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The health expert answers:
Using trans fats lowers cost and extends shelf life of these fats and foods made with them, such as commercially-baked goods, bake mixes, fried foods, fast foods, chips, crackers, candy, cereals, dressings, dips and even some frozen foods. If the ingredients on a food label include partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, shortening or margarine, the food contains trans fats.
The health concern: Trans fats have been associated with the many metabolic diseases, including coronary heart disease, increased LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels. It's also suspected the play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Increased platelet aggregation, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks and blood clots is also associated with trans fats. There is also evidence they play a role in breast cancer.
The problem with trans fats is our body doesn't know what to do with them. In some respects, trans fats compete with healthy fats in digestion, absorption and metabolism. Unaltered healthy fats are pliable and supple, making them "fluid" in the body. Trans fatty acids are stiff, accumulating in the body to create inflammatory reactions, interfere with immune and enzymatic function and ultimately, interfere with human life.