Fatty acid, trans
: An unhealthy substance, also known as trans fat, made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils. Hydrogenation solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and foods that contain them. Trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings and in some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods. Trans fats are also found in abundance in "french fries." To make vegetable oils suitable for deep frying, the oils are subjected to hydrogenation, which creates trans fats. (See "The Trouble with Fries" by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker magazine of March 5, 2001). Among the hazards of fast food, "fries" are prime in purveying trans fats. Trans fats wreak havoc with the body's ability to regulate cholesterol. In the hierarchy of fats, the polyunsaturated fats which are found in vegetables are the good kind; they lower your cholesterol. Saturated fats have been condemned as the bad kind. But trans fats are far worse. They drive up the LDL ("bad") cholesterol. which markedly increases the risk of coronary artery heart disease and stroke. According to a recent study of some 80,000 women, for every 5% increase in the amount of saturated fat a woman consumes, her risk of heart disease increases by 17%. But only a 2% increase in trans fats will increase her risk of heart disease by 93%! The US FDA in 1999 proposed that the Nutrition Facts labels on vegetable shortenings and some cookies, crackers, margarines, and other foods may soon carry information about trans fatty acids, or trans fats. Beyond requiring that some labels list the amount of trans fats in the food, the FDA rule would also define the term "trans fat free" and limits the use of certain nutrient or health claims related to fat content, such as "lean" and "low saturated fat." In the realm of dietary dangers, trans fats rank very high. It has been estimated that trans fats are responsible for some 30,000 early deaths a year in the United States. Worldwide the toll of premature deaths is in the millions.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fatty acid — One of many molecules that are long chains of lipid carboxylic acid found in fats and oils and in cell membranes as a component of phospholipids and glycolipids. (Carboxylic acid is an organic acid containing the functional group COOH.) Fatty… …   Medical dictionary

  • fatty acid — noun any of a class of aliphatic monocarboxylic acids that form part of a lipid molecule and can be derived from fat by hydrolysis; fatty acids are simple molecules built around a series of carbon atoms linked together in a chain of 12 to 22… …   Useful english dictionary

  • trans-fatty acid — tran(t)s fat ē , tranz n any of various unsaturated fatty acids that are characterized by a trans arrangement of alkyl chains, that are formed esp. during the hydrogenation of vegetable oils, and that have been linked to an increase in blood… …   Medical dictionary

  • trans fatty acid — trans fat UK / US or trans fatty acid UK / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms trans fat : singular trans fat plural trans fats a type of solid fat such as margarine produced when vegetable oils are changed by a chemical process. These… …   English dictionary

  • trans-fatty acid — trans′ fat ty ac′id ortrans′ fat ty ac′id n. nut an unsaturated fatty acid formed by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oil, believed to raise blood cholesterol levels • Etymology: 1975–80 …   From formal English to slang

  • Fatty acid — Not to be confused with fat. Butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid Types of fats in food Unsaturated fat Monounsaturated fat Polyun …   Wikipedia

  • trans fatty acid — noun a fatty acid that has been produced by hydrogenating an unsaturated fatty acid (and so changing its shape); found in processed foods such as margarine and fried foods and puddings and commercially baked goods and partially hydrogenated… …   Useful english dictionary

  • trans-fatty acid — ˈ ̷ ̷ ˈ ̷ ̷  ̷ ̷ noun : an unsaturated fatty acid characterized by a trans arrangement of alkyl chains that is formed especially during the hydrogenation of vegetable oils and has been linked to an increase in blood cholesterol * * * ˌtrans fatty …   Useful english dictionary

  • trans-fatty acid — an unsaturated fatty acid formed by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oil, believed to raise blood cholesterol levels. Also, trans fatty acid. [1975 80; TRANS + FATTY ACID] * * * …   Universalium

  • trans fatty acid — noun An unsaturated fatty acid in which one or more of the double bonds has the trans orientation instead of the usual cis orientation. Syn: trans fat …   Wiktionary

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