Trans Fats

Doughnut

 

I just wanted to give you some information about trans fats, since my next post will cover news about trans fats regulations.

 

Trans fat are hydrogenated vegetal fats and shortening added to many industrial foods like cookies, bread, cereals, crackers, dressings, margarines, popcorn, fried foods, toppings… the list can go on and on. They are also found in most fried food.

 

They increase LDL, the bad kind of cholesterol, and lower HDL, the good kind of cholesterol. They also increase inflammation and heart weakening and are associated with many other negative health effects, including weight gain.

 

Be very careful when reading labels. Although manufacturers have to list trans fats by law, they only have to list them when the quantity is larger than a certain amount. They are very careful to stay under the limit or to suggest a smaller serving size that doesn’t reach the reportable minimum threshold that requires listing. If you see Trans fats as 0 grams, but you get two of those very small cookies, you are in! The serving is so small that the trans fat content falls below the reportable threshold. Always check the list of ingredients to look for words like “partially hydrogenated oil” (usually palm or other vegetable fat) or “shortening.” Another tricky fact is that because trans fats are solids at normal temperatures, we don’t recognize the fatty feeling associated with the normal form of what was used: oil. So it is much more difficult for the consumer to recognize them. Instead of the oily feeling, we have a delicious texture!

 

Regarding all fried commercial foods, almost all of them are fried in trans fats as those fats are easier to ship and store in a restaurant.

 

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