Trans Fatty Acid
Recent research shows that trans fatty acids are at least as dangerous when it comes to clogging arteries as saturated fats. The acids raise LDL, the bad kind of cholesterol, and lower good cholesterol levels. Statistics show that Americans eat 12 to 14 percent of their calories in the form of saturated fat; and as much as 3 percent in the form of trans fatty acids!
Foods that contain relatively large amounts of trans fatty acids include margarines, high-fat baked goods - especially doughnuts, cookies and cakes - and any product which says "partially hydrogenated vegetable oils" on the label. French fries and chips are particularly high in trans fatty acids!
Unsaturated vegetable oils from canola, peanuts, olive, flax, corn, safflower and sunflower are heart healthy. These oils contain monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids that can reduce total cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels. These oils also contain the essential fatty acids - specific fatty acids necessary for life but which the body cannot make itself, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The food industry is responding to the danger posed by trans fatty acids by putting them in fewer products, so keep your eyes open for healthier new products hitting the store shelves!