For the past week, it has been all over the news that the FDA is requiring all companies to discontinue the use of any Trans Fats in their products. Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said “that while the amount of trans fats in the country’s diet has declined dramatically in the last decade, they ‘remain an area of significant public health concern.’ The trans fats have long been criticized by nutritionists, and New York and other local governments have banned them” (HuffingtonPost.com). Even major food chains, such as McDonalds have taken initiative to remove the fats from all of their menu items. However, you can still find many items at your local grocery store that contain them, whether the Nutritional Chart states it or not. Here are some common questions people ask about Trans Fats:
What exactly is a Trans Fat?
“Trans fat is a specific type of fat that is formed when liquid oils are turned into solid fats, such as shortening or stick margarine. During this
process — called hydrogenation — hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to increase the shelf life and flavor stability of foods” -FDA.Gov
Trans fats can be found in frozen pizzas, microwave popcorn, and refrigerated dough, among other items as well.
What can Trans Fats do to your body?
Scientists say there are no health benefits to trans fats, and they can raise so-called “bad” cholesterols, increasing the risk of heart disease — the leading cause of death in the United States.
“The Nutritional Chart says that there are no Trans Fats, so it’s good, right?”
Not necessarily. According to current FDA guidelines, products can contain .5g of Trans Fats per serving and still be labeled as Trans Fat Free. The problem is when more than one serving is eaten, the number increases. It’s not hard to consume 4g of Trans Fats without even knowing it.
“How can I find out if the product is truly Trans Fat Free?”
Check the ingredients. Any time you see the words “Partially hydrogenated” it means trans fat. Another way is to eat as many fresh and frozen foods as possible.
The FDA hasn’t given a deadline when all products must phase them out, however, it should be within the next 12 months.
Kimberly Renoud BS, NASM, ACE, PES, CES
Emerge Fitness Training