(NaturalNews) Debates can be had about nearly every type of food on the planet. Dairy, grains and fruit juice are among the many foods which have recently caused quite a stir in the natural health community as to whether they are the friends or enemies of our health. Trans fat, however, typically ranks as the king of evil food no matter what your dietary beliefs. That`s because trans fat has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease and other forms of modern disease. So it`s a hard pill to swallow when you first hear all trans fat isn`t bad.
The Two Sides of the Trans Fat Coin
The trans fat that gets the most media attention really is the bad stuff. This trans fat comes in the form of hydrogenated oil. These are polyunsaturated oils that have been manufactured into a highly refined (and very unnatural) form of saturated fat by pumping it full of hydrogen atoms.
Hydrogenated oil is industrial food at its finest: it`s cheap and it has a long shelf life (i.e. even mold won`t touch this stuff). Great for lining the pockets of the food industry, but not so great for our bodies. So after decades of bombarding our poor systems with this fabricated substance (calling it "food" would be a misnomer), we finally see studies showing up that point to trans fat as the culprit behind some serious health problems. The message is getting out there and every day more folks are actually taking a look at the ingredients list on their groceries to make sure they don`t contain any hydrogenated oils.
It`s a good move, to be sure, but in the panic of kicking trans fat to the curb, it`s easy to miss the fact that there may be a flip side to this coin. Believe it or not, there are some trans fats that occur in nature. What`s even more befuddling is that these trans fats can actually offer some health benefits. One example is conjugated linoleic acid--or CLA--which has been shown in some studies to help reduce body fat, especially in the midsection area. Another natural trans fat is vaccenic acid, which has been shown in an animal study to improve cholesterol profiles by reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Both of these trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy products, but it turns out not all meat and dairy are created equal (as you might have guessed). To get the benefits of fatty acids like CLA and vaccenic acid, you`ll have to acquire meat or dairy from grass-fed animals. And since grass-fed animals are generally healthier and happier, it makes it a less controversial choice to boot.
While it`s easy to confuse the two kinds of trans fat, it all boils down to logic: avoid man-made, processed, industrial food. Choose food that is in its natural state and grown or raised using natural, organic methods. The logic is simple, and the effects are life-changing.
[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...