Trans fats have been in the news for the past few years. We have a general sense that they are not good for us, but do we know why? Do we know how to spot them? Trans fats were developed to create a solid fat out of oil by adding hydrogen to oils. But because our body does not recognize how to digest the artificially produced fats, research shows that trans fats are very dangerous, causing inflammation in the body, including plaque build-up in our arteries. Here are some tips to help us avoid trans fats:
- Trans fats are found mostly in quick, convenience or fast foods and shelf stable food products. Many restaurants still use trans fats in their foods.
- Read the label. Trans fat must be stated on the nutrition facts label of each product. However, if a product has less than .5g of trans fat in a serving, it is allowed to be listed as zero. So if we consume more than the listed serving size, we could end up consuming 1-2 g of trans fat from that product.
- Look for the words: “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient paragraph at the bottom of the food label. If we see these words avoid the product.
- If we are making the food ourselves, we can use healthier fats such as olive oil and canola oil.
While there are many factors that help us to be healthy, avoiding trans fat is definitely a very important factor. Remember fruits and vegetables should be the bulk of what we eat, and unless you deep-fry them they don’t contain trans fat.