Friday, March 21, 2008

Trans fat!!!!

1. Q: What are trans fat?

A: Trans fats are formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oils to turn them from a liquid form into a semi-solid form. This process is called hydrogenation.

Trans fat is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with trans- isomer fatty acid(s). Trans fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

Most trans fats consumed today are industrially created by partially hydrogenating plant oils — a process developed in the early 1900s and first commercialized as Crisco in 1911. The goal of partial hydrogenation is to add hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats, making them more saturated. These more saturated fats have a higher melting point, which makes them attractive for baking and extends their shelf-life. Another particular class of trans fats, vaccenic acid, occurs naturally in trace amounts in meat and dairy products from ruminants.

Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are neither essential nor salubrious and, in fact, the consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more deleterious than naturally occurring oils.



Q: What are hydrogenated fats?

A : Health concerns associated with the hydrogenation of unsaturated fats to produce saturated fats and trans fats is an important aspect of current consumer awareness.

1. Q: What are the major sources of trans fat?

– Margarine (especially margarines that are harder), Peanut butter
Packaged foods – Cake mixes
Soups – Part of the Campbell Soup products
Fast Food – French fries, Chicken nugget
Frozen Food – Frozen pastry, cake, tart, rising pizza, vegetable spring rolls, frozen waffles, breaded seafood, chicken and meats
Baked Goods – Doughnuts, cakes, cream filled cookies, crackers, pies, biscuit, bread, apple Danish, muffins, pound cakes
Chips and Crackers – Potato chips, corn chips, microwave popcorn, and buttery crackers
Breakfast cereal and energy bars
Cookies and Candy – Chocolate bar with nuts, candy bar
Toppings and Dips – Nondairy creamers and flavored coffees, whipped toppings, gravy mixes, salad dressings and sauce , peanut butter, icing
Instant Drinks – Holicks, Hot Chocolate

2. Q: Why do some companies use trans fats?


- Increases the shelf life

- Improves the texture of food products

- Gives the products a richer flavour

3. Q: Why are trans fats harmful to health?

A: This increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

4. Q: What is the common name of Trans fat?


- Margarine

- Hydrogenated Vegetable oil

- Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable oil

- Hydrogenated Fat

- Partially Hydrogenated Fat

- Hardened vegetable Oil

- Shortening

- Liquid shortening

- Vegetable Shortening

- "Partially hydrogenated" in front of any vegetable oil

5. Q: Does 'zero trans fat' on a label mean the food absolutely contain no trans fat?

A: Allows to claim "zero trans fat" on the label of a food if the food contains a level of trans fat that is below 0.5 gram per serving.

6. Q: How to limit the intake of trans fats?


- Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods you buy at the store

- Replace the trans fats in your diet with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

- Avoid using hydrogenated oils and animal fats in cooking and food preparation.

- Most liquid vegetable oils are naturally lower in saturated fats and are trans fat-free. These include soybean, canola, corn, olive, safflower and sunflower oils.

- Maintain a balanced diet, eat less deep-fried and fatty foods.

7. Q: Is it better to eat butter instead of margarine to lower intake of trans fats?

A: No, because butter is high in both saturated fats and cholesterol which are not good for heart health. On the contrary, most margarine is made from vegetable oils which contain no cholesterol and are generally lower in saturated fats.

Soft margarine generally has lower trans fat content than their harder counterparts, and there are choices of newly formulated margarine that are very low in trans fats nowadays.

8. Q: How to eliminate trans fat in cooking?


- Change cooking oils. Use non-hydrogenated oils or shortenings with low or no trans fat.

- Choose health spread. Use soft tub spread with low saturated fat and no trans fat.

- Order prepared food without trans fat. Check ingredient and ask suppliers for food that are free of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

9. Is healthier oil readily available for cooking?

A: Healthy trans fat-free vegetable oils (such as soy, corn, or canola oils), trans fat-free oils made from soybeans, sunflowers, and other grains and seeds. Some of the newer oils have long “fry lives” comparable to partially hydrogenated oils. Many reformulated trans fat-free margarine and shortenings are now available, and food manufacturers nationwide have reformulated their products

10. Q: How do your choices stack up?



Serving Size

Grams of Trans Fat

French fries (fast food)

Medium (5oz.)


Microwave popcorn

1 bag (31/2oz.)


Doughnut (glazed)

1 average size


Pound cake

1 slices (3oz.)


Vegetable shorting

1 tablespoon


Chicken nuggets (fast food)

5 small nuggets


Frozen apple pie

1 slice


Margarine (stick)

1 tablespoon


Potato chips

Small bag (11/2oz.)


Candy bar

1 bar (11/2oz.)


Muffin (commercial bakery)

1 small (3oz.)


Cheese crackers (filled)

6 (1oz.)


Tortilla chips (corn)

Small bag (11/2oz.)



3 cookies (1oz.)



1 slice (average)


Salard dressing

2 tablespoons


White hamburger buns

1 bun (average)


Margarine (tub)

1 tablespoon


Granola bar

1 bar (11/2oz.)


Major users' response

Some major food chains have chosen to remove or reduce trans fats in their products. In some cases these changes have been voluntary. In other cases, however, food vendors have been targeted by legal action that has generated a lot of media attention. In May 2003, Inc., a U.S. non-profit corporation, filed a lawsuit against the food manufacturer Kraft Foods in an attempt to force Kraft to remove trans fats from the Oreo cookie. The lawsuit was withdrawn when Kraft agreed to work on ways to find a substitute for the trans fat in the Oreo. In November 2006, Arby's announced[95] that by May 2007, it would be eliminating trans fat from its french fries and reducing it in other products.

Similarly, in 2006, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued KFC over its use of trans fats in fried foods.[96] concerning their class action complaint.[97] KFC reviewed alternative oil options, saying "there are a number of factors to consider including maintaining KFC's unique taste and flavor of Colonel Sanders' Original Recipe".[98] On October 30, 2006, KFC announced that it will replace the partially hydrogenated soybean oil it currently uses with a zero-trans-fat low linolenic soybean oil in all restaurants in the US by April 2007, although its biscuits will still contain trans-fats.[99] Despite the US-specific nature of the lawsuit, KFC is making changes outside of the US as well; in Canada, KFC's brand owner is switching to trans-fat free Canadian canola oil by early 2007.[100] Wendy's announced in June 2006 plans to eliminate trans-fats from 6,300 restaurants in the United States and Canada, starting in August 2006.[101] In November 2006, Taco Bell made a similar announcement, pledging to remove Trans Fat from many of their menu items by switching to canola oil. By April 2007, 15 Taco Bell menu items were completely free of Trans Fat. In January 2007, McDonald's announced they will start phasing out the trans fat in their fries after years of testing and several delays.[102] This can be partially attributed to New York's recent ban, with the company stating they would not be selling a unique oil just for New York customers but would implement a nationwide change.

In response to a May 2007 law suit from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Burger King announced that its 7,100 US restaurants will begin the switch to zero trans-fat oil by the end of 2007.[103]

The Walt Disney Company announced that they will begin getting rid of trans fats in meals at US theme parks by the end of 2007, and will stop the inclusion of trans fats in licensed or promotional products by 2008.[104]

The Girl Scouts of America announced in November 2006 that all of their cookies will contain 0.5g trans fats per serving, thus meeting or exceeding the FDA guidelines. [105] However, trans fats from girl scout cookies can exceed recommended levels if more than one serving is consumed.

Health Canada's monitoring program, which tracks the changing amounts of TFA and SFA in fast and prepared foods shows considerable progress in TFA reduction by some industrial users while others lag behind. In many cases, SFAs are being substituted for the TFAs.

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