By Hal Walter
Now there's another reason to avoid trans fats -- to avoid getting fatter.
According to a study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition, increased consumption of trans fats may partly explain why Americans are increasingly obese despite reduced consumption of fat, something researchers call the "American Paradox." Trans fats, these scientists assert, may add to weight gain and increased risk of diabetes by increasing insulin resistance.
In people with normal carbohydrate metabolism, about 40 percent of carbohydrates consumed are converted to fat and stored. However, in those with increased insulin resistance, a higher percentage of carbs are converted to fat.
Another component to the American Paradox is that when fat intake is decreased, carbohydrate intake increases. So the combination of increased consumption of carbohydrates and increased conversion of those carbohydrates to fat through increased insulin resistance could spell disaster for some people trying to manage their weight.
Trans fats have already been linked to many health problems, most notably heart disease through adverse effects on cholesterol ratios. After assessing the risk posed by trans fat in 2002, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that there is no safe level of consumption. In addition to heart disease and obesity, trans fats have also been linked to other diseases.
Trans fats are found in hydrogenated oils that processed-food manufacturers prefer for increased shelf life. While the Food and Drug Administration is working toward new labeling requirements for products that contain trans fat, hydrogenated oils are already listed as ingredients in many products and should be avoided.
In addition to helping you manage your weight more successfully, avoiding trans fats may also help you to avoid serious disease.