TRANS FAT

Do you know about the dangers of trans fat? Find out why health professionals want us to eliminate this type of fat from our diets in the reading practice exercise below. You can find the meaning of the words in bold in the vocabulary list under the text, and you can check your understanding by doing the Trans Fats Comprehension Quiz.

Does your mouth water when you think of cookies, donuts, burgers and French fries?

Many people prefer junk food like this to healthy food because they develop a taste for it. Processed, baked, and fried foods often contain a high amount of trans fat.

Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol that your body needs. Fatty foods do more than cause obesity. Trans fat build up in the body and block blood flow to the heart. People whose diet contains a high percentage of trans fat are at risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

Trans fat is a semi-solid type of oil. It is made by adding hydrogen to liquid oil. Food companies and restaurants choose to use trans fat oils because they’re cheap and they make food like crackers and baked goods last longer. They also improve the taste and texture of food. Trans fat became very popular in the second half of the 20th century. This is around the time butter got a bad name for its cholesterol levels. People were told to use margarine containing trans fat instead because it was “healthier”, but we now know that butter is actually the healthier option.

Today doctors know how dangerous processed foods like margarine can be. In countries such as the US and Canada there are new government restrictions on food production. Food and beverage makers must attach a Nutrition Fact label to their products. These list daily recommendations and detail all the ingredients in a product, including trans fat if they’re used. In 2007 New York City banned trans fat from all restaurants, and according to recent studies this has prevented hundreds of heart attacks and strokes. Even fast food chains such as McDonalds are being forced to change their recipes as people become more health-conscious. In Europe, food manufacturers have voluntarily started using labels that clearly show how healthy each product is according to a simple rating system.

We all need some fat in our diet. There are three different types of fats: saturated fat, unsaturated fat and trans fat. Doctors recommend that we get most of our fatty calories from unsaturated fats. Neither butter nor margarine fit this category, though other spreads like peanut butter do.

Reading the list of ingredients on the label is a good way of avoiding dangerous ingredients like trans fat.

Another way is to avoid eating out, especially in fast food restaurants.

Also, when shopping try to buy the majority of your food in the fresh-food section and limit the amount of processed and packaged food you buy.

You might not think this is important if you’re young, but the choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life. The healthier your diet is now, the longer and healthier your life will be.

Vocabulary

Word

Meaning

Word

Meaning

avoid verb

to not use, or to stay away from something

make sb’s mouth water idiom

to make someone want to eat a certain food, esp. after smelling or seeing it

ban verb

to not allow something

obesity noun

the condition of being very overweight

cholesterol noun

a substance present in animal fat and tissues; too much can lead to heart disease

process verb

to make something with technology and machines in a factory

detail verb

to describe in full

restriction noun

a rule or regulation that limits what someone can do

diet noun

all the foods a person normally eats

saturated fat noun

a type of fat, esp. found in foods like butter, cheese, red meat, etc.

hydrogen noun

a colourless gas that burns easily

stroke noun

the sudden bursting of a blood vessel in the brain that can cause serious illness or death

ingredients noun

all of the foods that go into a meal or food product

texture noun

the way food feels in your mouth, eg. soft, smooth, rough, crunchy, etc.

junk food noun

unhealthy food, esp. snacks and take-away or take-out food

trans fats (or trans fatty acidsnoun

artificial fats that make food last longer and taste better but are bad for health

majority noun

most of the people or things in a group

voluntarily adverb

without being required or forced, or without wanting payment

1 comentario en “TRANS FAT

  • “Trans Fat” is a reading that is presented in an ingenious way, since it has at the end of it a small vocabulary of words that are highlighted within the reading, these are key words that will help the student to understand the text better. Excellent idea!
    The text would be evaluated by taking a small multiple choice questionnaire, which allows us to see if the student understood the reading

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