Trans-fatty acids (trans-fats) are formed via hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids in fats and oils. Hydrogenation increases the melting point of these fats, and they are readily incorporated into formulations of solid fat. This process prolongs the shelf life and also improves the flavor stability in commercially produced foods. Trans-fats are prevalent in processed food such as margarine, baked foods, chips, salad dressings, fried foods, candies, crackers, granola bars etc. According to research studies, trans-fats increase low density lipoprotein (LDL) - bad cholesterol. This increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Some of these fats have been banned from some east coast states like New-York. Despite their known adverse effect, trans-fats continue to be consumed at a large scale. Trans-fats predispose consumers to obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) should be used and the use of trans-fats should be banned in countries all over the world.
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Trans-fats should be banned, because they predispose consumers to chronic diseases. The role of dietary trans-fatty acids (TFA) in causing various types of cancer has been established in several studies. In a study conducted by Hu et al(2011), dietary TFA increased the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer (during pre-menopause). The researchers recommended following a diet with low TFA as it would significantly reduce the risk of various types of cancer. In India, these industrial trans-fatty acids were found to have severe health effects. They ranged from women infertility, cognitive dysfunction, impaired fetal development, cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a significant risk as diabetes is increasingly common in India. There is need to increase awareness on the adverse effects of dietary TFA in order to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Bhardwaj, Passi & Misra,2011). The intake of trans-fats was negatively and positively related to HDL and LDL cholesterol respectively in male patients who had myocardial infarction in the United States (MPOB, 2012). Moreover, the intake of trans-fats increased the onset of cardio-vascular disease by 27%. In the United States alone, 80,000 deaths have been linked to the consumption of trans-fats.
Treating cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes is a major financial constrain. The government spends billions of funds on the treatment of chronic diseases. This is a serious public health concern, especially for the citizens without medical cover. In most cases, patients succumb to death when the disease progresses to the chronic and severe stages. The care of such patients is also expensive. Nurses have to be hired in order to care for these patients. Unfortunately, not all families can afford to have hired help, and family members have to put their careers on hold in order to care for these patients. Everyone needs to appreciate the role of good nutrition in promoting wellness. Aside promoting the consumption of a wholesome nutrient dense diet, our food needs to be prepared using healthy vegetable oil. Replacing trans-fatty acids with poly unsaturated fatty acids will greatly avert the emergence and progression of chronic diseases.
Trans-fats should be banned because they cause obesity. The long-term consumption of trans-fatty acids in a controlled feeding regimen has been cited as an independent factor in causing weight gain. Even in a diet devoid off excessive calories, the consumption of trans-fatty acids caused enhanced deposition of intra-abdominal fat (Kavanagh et al., 2007). Obesity is a risk factor that predisposes one to cardiovascular heart disease and diabetes. Obese individuals also suffer from psychological problems. Most obese individuals exhibit low self-esteem as they are highly discriminated and ridiculed.
Obesity poses a major financial burden to the society. Tax payers must shoulder the high cost of poor health related to diabetes. These patients are welfare recipients as they take premature retirement. In the United States, the annual wage loss is estimated at $1855. Most face unemployment due to discrimination, and others are unable to work due to poor health. Benefit payments to these individuals is a major financial constrain to the government. The cost of obese people is $1400 than for individuals who have normal weight. The medical insurance premiums for obese individuals are also higher by an average cost of $1100 (Cavazos, 2012).
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