Ever wonder how some products spend weeks or months on the grocery store shelf, countless days in the back of your pantry, but are still good when you finally open and enjoy them? The answer is trans fat, a solid fat that improves taste, enhances texture, and extends shelf life. However, trans fat is the only fat that raises your bad cholesterol (LDL) as well as lower your good cholesterol (HDL). The combination of the two can lead to potential heart disease (the leading killer in men and women) as well as other possible health complications.
There are small traces of natural trans fat in foods such as full dairy products, beef, and lamb, but there are higher levels in many processed foods , including:
- Battered and Fried Foods
- Frozen Dinners
- Pie Crust
- Pancakes and Waffle Mixes
- Ice Cream
- Biscuits and Sweet Rolls
However there are certain times that eating trans fat is unavoidable with foods such as full dairy products, beef, and lamb which contain small traces of natural trans fat. The American Heart Association suggest trans fat should only be 1 percent of your diet, so just like everything else, having trans fat in moderation won’t really hurt you.
Most companies have reduced or completely eliminated trans fat from their products, but even now products can get away with saying they have “0 trans fat” if they have less than .5 grams per serving. However, if you are using something such as Crisco (a shortening that has .5 grams of trans fat per serving) for many of your cooking needs, the .5 grams add up. Even if the label says that the product has “0 trans fat”, if it says “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated” on the list of ingredients (usually first or second) then it does contain trans fat.
Do you know of additional foods that people should be weary of when it comes to trans fat? Is so, leave them in the comment box below and help someone improve their diet.