Trans fat is probably the unhealthiest form of fat as it raises the level of cholesterol in our body to alarming levels and suppresses the HDL cholesterol. Commercial food industries generate Trans fats by altering the chemical structure of vegetable oil. This is done by incorporating hydrogen molecule with vegetable oil. As a result, the oil changes into solid fat, ready to be used in various commercial food products.
Trans fat found in the meat of grass eating animals and dairy products, derived from such animals, is actually healthy and beneficial for human body. In fact, a piece of ruminant animal steak replenishes between 0.5 g to 1.4 g of trans fat per oz. However, every healthy diet program includes trans-fat in its plan in one way or the other. Ever wondered why?
Difference between CLA and Industrial Trans Fat
Trans fats that occur naturally are found in the bodies of ruminant animals. Rumen bacteria present in the guts of grass eating animals such as goat, sheep, cow etc. is responsible for the production of CLA. The ruminal microbe lipolysis and bio hydrogenation changes grass into trans-rumenic (which is CLA) and trans-vaccenic acid. Our bodies naturally produce CLA by processing trans-vaccenic acid. The chemical structures of industrial Trans fats and CLA vary widely. In comparison, industrial trans-fat only contains trans- bond while CLA is a combination of both trans- and cis- bonds.
This difference in chemical structures renders both fats widely different properties. Trans unsaturated fatty acids can lead to obesity, jeopardize heart health and cancer.
On the other hand, people eating diet rich in CLA were found to have increased immunity against
- Atherosclerosis or heart diseases
- Hair loss
- Bone health
Studies in animals have revealed that CLA can reduce blockages in arteries by macrophage lipid formation. In order to prevent heart diseases, you should eat food products that are rich in vitamin K2 and CLA.
Research performed on rats revealed that CLA increased their ability to tolerate glucose and insulin action. It has been found that increased levels of CLA in adipose tissues can lower the risk of diabetes. CLA can also help control hyperinsulinemia by raising the levels of adiponectin, which in turn improves insulin sensitivity. Although human clinical studies have shown inconsistent results, yet the scientists are hopeful that CLA can prove to be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes. CLA controls the cell cycle by stopping metastatic tumors from spreading and decreasing inflammation. It blocks the metabolic pathway of omega-6 PUFA thus the production of eicosanoids is stopped. By using dairy products rich in CLA you can decrease the risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
CLA promotes weight loss and raises lean body mass. It improves overall physique and is usually recommended to people who want to build muscles without losing weight. CLA promotes the breakdown of fat so that it can be used quickly and efficiently as the energy source. That being said, fat loss in humans is minor and not as significant as it is being advertised. However, taking CLA supplementation along with proper diet plan will not harm you and might even prove beneficial.