Artery-clogging trans fats can be found it a whole slew of foods, from peanut butter, to pot pies. The levels of trans fats in foods have been lowered over the last two decades, but the Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday they are eliminating all of them.
Trans fats are no longer “generally recognized as safe” and any use of them will require permission from the FDA. Of course, it will take some time before all trans fats are eliminated from the products that line our grocery store aisles.
Trans fats have been found to cause many health problems. These fats raise your “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower your “good” HDL cholesterol. This combination increases your risk for heart disease, which is the top killer of men and women in America. Trans fats clog arteries, and can lead to an elevated risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks.
There is also some evidence that trans fats can lead to increased risk of other chronic health problems, including, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. However, there is less scientific research on these disorders.
How to Avoid Trans Fats!
1. Read Food Labels: Food products are allowed to label foods that contain less than 0.5g Trans fats per serving as having No Trans fats. (This is a HUGE problem when the FDA advices citizens to only ingest 1gram of trans fat PER DAY) Which they then joyfully display all over their colorful packages. Don’t believe what products display on the front, flip it over and read the ingredient list!
Trans fats can be disguised as: Partially hydrogenated oil (soybean, canola, or others)
It sounds counterintuitive, but “fully” or “completely” hydrogenated oil doesn’t contain trans fat. The artificial process used to make completely hydrogenated oil doesn’t result in trans-fatty acids- like it does when partially hydrogenated oils are created. However, if a food label lists “hydrogenated” vegetable oil, it could mean the oil contains some trans fat. To be safe, it is best to avoid any foods that list any form of hydrogenated oils.
2. Limit intake of processed foods. Foods that have added trans fats are usually processed foods- not whole, real foods, with an easily comprehendible list of ingredients.
3. Limit intake of fried foods. Some restaurants fry their foods in partially hydrogenated oils. This also means limiting fast food stops!
4. Cook and bake at home! If you are making your own food you know exactly what goes into it! (and what doesn’t!)
5. Support local farmer’s, buy from markets and produce stands, or plant your own garden!
Trans Fat Bans Around the World
Denmark: First country to enforce strict laws limiting the sale of foods containing trans fats, in March 2003.
Switzerland: Banned trans fats in 2008.
Iceland: Total ban on trans fats.
Now that the FDA has announced the ban, the next step is removing it from foods in our grocery stores. AND making sure the replacement isn’t something just as unhealthy for us. Interesterified oil may not be the answer.
How do you feel about this recent ban? Are you happy with the FDA’s decision?Sources: ABC NEWS
New England Journal of Medicine