Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ta Ta, Trans Fats

Excerpt from today's lunch break:
Intern 1: [munching a packet of 2 saltines]
Intern 2: Did you know saltines are made with hydrogenated oils?
Intern 1:(uncomfortably) er...yeah...but I don't worry much about 2 saltines (FYI...dietitians hawkeye what each other are eating. Guilty pleasure.)
Intern 2: No, but can you imagine how easily it would be to munch a sleeve of those? Most people wouldn't even realize they'd be getting half their daily limit of saturated fats right there.

Alright, so our convos are pretty lame-ola. However, this made a great intro for a post about...


Americans are becoming more knowledgeable about the dangers of trans fats. According to studies conducted in various universities, consumer awareness of trans fats increased from 84% in 2006 to 92% in 2007. The number of people acting on this knowledge (buying foods labeled "trans fat free") also rose from 32% to 37%.

This still doesn't make me skip.

Most of the increase has been attributed to media messages, news coverage, and food labeling promoting foods made without trans fats.

Despite increasing awareness about trans fat dangers, the study reported that
most people are unaware of the sources of trans fat. Only 21% could name 3 sources of trans fats, and a shmumpy 46% could not think of a single source.

The problem with relying on food labeling to tell you what to eat:
food manufacturers are not required to report trans fat content.

Seeing the words "contains no trans fats" is helpful, but wouldn't you like to just know for yourself which foods are good for your body?! All "We are Healthy People, Hear Us Roar"-like?!

Yes, I'm stubborn and idealistic.

Yes, you deserve to be, too.

Here's why:
  • Diets rich in trans fat cause fat redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen and higher body weight, even when total dietary calories are controlled
  • Saturated fats and trans fats are the main factors in raising cholesterol
  • The American Diabetes Association reports that studies have shown monkeys fed trans-fats were more likely to develop diabetes
  • Based on a Harvard study, even 1 g of trans fat consumed daily may raise risk of heart disease by 20%





Alright, now sit back down on your couch, we're not done.

Trans fats are contained in partially hydrogenated oils, found in cookies, crackers, cakes, frosting, shortening, and fried foods such as chicken or fish, fries, donuts, or onion rings.

You can eliminate trans fats by:
  • Buying items that are baked instead of fried
  • Substituting hydrogenated oils or shortenings used in baking for butter or canola, soy, or cottonseed oil
  • Eating naturally-occuring, unprocessed foods. Stay in the perimeter of the supermarket!

Congratulations- you've just joined the twenty-some percent of people that can tell you why a baked chip is better than a fried one.

Smarty Pants :)

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

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