Is Trans Fat Making Your Belly Fat?
Trans fat is an artificially manufactured fat used in food processing because it’s cheaper and significantly prolongs the shelf life of foods. It is also used in restaurants, mass produced bakery items, and fast food restaurants because of its longer shelf life. If you’re familiar with margarine then you’re familiar with trans fat.
Trans fat has been clinically proven to cause weight gain, even when the participants were consuming a diet that didn’t include enough calories to maintain their weight. Trans fat not only triggers weight gain but it causes fat stored throughout the body to be transferred to the abdominal region. And there’s more.
The consumption of trans fats can lead to chronic inflammation which inhibits the body’s ability to produce appetite controlling neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Trans fat slows down the ability of muscle cells to use glucose as an energy source. When these muscle cells can’t use glucose, it stays in the blood sugar and levels dramatically increase, resulting in surges of insulin and increased fat storage.
Trans fat has been linked to increasing risks of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It also weakens the immune system by reducing the body’s ability to fight viruses.
Food manufacturers are resistant to stop using trans fat in food processing. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that over 42,000 foods still contain trans fat and that 40% of all prepared foods still contain trans fat. New labeling by the FDA was supposed to highlight foods that contain trans fat, but there’s a loophole. As long as the food contains less than 500 mg per serving, the labeling can claim that the food has zero trans fat. 500 mg per serving in each of 3 meals a day can lead to significant levels of consumption of trans fat.
Don’t be misled by the claim of “zero trans fat.” Check the labeling for partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils or vegetable shortening, those are all trans fat. An easy way to check to see the grams of trans fat truly in a product is to add together the grams of saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat grams, if the total grams of fat listed on the nutritional label is greater than the total of those three fats, the difference is trans fat.
Natural foods stores like Wild Oats have stopped stocking any foods with trans fat and several manufacturers have dropped trans fat as an ingredient or greatly reduced their use.
Eliminate or nearly eliminate trans fat from your diet and you’ll feel better, be healthier and lose weight.