Trans-fats: Removed from Safe List

142286531The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that they were removing trans-fats from the generally recognized as safe list. What does this mean to consumers?  Basically, it means that United States food manufacturers will have no choice but to remove all trans-fat from manufactured food products, and restaurants won’t be able to cook with them either. Before you panic and think, “Nothing is going to taste the same,” let’s take a minute to consider the benefits.

Trans-fats or hydrogenated oils are a primarily our creation. We take polyunsaturated liquid oil, such as vegetable oil, and chemically alter it to make it a solid fat.  Unfortunately, while these were once thought to be healthier for you, it turns out that trans-fats can increase our risk for heart disease. They do this by having a negative effect on our cholesterol levels, by increasing LDL (Bad Cholesterol) and decreasing HDL (good cholesterol). This is often considered a “Double Whammy” because it causes our ration of bad to good cholesterol to get further and further apart.

So what foods will this affect you might ask? Well, traditionally, trans-fats are found in processed foods. Foods like crackers, processed peanut butter, baked goods, baking mixes are a few examples of food commonly containing trans-fat. The good news is that manufacturers, and even restaurants, have been working at eliminating trans-fat from foods for some time, but there are still several products out there that contain it.

It is unknown how long manufacturers and restaurateurs will have to comply with this ruling; however, if you would like to take trans-fat out of your diet today, follow these two simple steps:

  1. Look for trans-fat on the Nutrition Facts Panel, if it says 0 g go to step two. If it reads more than 0 g, don’t buy/eat it.
  2. Examine the ingredient list for the product (sometimes a product still has trans-fat even if it says it has 0 grams!). Look for “Partially Hydrogentated Oils.” This is trans-fat, so don’t buy/eat this item.

About Janeah Schwarz

Janeah Schwarz is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Manager for Agnesian HealthCare

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3 Responses to Trans-fats: Removed from Safe List

  1. Sarah Schultz December 10, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Horray! I always skip step #1 and go straight to step #2. You would be surprised how many products have trans-fat in them. Please update this post if you ever find out the deadline/date for removing trans-fat.

  2. Joel Mason December 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Awesome news! Will hydrogenated oils be banned completely or will hydrogenated oils still be legal if the serving size is small enough to write 0g of trans fat on label? Drives me crazy when I read trans fat free on packaging but partially hydrogenated oils are still listed in ingredients. Will interestified oils also be banned?

    • Janeah Schwarz December 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      I understand your frustation completely! I believe the intention is to ban trans fats entirely, unless special permission is granted from the FDA. Right now, the FDA is allowing comments to be submitted to determine the impact on manufacturers and allow them to solidify a time limit for removal. Hopefully the new year will bring us more information. Interesterified oils are not effected by this ban. Few studies have looked at the impact of these at this stage, so little in known about their long-term effects.

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