Trans fats are fats that started out as healthy i.e. polyunsaturated and monounsaturated vegetable fats, but have been treated and heated to a very high temperature to make them more stable when used in food processing. These fats are used to make commercial cakes, cookies, cereals, snacks, ready meals etc. in order to prolong sell by dates as the processing stops the fats oxidising and going rancid.
So, these altered fats are great for commercial food manufacturing, but very bad news for human health as they contribute to levels of cell-damaging free radicals in the body.
Many European countries have banned the use of trans fats as research has shown that these ‘man-made’ fats increase the risk of coronary heart disease as they cause an increase in bad cholesterol and decrease levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Health agencies state that there is no safe level of trans fats as they provide absolutely NO benefits to human health.
Read the labels of the food you buy and never buy anything that contains shortening, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. Also bear in mind that fast food is often packed full of these nasties and be wary of any processed food that has a long sell by date.