Another cause of high levels of inflammation comes from trans fats, formed from the process of the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils.152,153 This causes the oil to become solid at room temperature and gives foods with partially hydrogenated oil a longer shelf life.154 Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is used in deep fryers in restaurants because it does not have to be changed as often as other oils.
Trans fats can become incorporated into the walls of blood vessels, causing these cells to produce increased amounts of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha.155 Trans fats can cause cells of the immune system to produce increased amounts of TNF-alpha as well.156,157 Trans fats can also elevate levels of C-reactive protein in the body.158
*A major source of trans fats in the diet in India is from the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil vanaspati.159*
Ghee from grass-fed cows would be a much better option to use for cooking or other uses. Some of the commonly consumed Indian foods that can contain trans fats are sweet biscuits, butter biscuits, plain cake, barfi, pinni, gulab-jamun, halwa, jalebi, churi, kheer, shakarpara, indian bread, potato kachori, chewra, paapri, plain khichri, vegetable biryani, mathri, samosa, and potato puri.160
A food product can claim that it contains 0 grams of trans fat as long as the food product contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.161
Foods that can contain trans fats include cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pie crusts, donuts, potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips, packaged or microwave popcorn, fried food such as fried potatoes and fried chicken, canned biscuits, cinnamon rolls, frozen pizza crusts, household shortening, nondairy coffee creamer, margarine, bakery products, fast foods, and packaged snacks.162,163 When checking food labels, also check the ingredients list to see if the food contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil which is a source of trans fat in processed foods. In addition to ghee from grass-fed cows, grass-fed butter and extra virgin coconut oil are some of the best options to use for cooking or in recipes.
152 Mozaffarian, D., Pischon, T., Hankinson, S. E., Rifai, N., Joshipura, K., Willett, W. C., & Rimm, E. B. (2004). Dietary Intake of Trans Fatty Acids and Systemic Inflammation in Women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
79(4), 606–612. doi:10.1093/ajcn/79.4.606
153 Dhaka, V., Gulia, N., Ahlawat, K. S., & Khatkar, B. S. (2011). Trans Fats- Sources, Health Risks and Alternative Approach - A Review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 48(5), 534–541. doi:10.1007/s13197-010-0225-8
155 Mozaffarian, Pischon, Hankinson, Rifai, Joshipura, Willett & Rimm, Dietary Intake of Trans Fatty Acids and Systemic Inflammation in Women.
157 Kiage, J. N., Merrill, P. D., Robinson, C. J., Cao, Y., Malik, T. A., Hundley, B. C., … Kabagambe, E. K. (2013). Intake of Trans Fat and All-Cause Mortality in the Reasons for Geographical and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 97(5), 1121– 1128. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.049064
159 Dhaka, Gulia, Ahlawat & Khatkar, Trans Fats-Sources, Health Risks and Alternative Approach - A Review.
162 Mozaffarian, Pischon, Hankinson, Rifai, Joshipura, Willett & Rimm, Dietary Intake of Trans Fatty Acids and Systemic Inflammation in Women.
163 Dhaka, Gulia, Ahlawat & Khatkar, Trans Fats-Sources, Health Risks and Alternative Approach - A Review.