There are two types of trans fat, the naturally occurring and synthetically made trans fat. Naturally occurring trans fat can derive from the gut of animals, such as milk and meat products. The second type of trans fat, artificial trans fat or trans fatty acids are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make more solid. The industry gravitate to use of trans fats in their foods as their inexpensive to use, provide more texture and taste and contain a longer shelf life, which means rancidity decreases and profit increases for food companies.
The good news: changes are coming with trans fat! Recently, the FDA announced complete elimination of trans fat. Until those changes are implemented and permeates the system, it’s still important to be aware of how bad tarns fat really are and why reading nutrition food labels is more imperative than ever!Until the 1990’s, we didn’t know how bad trans fats are for the public. However, with increased research and awareness of the impact, more and more products are providing consumers easy access to information on the fat content and a breakdown of the ingredients.
The caveat: Products are allowed to advertise themselves if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving!
Why are trans fat so bad you ask?
- Raises “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Reduces “good” HDL cholesterol, which adds to the clogging of arteries
- Increase lipoprotein and triglyceride levels
- Increases risk for heart attack, stroke and/or diabetes
I’m glad to see the government is recognizing the harm of trans fat trumps any potential “benefits.” On a label, you may recognize the artificially made trans fats as “partially hydrogenated oils.” Thankfully, as of November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration no longer recognizes partially hydrogenated oils as listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS)! Additionally, several nations, such as Denmark, Sweden and Canada and jurisdictions, California, New York City, Baltimore, and Montgomery County, MD, have taken measures that have either reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.
Until the new trans fat regulations are put into effect, how are you curbing your trans fat intake? What products have you been surprised to find contain artificially made trans fat?
Photo Credit: Stalking the wild breaded pork tenderloin in Iowa