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
Coffee Mate Coffee Creamer (Multiple Flavors)
Duncan Hines Cake and Cupcake Mixes
Nabisco Fig Newtons (more…)
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 (more…)
The greasy votes have been tabulated and the award for “Worst Meal in America” goes to: Long John Silver’s Big Catch!
Coming in at 1,320 calories, 19 grams of saturated fat, 3,700 milligrams of sodium, and 33 grams of trans fat, the deep fried meal earned the official title from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) this week. It’s doubtful that anyone at the fish restaurant will be excited to accept this award.
The CSPI is a non-profit organization designed to be an advocate for nutrition and health. In a recent report by CBS News, the CSPI tested the Big Catch Meal and found the startling results. The meal contains just one piece of fried fish, an order of hush puppies, and a side of onion rings.
Who didn’t grow up eating peanut butter sandwiches? While peanut butter and jelly has been a lunchbox staple for as far back as anyone can remember, the delicious sandwich spread is far from diet-friendly.
“Peanut butter in its basic or pure form is a healthy source of protein,” said Oliver Gerard Heffern, owner of glor foods. “It’s what’s added there after that can cause concern: sugars, preservatives, additives and colors.”
According Brandon May, author of The Healthy Advocate, peanut butter label claims can be be misleading. “No matter which brand, any peanut butter labeled ‘reduced fat or ‘low-fat’ should be avoided,” May said. “They typically have fillers that increase the sugar content, making them potentially more harmful to your health than a higher fat version.”
Additionally, most commercial peanut butters have oils that have been fully or partially hydrogenated, which creates trans-fat. “It isn’t peanut fat that’s a problem, it is the trans-fats in the peanut butters that contributes to poor health,” said May. “Any peanut butter labeled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ will not have hydrogenated oils, but you should always check the label to see the sugar content.”
Smart Balance is using a very good marketing tool to grab shoppers’ attention by discussing trans fat.
Before we dive into their claim, let’s do a quick trans fat 101.