Do We Still Need To Look Out For Trans Fats?

What are trans fats? They’re partially hydrogenated oil and at one time were touted as healthy. Crisco is probably one of the best known hydrogenated vegetable oils. It came to market in 1911 and was touted as healthy, since it was made of vegetable oil. Even up to the 1980s, people promoting healthy living promoted the oils containing trans fats. Burger King’s switch to partially hydrogenated oils—trans fats—was described by the Center for Science in Public Interest as a “great boon to Americans’ arteries,” but by 2018 the FDA banned the fats in the USA. Crisco has changed its formula to remove most trans fats.

Trans fats are still in foods.

Even though it may be banned, small amounts of manmade trans fats still are in foods, primarily because of processing methods. It may be in food before the ban that’s still on the shelves. Remember some snack foods seem last forever on the shelf. One reason is that manmade trans fats is created to extend shelf life. Natural trans fats found in animal products may actually be good for you, but manmade may cause insulin resistance and other physical problems.

Think microwave popcorn and fast foods.

If it’s fried, it may contain trans fats. Fried chicken, French fries, donuts and other stop and chomp foods may contain trans fats. When oil is heated to high temperatures, the amount of trans fats it contains increases. Each time it’s reused and heated the amount continues to increase. Butter substitutes produced before 2018 may have trans fats. The high melting point of trans fats makes it a good option for microwave popcorn, too.

Bakery good, like cakes, pies, muffins and pastries are made with margarine or vegetable shortening.

If you want a flakier pie crust or softer pastry, margarine or vegetable shortening is good to use. It also is cheaper and has a longer shelf life, making it ideal for manufacturers. Partially hydrogenated oils are no longer part of vegetable shortening or margarine, so the amount of trans fats they contain is diminished. Fried donuts and other fried sweets may still contain it.

  • Nondairy creamers contain mostly sugar and oil. Traditionally it was partially hydrogenated oil for a longer shelf life. While the liquid form has changed to fully hydrogenated oil, there are still some powdered non-dairy creamers you may have in your cupboard, since they last longer.
  • Trans fats can also be found in smaller amounts in a range of other foods manufactured before the FDA ban went into full effect.
  • Trans fats cause inflammation and inflammation can lead to heart disease, arthritis, some types of cancer and diabetes. Both butter and margarine contain trans fats, but butter’s is natural and margarine’s is manmade. Studies show inflammatory markers increase with margarine, not butter.
  • Read the labels for ingredients and serving size, particularly potato and corn chips, canned frosting, crackers and pizza and avoid those with partially hydrogenated oil. Companies are allowed to say they have 0 trans fats if the content is as high as 0.5 grams per serving.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

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