www.whyville.net May 10, 2009 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Fast-Food, Not So Great: Part 3

Users' Rating
Rate this article

I'm sure by now all of you know why fast-food can be dangerous for your health. You all pretty much know the basics of it, right? Well, I'd like to dig deeper into the subject of fats. If you don't know the mechanics of what this does to your body, you'll be surprised. Fats aren't just those four-letter words in the Nutrition Facts of every food product you buy -- it's much more.

Trans fat is probably the worst kind of fat that you can consume. By the standard definition, trans fat is a man-made fat that gives products a longer shelf life. Sounds harmless, right? Wrong. Trans fat, in other terms Trans-Fatty Acids, are in foods made or cooked in hydrogenated oils. 'Hydrogenated' means processed with hydrogen. Scientists found that people who eat products with high amounts of trans fat have a better chance at developing heart disease.

By eating a lot of trans fats, it raises the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Foods such as salad dressings, doughnuts, chips, cookies, brownies, cake, and crackers most likely contain trans fat. Scientists discovered in a recent test that the amount of trans fat you should eat in one day is none. As of year 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, required that food labels must list the amount of trans fat in the product.

Trans fats are created by hydrogenating unsaturated oils at high temperatures. They are present at the low levels of 2 to 6% of the fat in the food previously listed, most of the time. While fat is an important part of your everyday diet, too much of it can cause problems. Fat helps your body take in Vitamins A, D, E, and K. As I said before, trans fat raises the cholesterol in your body. Trans fats raise blood levels of the bad cholesterol, called LDL-cholesterol, which can cause heart disease. At the same time, trans fats lessen the levels of good cholesterol, called HDL-cholesterol, which prevents heart disease. In two different ways at the same time, trans fats make you unhealthier.

Saturated fats raise blood levels of LDL-cholesterol, but also raises blood levels of HDL-cholesterol. Saturated fats are better for you than trans fats, but definitely not good for you either. You can find saturated fats in coconuts, palm and palm kernel oils, animal fats, (such as pork, beef, steak, etc.) butter, cheese, eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

Unsaturated fats are yet another type of dietary fats. Foods that contain unsaturated fats can be oily fishes such as herring, tuna, sardines, and salmon, vegetable oils, nuts, and much more. Your body needs these fats because it may not be able to generate them on its own. 30% of your calorie intake can consist of unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can be added to your diet in different ways, such as using salad dressings that are from nut-based oils, eating less meat and more fish, (baked, not roasted or fried) and switching dairy products for products obtaining soybeans.

Illustrated in the previous paragraphs, fats aren't necessarily bad for you after all. The general public has everybody believing that if they don't eat foods with fats, they're going to be healthier. Truth tells us that those people are wrong. Without supplying our bodies with fats, we'd be less healthy. Our body needs fats to grow and keep healthy. Fat cushions our internal organs, making them less vulnerable to trouble. Although we need fats, keep in mind that we don't need too much. As stated before; too much fat can lead to heart disease. Fast-food products almost always contain trans-fats, and high amounts for that matter. Check nutrition labels for fats in the grocery store. If there are high amounts of trans or saturated fats, then I'd suggest putting that item back and considering buying a healthier version of that item. Good luck, and try to keep your body healthy!

Author's Note: Sources:
2006 World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia


Did you like this article?
1 Star = Bleh.5 Stars = Props!
Rate it!
Ymail this article to a friend.
Discuss this article in the Forums.

  Back to front page