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Does your mouth water when you think of potato chips, donuts, and pie? Many people prefer "junk food" to healthy food because they develop a taste for it. Processed, baked, and fried foods typically contain a high amount of transfats.
Trans fat raises the bad cholesterol in your body and lowers the good cholesterol that the body needs. Fatty foods do more than cause obesity. Trans fats build up in the body and block blood flow to the heart. People whose diet contains a high percentage of transfats are at risk for heart disease and stroke.
Trans fat is a semi-solid type of oil. It is made by adding hydrogen to liquid oil. Food companies and restaurants like to use trans fat oil because it is inexpensive and makes food like crackers and baked goods last longer. It also improves the taste and texture of food. Trans fats became very popular in the second half of the 20th century. This is around the time when butter got a bad name. People were told to use margarine instead because it was made from transfats.
Today doctors know how dangerous these processed foods are. In countries such as the US and Canada there are new government restrictions on food production. Food and beverage makers have to attach a Nutrition Fact label to their products. These list daily recommendations and detail all ingredients including the amount of transfats in a product. New York City banned transfats from all restaurants. Even fast food chains such as McDonalds are being forced to change their recipes. In Europe, food manufacturers have started using a voluntarily labeling system at the consumers' request.
We all need some fat in our diet. There are three different types of fats: saturated fats, transfats, and unsaturated fats. Doctors recommend that we get most of our fatty calories from unsaturated fats. Neither butter nor margarine fit in this category, though there are some spreads that contain zero transfats. Labels are a good way to avoid eating fatty foods that are dangerous for your health. Another way is to avoid eating out. When shopping for groceries, buy the majority of your goods in the fresh food aisles.