What are trans fats, anyway, and why are they so bad?

Photo credit:Los Angeles Times

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that trans fats should be removed from the food that we eat, but some consumers may be left wondering why. Trans fats, or trans fatty acids, are used by food manufacturers to extend the shelf life of products.

Trans fats can be found in foods such as frozen pizza, microwave popcorn, coffee creamer and more.

Adding hydrogen to liquid oil creates artificial trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, but consuming trans fats increases “bad” cholesterol and decreases “good” cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and other cardiac problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While consumption of trans fats has already been declining, the FDA believes banning trans fats from packaged products could save about 7,000 lives per year.

The Los Angeles Times, 11/7/13

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