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Bad Fats: Trans Fats And Cholesterol

Trans Fat at-a-Glance

Trans Fat at-a-Glance:

Trans fats are unsaturated fats which behave like saturated fat in the body and increase the level of LDL or bad cholesterol.
There are two sources of transfats, also known as trans fatty acids:

  • Transfat formed naturally - This type of trans fat can be found in animal products like high fat meat-beef, lamb and full fat dairy foods
  • Trans fat formed during food processing - This type of transfat is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil (a process called hydrogenation) to make it more solid. Partially hydrogenated oils are used by food manufacturers to improve the texture, shelf life and flavour stability of foods. Overheating of oils and using the same fat repeatedly (commonly observed in market foods) can make oil rancid and increase the trans fat content. High fat refined snacks like pizzas, burgers, French fries, samosas, mathris, kachoris, processed foods etc. are common sources of trans fats

As a consumer, the most important thing to know about transfat is that it raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol. An elevated LDL blood cholesterol level increases your risk of developing heart disease.

Cholestrol:Cholestrol is a waxy fat like substance that is found in all cells of the body. It travels through the bloodstream and is important for the functioning of the body.

Total Cholesterol:This is the total measured cholesterol in your blood. This number includes all other types of cholesterol such as HDL and LDL. High blood cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.

HDL:HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The HDL cholesterol is often called "good" cholesterol because it helps carry cholesterol away from your body's organs and to your liver where it can be removed. To help you remember, that HDL is the "good" cholesterol, recall that the "H" stands for high and higher HDL cholesterol is good.

LDL:LDL stands low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The LDL cholesterol is sometimes called "bad" cholesterol because it's the type of cholesterol that is linked with a higher chance of heart disease. Remember that L stands for "low" and you want to keep LDL lower in your blood.

What is High Blood Cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia?

Too much cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesterolemia) can be serious. People with high blood cholesterol have a greater chance of getting heart disease. Cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries (blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body). This buildup of cholesterol is called plaque. Over time, plaque can cause narrowing of the arteries.

Evaluation criteria for Hypercholesterolemia:


Total plasma cholesterol (mg/100ml)

Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (mg/100ml)

Desirable level

< 200


Borderline high level



High level risk



Recommendations for Trans fats and Cholestrol:

According to WHO, out of 15-30 % of energy coming from total fat, less than 1% should be coming from trans fat and less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.