From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-fat)
“Trans fat is the common name for unsaturated fat with trans-isomer (E-isomer) fatty acid(s). Because the term describes the configuration of a double carbon–carbon bond, trans fats are sometimes monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, but never saturated. Trans fats occur during the processing of polyunsaturated fatty acids in food production. In the vegetable and animal kingdoms, fatty acid generally have cis (as opposed to trans) unsaturations. ”
A simpler explanation is that trans fats are unnatural chemical forms of fat that are the result of an industrial process, ie a chemical factory. These fats were conjured up by chemists because the food industry wanted a fat that wouldn’t turn rancid, ie spoil. Well, they won’t spoil because no bacteria or fungus can eat them.
Why? They are unnatural. Want an easy to view example? Go rent the CD “Super Size Me” by Martin Spurlock. The main vid is quite interesting by itself, but instead look at one of the shorts that’s included on the CD. In it, Martin purchases some fries from McDonald’s along with fries from a local diner. Then he places each under a bell jar and waits a few months. As you would expect, the diner fries are covered with molds and fungus. But, the fries from McDonald’s look as fresh as the day they were purchased. Why? In part, it was the trans fats.
Should you be putting trans fats into your body? Ha! No. Want a heart attack?
From Wikipedia again (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-fat#Health_risks)
“A 1994 study estimated that over 30,000 cardiac deaths per year in the United States are attributable to the consumption of trans fats. By 2006 upper estimates of 100,000 deaths were suggested.”
What’s happening inside your body? Trans fats follow other fats into the body, but once there, can’t be digested. They float around and clog the metabolic machinery.
Now, with such dangers, you would think the FDA would have banned these fats long ago. Boy are you wrong. In their defense, they did add a warning on the package label for the number of grams of trans fats contained within. Or did they? Not really. Their regulations state that one serving can’t contain more than 0.5 grams of trans fats and the package can still state the product can contain none. Manufacturers have responded by adding suggested serving sizes and that their package contains more than one serving. Thus, on a bag of chips you see things like “Package contains five servings” and “No Trans Fats”. What the warning label really means is that if there are five servings in the bag of chips, there could be up to 2.5 grams trans fats.
Did the FDA respond? No. Should they? Emphatically, YES!
You can avoid such duplicitous waring labels and the danger of trans fats completely by just passing by such foods at the super market. The Paleo nutrition plan doesn’t allow potatoes anyway, as the glycemic index is too high which cause Insulin swings. Besides, there’s too much NaCl (Sodium Chloride – table salt) in these products which can make you hypertensive (have high blood pressure).
Other steps the government should take is to prohibit foods that contain any added trans fats from food stamp programs.
A good general nutrition rule is not eat anything that was added for the convenience of the food manufacturer.