Trans fats have been around since the 1940's. It was then that scientists discovered that by injecting hydrogen into vegetable oil, the oil would partially harden. This not only made food tastier but also made it last a good deal longer as well. The consequence was a more cost-efficient method to produce food. Fifty years on and scientists discover in 1990 that trans fat is very bad for our health.
Trans fats are responsible for increasing cholesterol levels, especially the LDL or low density lipoproteins. High levels of LDL will cause excessive plaque buildup in the arteries which will result in decreased blood flow to the heart. Trans fat also decreases the amount of HDL or high density proteins, which are responsible for taking excess cholesterol back to liver to be processed as a waste product. As you can see, having these two components of total cholesterol levels out of normal range can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
As of January 2006, the FDA requires all food manufacturers to have the amount of trans fat listed on their nutrition labels. If you take a look at the labels of your favorite processed foods, you should be able to spot the amount of trans fat listed between the saturated fats and cholesterol. It is recommended that you stay away from trans fat altogether. A lot of food manufacturers are taking the trans fat out of their products to promote a healthier lifestyle.
But is the trans fat labeling correct.
Here is an interesting point. When you look at a nutrition label and it lists zero grams of trans fat, make a point to read the ingredients as well. If you come across anything listed as partially hydrogenated oil, the product contains trans fat. Partially hydrogenated oil of any sort is a different name for trans fat.
So how are they getting away with this
A few companies will say that they are not required to list trans fat if the product contains less than 1/2 % trans fat. But think about this. They are listing the percentages by serving size. Their serving sizes are definitely not what a typical person considers a serving size. Try giving a teenage boy the recommended serving size of macaroni and cheese and you will have one very hungry boy on your hands.
So if there is 1/2% trans fat in a serving and you eat what would be considered two servings, you have just consumed 1% trans fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fat consumption to 1% of your total calories per day. You have already reached your limit of trans fat for the day in one dish.
Be a detective and read the nutrition label and all of the ingredients. If your favorite brand contains trans fat, switch to another. Write the company and let them know that you switched and why. Educate your friends and family about trans fat labeling. Do it for your health and the health of your family.
Do you know how to read food labels? Maybe you THOUGHT you did. Truth is, you probably don't. But Jeff Novick of the Pritikin Center does, and in his full talk he shows the 3 easy steps you MUST know if you ever buy foods at any supermarket or "health" food store.
In this online excerpt, Novick -- who used to be a food service manager at Kraft Foods -- exposes one of the dirty secrets major food corporations use to deceive consumers. It's no accident labels are so confusing!
High-protein/low-carb diet proponents claim that the US started eating "low-fat" foods 20 years ago and yet still gained weight, "proving" that the low-fat diet wasn't effective.
But that's nonsense, as Novick demonstrates in his talk.
The foods weren't/aren't low-fat at all. Food companies use sleight of hand to make them appear that way.
Novick shows how to cut through the nonsense of food labeling to see what you need to see, and understand what you're really getting.
This is an excerpt from Novick's 80-minute talk at the VegSource 2007 Healthy Lifestyle Expo, and part of a 12-part series of top health expert presentations.
In his full fascinating and entertaining presentation, Novick teachers the "three easy rules" for cutting through the b.s. and quickly understanding food labels, to know exactly what you're getting. After watching his talk, you'll never look at packaged food the same!