As you know by now, trans fat is finally getting kicked to the curb. Trans fat, a packaged food additive also known as partially hydrogenated oil, is added to food for its preservative quality and contributes to artery clogging and cardiovascular disease. The FDA’s proposed ban hopes to prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease and 20,000 deaths from heart attack per year.
Over the next 50 or so days, the FDA will be pouring over scientific data to determine if trans fat needs to be removed from the GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe,” list of foods. If trans fat are indeed determined to not be GRAS, any food product with trans fat will be deemed illegal for sale in the U.S. Under current guidelines, if a food product contains less than 0.5 grams trans fat, shown as partially hydrogenated oils on the ingredients list, the nutrition label can claim it has 0 percent. Sketchy stuff.
Trans fat won’t disappear completely, as it naturally occurs in some dairy and meat products. But the artificial stuff—created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil—is lurking in many of the popular food items on grocery store shelves. Peanut butter, popcorn, and frozen foods are the more well known products that contain trans fat, but those are just the tip of this fatty iceberg. Soon, trans fat will be banished from the supermarket, but until then, we’ve compiled a list of the trans fattiest foods at your local grocer.
Betty Crocker Bisquick and Canned Frosting
- Kellogg’s: Corn Pops, Eggo Cereal, Honey Smacks, Smorz, Mini Swirlz Cinammon Bun, Rice Crispies Cereal
- General Mills: Basic 4
- Post: Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles, Oreo Os, Waffle Crisp
Coffee Mate Coffee Creamer (Multiple Flavors)
Duncan Hines Cake and Cupcake Mixes
Nabisco Fig Newtons
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The FDA is finally stepping up to remove trans fat from a list of chemicals known as GRAS – or generally recognized as safe. This morning, the Food and Drug Administration opened up a 60-day public call for comments, scientific data, and other information they can use to help guide their decision to issue an all-out ban on trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil.
“Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives,” says the formal announcement made by the agency.
If this is finalized, the FDA says “food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs.”
That’s news that has the dietetic community happy as heart-healthy clams. We reached out to several thought leaders from the dietetic community to hear their reactions to the trans fat ban news first.
Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food. — Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert and a NYC-based dietitian
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Eli Sapharti is no stranger to the taunts that come from cruel children and ignorant adults. Over the years he’s been saddled with nicknames like, “Fat Boy” “Bubble Butt” “Bench Warmer” and more. Now, 105 pounds thinner, Eli boasts a body fat percentage of only 10% and he’s currently training to compete in the Physique Division of a Men’s Bodybuilding Competition in February 2014. We’re guessing he’s earned a few new nicknames that put a smile on his face.
Growing up, Eli remembers always being the kid who got picked last for sports teams, the one who endured teasing, bullying and being stuck in the dreaded friend zone when it came to girls. After a growth spurt in the 9th grade, his body lengthened and lost weight, but the pounds didn’t stay away for long. “I simply enjoyed food,” he explained. “As most over -eaters, I used food as my drug of choice. Horrible eating habits and zero physical activity led me to gain an incredible amount of weight.”
Eli knew he was unhealthy, he was aware his weight had crept up to a dangerous level but that awareness wasn’t enough to spur him into action. “It wasn’t like I didn’t know that I was very overweight and needed to lose weight,” he said. “I mean, I was suffering from high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, severe anxiety and panic disorder. That should have been enough to get me to do something about it, but it didn’t.”
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Imagine being told by your doctor that you have a medical disorder that is affecting your health and makes it difficult to lose weight, yet that is the very suggestion he/she gives you to improve your condition. Most of us would feel frustrated, angry and overwhelmed. When Mari Farthing was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), she felt the same way. Then, she cranked up her iPod, laced up her kicks and hit the track.
She knew losing weight would be tough but not impossible, and now she’s 61 pounds lighter because of her determination.
Mari describes her weight as being a, “lifelong kind of thing” that didn’t really become a problem until adulthood. She started to notice a few more pounds each year, even though she was taking steps to eat healthy and exercise. Before her diagnosis, frustration led to a cycle of yo-yo dieting. After the diagnosis, she felt relief; at least now she could quit feeling like a failure.
“When I learned there was a part of me that was essentially broken, it was powerful, she said. “It answered so many questions for me. It gave me strength. It empowered me. Let me know that I’m enough. Because I didn’t feel like I was.”
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Last week, Robin Quivers returned to the Howard Stern show after literally phoning it in for the last 17 months while she battled a rare form of uterine cancer. The 61-year-old co-host, news anchor and cohort of the self-proclaimed King of All Media credits her post 9/11 diet for helping her through months of chemotherapy. She recently released a book that details the healthy lifestyle she adopted and how she believes it saved her life, “The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life.”
When she received her cancer diagnosis, it’s no surprise the first person Robin called was Howard Stern, afterall, she has worked alongside him for more than 20 years. What might surprise some is the way the often polarizing shock-jock reacted, “Howard told me that he was going to get me the best help, the most up-to-date treatment and anything else I needed,” Quivers recently told the Daily News. “I don’t think I would be here at all if it weren’t for Howard.”
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