Posts Tagged ‘trans fat’
Trans Fat is not where it’s at
Photo source: bantransfats.com
Be afraid. Be very afraid… Just because a food product boasts “0 Trans Fat” on its label doesn’t mean there’s not actual trans fat in the food itself. This is just one more example of the misleading food labeling requirements issued by the FDA and further proof that you can’t believe everything you read.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition lists this question and answer on its website:
Q: Is it possible for a food product to list the amount of trans fat as 0 g on the Nutrition Facts panel if the ingredient list indicates that it contains “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil?”
A: Yes. Food manufacturers are allowed to list amounts of trans fat with less than 0.5 gram (1/2 g) as 0 (zero) on the Nutrition Facts panel. As a result, consumers may see a few products that list 0 gram trans fat on the label, while the ingredient list will have “shortening” or “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on it. This means the food contains very small amounts (less than 0.5 g) of trans fat per serving.
For the record, many scientists consider this “very small amount” to be harmful. Plus, depending on the product and its listed serving size, the “very small amount” might be increased substantially just by using more than “one serving.”
According to supermarketguru.com, “Trans fat is known to increase blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), so-called “bad” cholesterol, while lowering levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good” cholesterol. The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recommends that consumers limit trans fat in their diets (no safe daily upper limit has been set).”
Since, by their own admission, we can’t trust FDA food label regulations, we must take extra time to read ingredients in order to completely avoid trans fats. This includes looking for shortening or partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list. And remember, the closer to the top these ingredients appear, and the more total fat listed, the more trans fat the product usually has.
Supermarketguru.com recommends shopping for products low in total fat, which means bad fats should be fairly low too. And don’t forget to pay attention to serving size. The fat content may be low for that serving, but do you really eat only that amount? We should all also be aware that products can make claims such as “low saturated fat” and “extra lean” without accounting for trans fat.
For even more information click to the following links:
Campaign to ban partially hydrogenated oils: Click Here
Trans Fat – What is it?: Click Here
Talking about trans fat – what you need to know: Click Here
The Supermarket Guru: Click Here
the 100-calorie snack pack conundrum
Photo Source: deliberatemovementlbc.com
I admit it. I’ve been tempted to purchase those “convenient” 100-calorie snack packs that offer “favorite” treats in handy portion sizes that are already divided up (AKA measured out) for us. What could be a better way to practice moderation, right? Well, not really. Turns out that 100 worthless calories aren’t worth the trouble, the consumption or even the monetary expense (to say nothing of the ultimate expense to our health).
In fact, Jenny Kinne, MS, RD, LDN and Clinical Nutrition Specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston told DreamOnline, “Because of the portion control aspect of it, people think of it as a healthy snack. But if you look at these products, they tend to be empty calories. There’s no nutrient density and they lack fiber, vitamins, minerals or protein.” Kinne goes onto suggest eating snacks with ‘staying power’ instead, saying “An easy way to do this is by incorporating two food groups, like apples and peanut butter, or yogurt with fruit.”
Yet interestingly, Kinne warns again getting rid of all sweet and “junk” food from diets because this teaches children (and ourselves) to think of foods in terms of “Good” or “Bad.” (It’s this kind of thinking that ‘helped’ me to reach over 450 pounds.) Kinne suggests that we teach children (and ourselves) that it’s okay to have “Treat” foods every now and then, saying, “Then they don’t get obsessed with a certain food because they can’t have it.”
Shape.com agrees that because 100-calorie snack packs are lacking substantial ingredients (such as fiber and protein as mentioned above); they aren’t necessarily going to do the trick in terms of satisfying hunger for the long run. Shape.com goes onto suggest that we check out the ingredients label, which just might scare us off altogether – especially if the snacks contain unhealthy ingredients like hydrogenated oils (AKA ‘trans fat’).
The good news is that not all snack packs are created equal. Some are better than others. For example, Shape.com mentions Sun Chips snack pack, which offers 5 grams of fiber and even some vitamin E.
But even better than searching for a decent 100-calorie snack? Create your own. It’s easier than you think – and there are lots of options. Including Frozen Chocolate-Covered Bananas, Feta & Herb Dip with Crudités, Gorp (a mixture of dried fruit and nuts) and Lemon Parmesan Popcorn. For a list (with pictures and recipes) of 31 different (and super healthy) 100-calorie snack alternatives, click to eatingwell.com.
Photos Source: eatingwell.com
So even though grabbing for the snack packs might seem more convenient, it really can create more hassle and turmoil in the long run. The trick, of course, is planning ahead (meaning doing some prep work over the weekend for the work- and school-week ahead). Not as easy as pulling open a foil bag, but definitely worth the effort in regard to your health and – ultimately – your satisfaction.