Tag Archives: trans fat

SnackWell’s Introduces New Higher Calorie Treats

Remember SnackWell’s snack cakes? Think back to the mid 90s and you might remember the distinct green packaging and popularity of their Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes. Nabisco SnackWell’s came along in 1992 and grew enormously popular as the go-to brand for low-fat snacks. Unfortunately, other brands caught on to the low calorie snack craze and forced SnackWell’s to stop advertising in 2005.

Now SnackWell’s is reintroducing the brand with several new snacks that are higher in calories than the popular 100 calorie portioned snacks that are widely available. The new offerings from SnackWell’s will have a very different packaging and will vary in calories but range from 130 to 150 calories per serving.

Although these snacks offer a low calorie count, all calories are not created equal. This product line is still very highly processed. The new products from SnackWell’s include Cinnamon Raisin Cereal Bars, Peanut Butter Cereal Bars, Chocolate Cereal Bars, White Fudge Drizzled Caramel Popcorn, Fudge Drizzled Caramel Popcorn, Vanilla Crème Brownie Bites, Fudge Crème Brownie Bites and Fudge Drizzled Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. A closer look at the ingredients on these new products reveals that most of them have brown sugar, sugar, maltitol syrup and corn syrup listed in the first five ingredients. They also include things like fructose, which is also a form of sugar, and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil which is trans-fat. The products are still allowed to make the claim of being trans-fat free if they contain less than 0.5 grams per serving, which is the case with the SnackWell’s products. This new product line proves the importance of reading nutrition labels.

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High-Fat Diets Actually Help the Heart, Study Finds

File this one in the “goes against everything we’ve been told” file.

A recent study published in American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology suggests that a high-fat diet is OK and even beneficial for the heart. The study, which looked at cardiac function in patients suffering from heart failure, found that that a high-fat diet improved the heart’s ability to pump, along with boosting cardiac insulin resistance (which reduces the risk of diabetes). Sounds pretty different than what we’ve been told all along right? That eating too much fat is bad for the heart?

Not so fast. According to the study which was  funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Case Center for Imaging Research, all fats are not created equal. In fact, a balanced diet that includes mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and which replaces simple sugars and highly processed foods with complex carbs, are most beneficial for damaged hearts. Notice what wasn’t on that list of a healthy diet? Trans fats or saturated fats.

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Trans Fats Cause Depression

Are you feeling down in the dumps about all that junk food you’ve been eating lately? Well, it may literally be the junk food that is making you depressed.

The results of a six-year study out of Spain has come to the conclusion that people who eat food high in trans fats and saturated fats have an increased risk of depression. Trans fats are used in fried foods, shortening and all kinds of processed foods.

“Participants with an elevated consumption of trans fats presented up to a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats,” said Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. (more…)

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Finally Released, Not Much Has Changed

Well, they came a month late, but the much anticipated 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have finally been released. The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services work together every five years to update the Dietary Guidelines to reflect changing and new research. The new guidelines aren’t drastically different than years before, but do reflect an urgency to address the growing obesity epidemic.

A few highlights from the new guidelines include a push to reduce daily sodium intake, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and cut added sugars, especially those in sugary drinks.

Learn more in this video recapping the new guidelines:

The average American consumes around 3,400 mg of sodium per day. The new Guidelines recommend reducing that number to 1,500 mg, or 1 teaspoon, of sodium, especially for those who are 51 and older, African American, or have hypertension, diabetes, and/or chronic kidney disease. Many believe that focusing on slashing salt in our diets will in turn also cut our saturated fat intake.

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Simple Fat Swaps to Better-for-You Baked Goods

If you’re like me and have a serious sweet tooth, sometimes baked goods are just too hard to resist. But with many baked goods being high in trans fats (especially the processed ones or recipes with shortening) and low in nutrition, they’re really best eaten rarely- very rarely.

There is a loophole, though — making your own! When you bake at home you know exactly what’s in your food, so you can nosh guilt-free. In fact, there are tons of tricks to turning a regular recipe into a low-fat recipe! All it takes is a little ingredient experimentation and some time in the kitchen. (more…)

What You Should Know about Interesterified Fat

Now that Americans, food manufacturers and restaurant chains have made trans-fats part of their every day vernacular and a daily avoidance in their diets, enter a new unhealthy fat also found in processed foods: Interesterified fat.

A bit more difficult to pronounce than “trans fatty acids,” but equally dangerous, interesterified fats are liquid oils, rather than a semi-solid fat, like the now taboo, trans fats.

To get a jump on this new addition to the health dictionary, read on to learn where this additive may be lurking in your kitchen and how it might be hurting your health.

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Consumer Reports Gives Chicken Nuggets Failing Grades

If you followed along with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, you might have seen his experiment on the very first episode with a handful of elementary school children and chicken nuggets. In the experiment, Jamie shows how all the “unused” bits and pieces of chicken are ground up along with all the fat to then be processed into what we all know as the chicken nugget. While the children shrieked during the process, upon completion of cooking these nuggets, Jamie was shocked to learn they were still open to eating them.

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3 Healthy Fats You Should be Eating

Well, not being fat. But, eating certain fats is not only good, but necessary for optimal health. You should also realize that you don’t have to totally eliminate so-called “bad” fat, such as saturated and trans fats, from your diet; the key is to minimize. Once you do that, it’s time to recognize the fats that are beneficial to your health.

The good news of certain fats being healthy has been pretty well propagated in recent years. But, many people still don’t know it. Or, if you do know, you may not know which name they go by and where you can find them. Here’s the 4-1-1 on healthy fats:

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats have an amazing trait: they have the selective power of lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol, while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol. So, where do you get these wonder fats? Nuts like peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios are all good sources of monounsaturated fats. Other sources include avocado, canola oil, and olive oil. Monounsaturated fats have also been found to help with losing weight. (more…)

Three Steps to Lowering Your Cholesterol

February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and people you love don’t become a statistic.

heart appleBe honest. Do you know your numbers? Your cholesterol numbers. You should have your cholesterol measured once a year after age 30, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart problems. High cholesterol can double the risk for heart disease. It’s entirely possible that your body will produce too much cholesterol, even if you take steps to lower it. However, many people are successful at lowering their cholesterol with some simple changes.

There are three ways you can make your cholesterol levels better. (more…)

Trans Fat Ban Starts in California

california bans trans fatIn summer 2008, we told you about a pending ban on trans fats in California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation banning the use of trans fats in the state’s restaurants. The ban has taken effect as of January 1, 2010.

The new law, passed by the California Legislature in 2008, gave restaurants plenty of time to change their menu items to trans fat-free meals. California has also passed a new law that applies to baked goods. This legislation will take effect on January 1, 2011.

While some people have cynically scoffed at this as government intrusion, I think they really miss the point. People know too little about what goes into their foods. And they are particularly vulnerable when they go out to eat. (more…)