All fats are made up of carbon chains with hydrogen atoms attached to them
by covalent bonds.
Trans-Fats are one such fat, they are unsaturated fats with the structure of atoms arranged such that the hydrogen atoms are on 2 different sides of the carbon atoms, but their configuration is different from that of the standard unsaturated fat. (see diagrams)
When we say a fat is “saturated” it means that the maximum amount of hydrogen atoms that can be attached to each carbon has been attached, in the case of most fats, this is 2.
Trans-Fats are different from standard fats in the fact that the positioning of the hydrogen atoms are different, this gives rise to the two fats having different chemical and physical properties.
To give an example of how the structure is changed, the “CIS” (Latin for “on the same side of”) fatty acid has a bend somewhere in the middle, whereas the Trans-Fats’ equivalent molecule with the same chemical composition is straight. This changes the melting point and makes it much more stable than standard fats.
Trans-Fats, were once said to be the replacement for saturated fat. But it is now known that they provide no known health benefits and are a leading cause of obesity in the world, they can cause cardiac disease, obesity,
Trans-Fats are also found in naturally occurring animal fat, but the Trans-Fats created by the process of hydrogenation has the “benefit” of being Halal, that is, suitable for consumption by Islamic law, it is also suitable for consumption by vegetarians.
What they do
Trans-Fats are stored as energy in the body, now this may seem like a good thing, but the reality is that this “energy” is stored as a layer in the arteries, can build up around the heart. This increases the risk of cardiac problems. This is not the only problem, there is also an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes due to the fact that insulin is unable to cope with the increased blood sugar levels.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils are often mistakenly labeled as Trans-fats, but
this is not the case, Trans-Fats are rather a byproduct of this process. However,
some fats are intentionally hydrogenated just so that Trans-Fats can be created.
The hydrogenation process involves the conversion of vegetable oils to either
solid or semi-solid fats.
Due to the atomic structure of Trans-fats, it is much more stable and thus can last longer
Hydrogenation means to add hydrogen to the substance; fats contain multiple
bonds joining the molecules. Most standard vegetable fats contain more than
a single double bond, but there are still a number of single bonds, a fat
is considered “saturated” when all the spaces for double bonds
have been filled.
When a fat undergoes hydrogenation, it produces Trans fat as a side effect, this fat is usually left in the product. Trans-fats are also found in naturally occurring animal fat, but this has the “benefit” of being Halal, that is, suitable for consumption by Islamic law, it is also suitable for consumption by vegetarians.
ThinkQuest 2006-2007 Unhealthy Fast Food Kevin: : Leonard : : Linas : : Bryan : : Lin