Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Can You Name Three Trans-Fats?

Pretty much everyone these days knows that trans fats are bad for you – and if you don’t, well then you should! But simply knowing this fact doesn’t mean that you know which foods contain trans fats. That’s a dangerous position to be in. See if you can name at least three foods that contain trans fats. If you can’t, then you definitely need to keep reading. If you do, then you should keep reading anyway because you might just learn something new!

Recent studies show that while 73 percent of people know that trans fats are bad, only 21 percent of people understand what type of foods contain these fats and can actually name three of them. Trans fats are harmful fats that are often found in fast foods. Some states and cities, including New York City, have passed laws regulating the sale of foods with trans fats. Why have they taken such action? Because these fats provide no nutritional value and directly contribute to obesity and raise cholesterol levels. New laws have mandated that foods that contain these fats or partially hydrogenated oils must be labeled. Many fast food restaurants are jumping on the anti-fat bandwagon, touting that their products do not contain trans fats. But you still need to be careful. These foods are often loaded with saturated fats and preservatives, not to mention calories. And when it comes down to it, saturated fats are not much better than trans fats.

So, how did you do on your ability to identify at least three trans fat foods? Take a look below to see if you passed with flying colors or failed miserably! The foods that are most likely to contain trans fats include the following:

French Fries
Some fast food chains have been forced to eliminate trans fats from their French fries. In New York City, the sale of trans fats by fast food restaurants is prohibited. The problem is that many people assume that the same product cooked with saturated fats is healthy. It is not. French fries offer very little by way of nutritional value, are loaded with fat and calories, and are definitely not a sensible diet choice.

Doughnuts are essentially cakes fried in oils . . . and are loaded with trans fats. Many chains that sell doughnuts are switching to those that are made with saturated fats and advertising their products as free from trans fats. Like French fries, doughnuts offer no nutritional value whatsoever and are high in sugars as well as fats. Pastries are also classified in the doughnut category and are also loaded with saturated fats as well as trans fats.

Cookies are another “goodie” that are loaded with trans fats, although many people do not realize this. Cookies are usually made with vegetable shortening or margarine, both of which contain massive quantities of these fats. Cookies are just one more food item that should be avoided or at least eaten very sparingly. They do not offer any nutritional value, contain harmful fats and are also high in calories and sugar content. Even sugar-free cookies still may contain a certain amount of these fats.

Snack crackers may surprise some of you who think that you know all about trans fats and how to avoid them. But guess what? Crackers are usually deep fried in fats and may or may not also contain saturated fats. They are also high in sodium. If you choose crackers, eat them sparingly and look for those that are baked and contain whole grains. Don’t be fooled by the “fat-free” versions - even fat-free crackers contain calories, sometimes as many as the full-fat variety.

It’s a simple fact: trans fats are BAD for you. They can raise cholesterol levels, cause weight gain, and are directly linked to heart disease. Be proactive! Read the labels of what you are eating and eliminate any foods that are labeled with partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats. By doing so, you are well on your way to a healthier, longer life.

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