You've all heard about the trans fats dangers, but did you know that an ingredient label can say “zero trans fats”, but still have plenty of partially hydrogenated oils in it?
No real surprise
Artificial trans fats were originally thought to be a healthy alternative to saturated fats. Surprise surprise, the natural fat turned out to be healthier after all. (Think of what people have eaten for centuries – butter, eggs, whole milk, meat, etc. from their family farms!) Now it is widely accepted that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (“trans fats”) have been strongly linked to a higher incidence of certain health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, psoriasis, infertility, learning disabilities, and many others.
They hope we won't look
Trans fats are highly processed and much cheaper than healthy fats, therefore I'm sure the food manufacturers were not happy when in January 2006 it began to be required for them to list it on their ingredient labels. However, they only have to state the amount if there is more than 0.5 grams per serving, so they can change their serving size and still list “zero trans fats” on the label!
Trans fats are listed as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the ingredient list, so the only way you really know if it's in there is to…yep, read the label! (You'd be amazed how fast your eye gets at spotting that in the ingredient list!)
It's much easier than it used to be
Not very many years ago, even in 2004 when I began eating healthier, the only way to avoid trans fats was to buy organic, and there weren't many options – some didn't taste great either. I'm very thankful that now it is MUCH easier to find foods (yummy ones too) without it and that it has become more widely recognized as the terribly unhealthy ingredient that it is.
- Read about healthy fats
- Dieting/my “food conversion”
- Cod liver oil – answers to common questions
- Popcorn recipe with info on a healthy oil to cook with
- Eating healthy, without sacrifices!
- Are supplements necessary for good health?
- Harmful effects of trans fats