What to Know about Trans Fat Foods?

Margarine Tub

What to Know about Trans Fat Foods?

The American Heart Association and virtually every health authority and expert wants us to cut down on trans fat  foods. The creation of trans fat occurs when liquid oils solidify by partial hydrogenation.  This process stretches food shelf life. It also changes safe unsaturated fat into dangerous fat.

Experts blame trans fat foods for at least 30,000 premature deaths a year. Experts now say trans fats are “the biggest food-processing disaster in U.S. history“.

Some products have already listed the amount of trans fat on the Nutrition Facts Panel. All others did so by January 1, 2006.

Trans Fat Foods

Once a vegetable oil is hydrogenized a new fat has been created. Such artificially hydrogenated vegetable fats were an addition to our diet. Prior, the human body had no experience with them.

Since the presence of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils does not serve as the best determinant of trans fat foods, here are some facts to consider:

Margarines are Trans Fat Foods
Margarine’s are Trans Fat Foods
  • Some margarine’s contain some partially hydrogenated oils. The combined amounts of trans and saturated fats are often less than the amount of saturated fat in butter.
  • Spreads with plant stanol or sterol esters also contain partially hydrogenated oils. The plant stanol/sterol esters provide a LDL-cholesterol labeling benefit. The trans fat content is a negligible 0.5-1 gram per tablespoon.
  • Peanut butter, which is rich in mostly beneficial unsaturated fat, may contain 1 to 2 percent partially hydrogenated oil to prevent oil separation. The resulting amount of trans fat is not detectable in a 2-tablespoon serving.

Peanut Butter and Bread

Why Trans Fat is So Bad

Trans may lower HDL (good) cholesterol, makes it more difficult for arteries to dilate and raise the risk of diabetes. Most stick margarine has more trans or saturated fat than tub margarine. The trans fat helps stick margarine retain its shape.

Source: IFIC

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing

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