Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Trans vs. Saturated Fats

Trans fats act like saturated fat by increasing "lousy" LDL cholesterol but it also decreases the "healthy" HDL cholesterol.
So, we know that trans fats are worse than saturated fats, but how much worse?

Two times.

Trans fats increase the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio (a higher cholesterol to HDL ratio is bad) nearly two times more than saturated fats.
Avoid them!

Source: Ascherio, A, Willett, WC. Health effects of trans fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr. 66 (4 suppl). Oct 1997.


Jme said...

I noticed lots of food items say 0g trans fat. Does that mean literally 0g or is it less than 0.5g or what? If a serving has 0.49g of trans fat is that negligible in our diet?

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Thanks for your comment Jme.

You can refer to my Jan 31st blog Ban the Trans for lots of info about trans fats- including the answer to your question!

By law, companies can claim a product is "trans fat free" and list the trans fats as 0g if the serving size indicated contains less than 0.2g trans fats in Canada and less than 0.5 g trans fats in the US.

We really should be aiming for 0g trans fats a day (although the official recommendation from Health Canada is <2g a day). As such 0.49g (or 0.19 g) is definitely not negligible. And remember, that's for one 'suggested serving'. If you have double that serving, you're doubling the amount...

To know if a product contains trans fats if it has 0grams on the label is to look at the ingredient list.

If you see: partially hydrogenated oil, hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening, you know the product contains trans fats.

Hope this helps!