Trans fats are a mystery… they’re hidded from the health labels that all products are required to have in Canada so really the average consumer has no idea it’s in there.
And trans fat is particularly nasty, as it’s the most likely ingredient to cause heart disease, perhaps even diabetes, Alzheimer’s and premature birth.
MSN today has a telling article on what foods and food groupings contain the most trans fats:
excerpts for the lazy clicker:
The Top 10 “Trans Fat” Foods:
1. Spreads. Margarine is a twisted sister — it’s loaded with trans fats and saturated fats, both of which can lead to heart disease. Other non-butter spreads and shortening also contain large amounts of trans fat and saturated fat
2. Packaged foods. Cake mixes, Bisquick, and other mixes all have several grams of trans fat per serving
3. Soups. Ramen noodles and soup cups contain very high levels of trans fat.
4. Fast Food. Bad news here: Fries, chicken, and other foods are deep-fried in partially hydrogenated oil. Even if the chains use liquid oil, fries are sometimes partially fried in trans fat before they’re shipped to the restaurant. Pancakes and grilled sandwiches also have some trans fat, from margarine slathered on the grill.
5. Frozen Food. Those yummy frozen pies, pot pies, waffles, pizzas, even breaded fish sticks contain trans fat. Even if the label says it’s low-fat, it still has trans fat.
6. Baked Goods. Even worse news — more trans fats are used in commercially baked products than any other foods. Doughnuts contain shortening in the dough and are cooked in trans fat.
Cookies and cakes (with shortening-based frostings) from supermarket bakeries have plenty of trans fat. Some higher-quality baked goods use butter instead of margarine, so they contain less trans fat, but more saturated fat.
7. Chips and Crackers. Shortening provides crispy texture. Even “reduced fat” brands can still have trans fat. Anything fried (like potato chips and corn chips) or buttery crackers have trans fat.
8. Breakfast food. Breakfast cereal and energy bars are quick-fix, highly processed products that contain trans fats, even those that claim to be “healthy.”
9. Cookies and Candy. Look at the labels; some have higher fat content than others. A chocolate bar with nuts — or a cookie — is likely to have more trans fat than gummy bears.
10. Toppings and Dips. Nondairy creamers and flavored coffees, whipped toppings, bean dips, gravy mixes, and salad dressings contain lots of trans fat.
It’s, at this point, nigh-impossible to eliminate trans fats from your diet, but you can certainly cut back.
And because Emma is allergic to Hydroginated Vegetable Oil and Vegetable Oil Shortening (the main sources of trans fatty acid) I eat as little pre-packaged food as possible, opting for pasta, rice, meat, potatoes, veggies and fruit more than anything else.
I still love cereal, but will be more careful in choosing what I eat. And I’ve pretty much eliminated all frozen foods from my diet (perogis and ice cubes excepted).
CTV has a whole special web section dedicated to trans fat. There you will find new studies regarding trans fat, as well as the advocacy of trans fat labelling.
Another thing to note is trans fat is transferred from mother to baby, not only in the womb, but through breast milk as well, in many instances replacing essential fatty acids the body needs to develop properly. The rapid increase in use of trans fat in foods in North America, coupled with this revelation could explain a lot about the state of overweight children these days.
Finally, isn’t this interesting:
In Denmark, regulators have taken a dim view of trans. The country has adopted legislation that limits trans fats to between two and five grams per 100 grams of oil, depending on the product. Since that’s a tiny amount, the rules are essentially a ban on trans fats. For example, a product labelled trans-fat free in Canada and the U.S. can contain approximately triple the ratio of trans fats to total fats allowable in Denmark.
“Instead of educating mothers about the dangers of trans fat, we have simply removed them,” says Dr. Steed Stender of the Danish Nutrition Council
Smart move, cause, you know, people, en masse, are dumb dumb dumbass.
Now, I want a danish, cherry… with cream cheese.
Here’s what Health Canada has to say about it, in a letter to CTV:
” If nursing mothers wishing to reduce their intake of trans fatty acids, they can do so by avoiding commercially fried foods and baked goods containing fat, not baking with shortening or stick margarines and choosing tub margarines, preferably with trans fat labelling.”
Thanks for looking out for us. We appreciate it.