Every day billions of people around the world unknowingly eat food that contains a toxic chemical additive. And more than half a million die each year because of it.
This additive – artificial trans fat – clogs arteries and leads to heart attacks, and it doesn’t improve the taste or make food cheaper. No one asks for it in their food, and no one will miss it when it’s gone.
Trans fat – partially hydrogenated oil – is used as a substitute for butter or lard in spreads, fried food and baked goods.
Because it is inexpensive and prolongs the shelf life of products, trans fat once seemed like a silver bullet for food manufacturers, who use it in everything from crackers to pastries, breads, margarine, chips and pizza dough.
You might not know that you’ve eaten trans fat, but your heart will. It is chemically different from other, natural fats and is made by bubbling hydrogen into liquid oil, so it solidifies at room temperature, which is convenient for some food uses.