Trans-fatty acids are in tiny amounts in the fat tissues of all ruminant animals. However, due to how food has progressed, the intake of trans-fatty acids has increased remarkably. That is because of their presence in commercially prepared foods. They are synthesized when the hydrogen is applied to edible oils under high pressure and temperature in the presence of a catalyst. The hydrogenation of edible oils is typically done in the prepared food industry to prolong shelf life. You often see it in commercial baked goods such as cookies, crackers, donuts, and processed snack foods. It means that trans-fatty acids are in those snacks that we often crave.
You often find trans-fatty acids in other items, including shortenings, most kinds of margarine, and all of those deep-fried foods. Recently trans-fatty acids have been identified in many brands of commercially available canola oils. Trans-fatty acids lower HDL, or good cholesterol levels, increase LDL or harmful cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular disease and cancer risk. Studies have shown that by replacing trans-fatty acids in our diets with the same amount of natural and unsaturated fatty acids, there is as large as a 50 percent decrease in risk of coronary heart disease. The next time you consider grabbing that deep-fried snack, maybe you should go for some nuts, which can serve much more nutritionally.
Many of us know that providers recommend we eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Perhaps you were even having that one-on-one conversation with your doctor. Those recommendations are the foundation for many of the healthy diets that are often discussed and encouraged. Among them is the prehistoric diet. We know what we should do as individuals, but it is usually not looked at in the bigger picture. It means that by altering our lifestyles and providing education to those around us, we can help lower obesity and decrease the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Consider the Turkana population, for example. Those that remain in rural areas where they are clinging firmly to their traditional ways and diet have shown a decreased likelihood of developing health issues. In comparison, those that moved to industrialized areas where food options were quickly accessible displayed an increase in weight and risk of health issues. We might have longer lifespans compared to our ancestors. However, people can attribute it to the developing medicine that can help when we do develop health issues due to a poor diet. It can be difficult for some to admit that their diet played a role in their medical problems when it can take a while to develop. Be aware of what you are consuming and its impact on your health, both short and long-term.