Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed removing from the Generally Recognized as Safe list (GRAS), industrialized Trans fats or those that don’t exist naturally in foods. Yes, Trans fats exist in animal foods so we do consume them more than we probably think but most of the scientific evidence indicates that it is the industrialized Trans fats, those made in a food chemistry lab, that are connected to an increased risk of heart disease.
Most people know that there are good fats – plant fats – and bad fats – animal fats, and likely you’re aware of Trans fats as plant fats that are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, but you, like many others, may not think about all the foods that can contain Trans fats. The chemical process that converts plant oils into Trans fats acts to improve the stability of the plant fat making these fats good choices for foods that need a longer shelf-life like cookies, crackers, cakes, frozen baked good and pizza, coffee creamers, snack foods, and ready to use frostings.
Trans fats are listed on the label in the Nutrition Facts Panel but you can also see if they are present by looking in the ingredient list for the words “partially hydrogenated oil”. (PHOs) PHOs are vegetable or plant oils that have been chemically altered to change them from unsaturated fats to more saturated fats but the bigger concern is that the chemical process creates a more heart Unhealthy fat than naturally occurring saturated fats.
The FDA has issued a 60 day comment period for this proposal and if it is approved food companies will have time to make changes in their products. In the meantime, spend more time reading ingredient lists and looking at the Nutrition Facts panel. If a food has more Cholesterol, Trans or Saturated fat than another food, choose the one with less total of these three nutrients.
You can read more here: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM373957.pdf