[Answered] What are trans-fats? Why they are dangerous for human consumption?

Demand of the question
Introduction. What are trans-fats?
Body. Types of trans fats. Various health issues of trans-fats.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Trans fatty acids (TFAs) or Trans fats are unsaturated type of fats which have adverse effects on our body. These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally. TFA containing oils can be preserved longer, they give the food the desired shape and texture.

Types of Trans fats:

  1. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats.
  2. Artificial trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Since they are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time, and give foods a desirable taste and texture, they are still widely used despite their harmful effects being well-known.

Harmful effects:

  1. TFAs pose a higher risk of heart disease than saturated fats. While saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels, TFAs not only raise total cholesterol levels but also reduce the good cholesterol which protect us against heart disease. Trans fats consumption increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
  2. It can lead to compromised foetal development causing harm to the yet to be born baby.
  3. Some studies have found that trans fats consumption is related to risk of cancers in individuals.
  4. Trans fats are metabolised differently by the liver than other fats and interfere with normal liver functions.
  5. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with trans fat consumption. A study has found diabetes risk associated with trans fats and other factors such as total fat intake and BMI.
  6. Trans fat may increase weight gain and abdominal fat, despite a similar caloric intake. TFAs enhance deposition of fat even in the absence of caloric excess.
  7. Trans fats are found to be associated with insulin resistance that pose a great risk to already diabetic patients.
  8. Trans fats as opposed to that from carbohydrates, lead to greater risk of infertility in women.
  9. Those who ate the most trans fats are at higher risk of depression than those who do not eat trans fats.
  10. Consumption of trans fats has been linked to behavioural irritability and increased general aggression.

Globally and nationally various organisations and governments are working to create awareness about rans fats. WHO has called for the total elimination of TFAs in global food supply by 2023. FSSAI has proposed to limit TFA limit in foods to 2% and eliminate trans fats from foods by 2022. Thus industry need to work for an alternate of trans fats and eliminate it for the health of the people.

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