After January of 2006, the month that Congress made the food manufacturers squirm by forcing them to list trans fats on food labels, the American public got a glimpse at just how bad the processed food was that we were consuming on a daily basis. Since then, food manufacturers have scrambled to find substitutes for trans fats in order to display on their packaging the coveted “zero trans fat” burst.
But what does that really mean for us? Can we trust the labels or have manufacturers simply found ways to trick us into thinking the food is free of trans fats when it actually isn’t?
While you ponder that question, let’s talk about what exactly trans fats are and why they are so dangerous to our health. There are actually two kinds of trans fats. There’s the kind that is found naturally in dairy and meats, usually only trace amounts, and then there’s the artificial kind that is made when liquid oils are hardened. This last kind is the one we have to worry about. It’s found abundantly in fried fast foods, baked goods like cakes and cookies, popcorn, and other processed food.
These bad trans fats can significantly increase your risk of heart disease by clogging your arteries and increasing your levels of bad cholesterol, and should be avoided at all costs.
With that said, let’s go back to the question we posed before. How easy is it to find out if a food has trans fats in it or not? The answer is, not that easy. It’s not as simple as checking to see if the packaging says “zero trans fats.” Food manufacturers can be sneaky since the guidelines state that food can contain .05 grams of trans fats per serving and still be able to market them as “zero trans fat.” When eating something like chips or cookies, where the average person will more than likely eat more than one serving per sitting, the trans fats can add up.
The only way to truly be sure you are avoiding trans fats is to check the ingredient list. When you see words like “partially hydrogenated fats or oils” or “shortening,” you should put the product down and move on.
Something else to consider as you shop for food is just because something doesn’t have any trans fats, does not mean it is healthy. While saturated fats can be good for you, like olive oil, the amount you consume should be limited.
Simply put, you are what you eat, so do the research and find out exactly what you are putting into your body and the negative effects it can have on you. The Fitness4Her Diet is based on eating low fat, wholesome foods that are delicious and nutritious.
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