The sneaky trans fat is in more foods than you might think. The food industry has disguised the name and hidden it in the ingredient list but worry no more, I will teach you how to find them!
Trans fats are made when vegetable oils are artificially saturated, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated.
A chemical process that turns liquid vegetable oil into a more solid form. For instance, the process of hydrogenation turns cottonseed oil into Crisco. Companies do this to increase the longevity of a product by making it more “shelf stable.”
Consequences of Trans Fat
Fats are a currently a controversial topic within the scientific community, but everyone can agree that trans fats aren’t doing us any favors. Here is my quick hit list of why you should avoid eating trans fats – even the FDA agrees with me.
Trans fatty acids increase the amount of inflammation in the body.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
Regular consumption of trans fats will increase your risk of heart disease.
Not Recommended by the FDA
The FDA guidelines suggest that you keep trans fat consumption as low as possible by limiting all foods that contain trans fat. Trans fat has no upper limit or percent daily value recommended.
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Trans Fat and Food Labels
There are two places trans fats come from, processed foods and animal products. If you are worried about consuming trans fats, you can eat plants and avoid the fiasco, or hone in on the ingredient list.
Can you just look for packaging that says trans fat-free?
Food labeling is a confusing business in the states, packaging laws seem to be lenient of the producers, making it a bit tricky for us consumers. Don’t trust the pretty print on the front and turn the product over to find the facts.
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Let’s start with the nutrition label. Even if there is a zero next to “trans fat per serving” there might still be trans fat in that product. As long as there is less than 0.5 grams fo trans fat per serving, the FDA allows food to be labeled as having zero grams of trans fat. That tub of margarine that boasts “no trans fat” or “trans fat-free” could still contain 0.49 grams of trans fat per serving.
Annoying, I know.
This is why I always recommend you go straight to the ingredient list. There is one word that will always give away trans fat: hydrogenation. If you see any combination of words that has hydrogenated in the mix, then my friend, have found trans fat.
Foods with Trans Fats
If you look at this list of foods containing trans fats, you will quickly realize these might be some fo your favorites. Unless you are swearing off french fries for life – it’s likely you are going to consume trans fat. If everything in life was based on science I would suggest never eating trans fatty foods, however, we should all strive to live life in moderation. This list is merely here to keep you aware which foods are likely to contain trans fat it would be wise to limit them. It’s not surprising that plants beat fried food – just remember it’s what we eat on a daily basis that shapes our health and diet. Don’t freak out about trans fat, just try to eat a little less.
• Vegetable Shortening
• Crackers and Cookies
• Fried Foods
• Frozen Dough Products
• Coffee Creamer
• Baked Goods
• Microwave Popcorn
• Ready Made Frostings
• Pancake and Waffle Mixes
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TAKEAWAY ON TRANS FAT
• Trans fat can increase the risk of heart disease, raises LDL, and causes inflammation
• Avoid eating processed foods with trans fat
• Meat and dairy contain small amounts of trans fats
• Don’t trust labels on food packaging. Go straight to the ingredient list, partially hydrogenated oil equals trans fat.