How to Avoid Trans Fats

Trans fats are formed in a process called hydrogenation, which converts an unsaturated liquid fat into a solid one. This lengthens the shelf life, so it’s ideal for restaurants and food manufacturers. However, the body treats hydrogenated fat like saturated fat,which is known to clog arteries, raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and other conditions. Trans fat raises your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol.

Steps

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    Read the nutrition labels to see how much trans fat is in a product. Since January 2006, manufacturers have been required to list trans fat content on their labels. Look for the phrases "partially hydrogenated", "hydrogenated" or "shortening", since these ingredients contain trans fat.
    • Also, if a product says 0 grams (0.0 oz) of trans fat, it might not be 0. Look for the word "hydrogenated" and it means it contains trans fat. The FDA allows food manufacturers to list trans fat as 0 grams (0.0 oz) if it contains less than 0.5 grams (0.02 oz) of trans fat.
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    Cut back on fried, processed and commercial foods. Avoid eating commercially prepared baked foods, such as cookies, pies, donuts, snack foods and processed foods.
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    When you are eating out, ask the server what oil is used to prepare your food. If possible, request a healthier oil. Another option is to skip the deep-fried foods.
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    Remember that a small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in meat and dairy products, so chose lean cuts of meat or fish and low-fat milk.
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    Choose liquid vegetables oils and soft tubs of margarine that contains little or no trans fat
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    Buy all-natural peanut butter, because a main source of trans fat comes from non-natural peanut butter.
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    When you can’t avoid foods with trans fat, choose products that list partially hydrogenated oils near the bottom of the ingredient list because the order of the ingredients is based upon the amount of each ingredient from greatest to least.

Tips

  • Restaurants also usually fry their foods in hydrogenated oils, because hydrogenated oils can withstand higher temperatures for longer and don't leave off flavors in food.
  • A heart-healthy diet means that 30% or less of your total daily calories come from fat, but saturated fat should account for less than 7% of your total daily calories. Monounsaturated fat is a healthier option.
  • If you do go out, ask the servers how the food is prepared and if they provide nutritional information.
  • Pay attention to ingredients as well as calories.

Warnings

  • Excess consumption of trans fats and other unhealthy fats could contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease or high cholesterol.

Article Info

Categories: Health Activism | Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating