heart disease, cancer, and a whole lot of other stuff you don’t want
What makes fats unhealthy?
It should come as no surprise that if healthy fats are naturally occurring and minimally processed, then unhealthy fats are the opposite. They:
- don’t occur naturally
- have to be created in a plant or factory (they are processed)
What are considered unhealthy fats?
- Trans fats
- These are created solely through an industrial process that solidifies vegetable and seed oils by forcing hydrogen into them.
- They also go by the terms partially hydrogenated or vegetable shortening.
FACT: nutrition labels can claim to have 0g of trans fats per serving even if there is up to half a gram per serving! That’s why you need to be particularly vigilant about reading labels and knowing what terms to look for.
What foods contain trans fats?
- Vegetable/seed oils that can only be created via industrial process:
- soybean; and
- margarine & butter substitutes (quick reminder: real butter = healthy fat, fake “butter” = unhealthy fat)
- regular peanut butter (as in, not the natural kind – you want a label that lists just peanuts)
- fried foods
- many baked goods such as pie crust
- frozen (TV) dinners
- many types of salad dressings
- many brands of mayo
- many other processed foods
While no amount of trans fat is good for you, it may be unrealistic to eliminate them entirely. Instead, do your best to minimize your intake but don’t freak out if you have a sub with mayo or some Jif peanut butter, on occasion.
Consistency trumps everything so as long as you’re generally making an effort to choose other fats over these, you’re fine.