Everybody knows to avoid trans (or bad) fat: but do you know where it’s hiding in your food?

November 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Nutrition Tips

At Spectrum Nutrition, we have one rule regarding food…. No Trans Fats! That stuff is terrible for your heart.

 

Trans fats are found naturally in some animal-based foods, but are also formed when liquid oils are made into semi-solid fats like shortening and hard margarine through a process called hydrogenation. Scientific evidence has shown that dietary saturated and trans fats can increase your risk of developing heart disease. It turns out that our bodies can handle a little saturated fat, but trans fat is 20 times worse for your heart than saturated fat. The reason: trans fat raises the bad LDL cholesterol AND lowers the good HDL cholesterol, whereas saturated fat only raises the bad cholesterol.

 

Trans fats are still abundant in our food supply despite efforts made by government to eliminate them in their products. Here is where they most commonly reside:

  • Commercially baked goods made with shortening, hard margarine or oils containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and fats (think donuts, cakes, pastries, muffins, and croissants)
  • Some packaged goods like crackers, cookies, puddings, cake mixes, peanut butter (no-stir kind), and some breakfast cereals containing raisins. Anything that has an unusually long shelf life, likely has trans fat in it.
  • Commercially prepared fried foods, like French fries or breaded foods prepared using shortening or hydrogenated oils.

So what can you do to keep trans fats out of your diet?

  • Minimize the use of packaged foods, commercially baked goods and fast food and make it a habit to ask what kind of fat is used in their preparation.
  • Check the nutrition facts table and opt for products with no trans fat.
  • Always, always check the ingredients list: Some nutrition facts tables will state 0g trans fat on label, but will have vegetable oil shortening or partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredients list. These are both trans fats.