Trans fat is the dietary equivalent of the devil. It provides no nutritional value, and reeks havoc on the body’s ability to transport fats through the blood. In terms of the different types of fat that people obtain through their diet, the following effects take place:
- Saturated fat raises LDL (the bad cholesterol), but basically leaves HDL (the good stuff) in tack
- Polyunsaturated fat raises HDL (the good stuff), so it helps you
- Monounsaturated fat typically raises HDL, but sometimes raises LDL, so while it usually is good for you, in excess it can sometimes be bad for you
- Trans fat raises LDL (the bad stuff), and lowers HDL (the good stuff), so it’s basically very, very bad for you
Thankfully California has just announced that they are going to ban trans fats.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the new legislation, which will take effect in 2010, represented a “strong step toward creating a healthier future”.
Violations will incur fines of between $25 (£13) and $1,000 (£502).
Trans-fats are chemically altered vegetable oils, used to give processed foods a longer shelf-life.
Some cities, like New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle, have already banned the fats. Many food makers and restaurant chains have also been experimenting with replacements for oils and foods that contain them.
The cities that are banning trans fats should be commended, since they have serious health effects.