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The Dangers of Trans Fat

Fitness for mind and body.

Where Trans Fats Lurk:

Here's where artificial trans are found, based on Food and Drug Administration data:*

Chocolate Donut

  • 51 percent in baked goods (breads, cakes, cookies, crackers, pies)
  • 22 percent in margarines
  • 10 percent in fried potatoes
  • 6 percent in potato chips, corn chips
  • 5 percent in shortening
  • 4 percent in salad dressing
  • 1 percent in breakfast cereals

*Total is not 100% due to rounding

To Avoid Trans Fats:

  • Use olive oil for all cooking.
  • Use trans fat-free margarine - soft tub or liquid margarine instead of hard stick margarine.
  • Generally, the softer the better and liquid is better yet. A tablespoon of stick margarine has about 1.9 grams of trans fat; a tablespoon of regular tub margarine, 0.8 grams. Check the label for trans-free brands. All Promise margarine is trans fat-free as are Fleishmann's in tubs. By government standards, trans-fat means less than 0.5 grams per serving.
  • When eating out, avoid deep fried foods! A batter-dipped whole fried onion -- an appetizer popular at steak houses -- has 18 grams of trans fats, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Other trans fat horrors: cheese fries, onion rings, fried seafood and fried chicken and fish.
  • Restrict foods made with "partially hydrogenated" oils as noted on labels. The higher those words appear in the ingredient list, the more trans fat. Half the fat of a cookie may be trans fat. A doughnut contains four to nine grams of trans fat. If a label does not list trans fat, add up what is listed (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) and subtract from the total fat grams. The difference is trans fat. Also, be sure your food is low in saturated fat, a partner that brings on heart disease.

Trans fat-free recipe:

Fiesta Seafood Casserole
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes with garlic and onions
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
16 ounces (2 cups) bottled clam juice (or dry white wine)
2 cups instant brown rice
1-1/2 cup diced smoked turkey
12 uncooked jumbo shrimp, shelled, veins removed, tails on (about 3/4-pound)
1/2 pound of sea scallops, each cut in half
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
12 mussels in shells
2 canned, roasted red peppers, cut in 5-by-1-inch strips

In a skillet, heat olive oil. Add garlic, onion and pepper. Saute until soft. Transfer to a very large, shallow casserole dish. Stir in tomatoes, thyme, rice, turkey, shrimp, scallops, peas, salt and pepper. Decorate top with mussels (push hinged side down into mixture slightly) and red pepper. Bake uncovered in 375-degree oven, 30 minutes. Let sit ten minutes, covered, before serving. Recipe serves six.
Printable version of the recipe (New Window)

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