10 Facts About the Trans Fat Ban

November 12, 2013

This post was written by Ann Lokuta

By now you’ve most likely heard the latest news about trans fatty acids. If not, let’s get you up to snuff: Last week, the FDA announced that trans fats will be removed from the “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) food additive list. The million-dollar question at this point seems to be “What does this even mean?” Here at Nutritioulicious, we’ve previously talked about fats, but here’s the run-down on trans fats in 10 quick points.

  1. There are two types of trans fats: artificial (added to processed foods) and naturally occurring (in some meat and dairy products).
  2. If the FDA ruling becomes official it only applies to artificial types.
  3. Artificial trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to oil, a process that makes oils solid at room temperature, which increases the shelf life of food products and provides flavor at a relatively low cost.
  4. Artificial trans fat can be found in numerous packaged food products ranging from baked goods to popcorn. Trans fats can be identified in the ingredients list as “partially hydrogenated oil.”
  5. Trans fats have been shown to increase our risk of heart disease by increasing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
  6. If you have occasionally consumed products containing trans fat this does not mean that you are going to get heart disease; however, your risk of heart disease significantly increases when you consistently consume trans fat as a regular part of your diet.
  7. Zero grams of trans fats on the Nutrition Facts label doesn’t always mean zero. If a product has 0.5 g or less of trans fat per serving, it can be listed as 0 grams. Eat multiple servings of these foods and you can be taking in more than the daily recommended limit of trans fats (1.5 to 2 grams for most people).
  8. The average American still consumes 1 gram of artificial trans fat daily, which is why the FDA believes that “banning” this additive will improve the health of our nation.
  9. The process to officially approve the ruling will take time; so expect changes to go into effect within the next few years, not immediately.
  10. In the meantime, focus on improving your health now by eating a balanced diet (healthy, whole foods most of the time and treats in moderation) and engaging in regular physical activity.

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