Bye Bye Trans Fat

Its official – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently announced that by June of 2018, artificial trans fats should be completely removed from processed foods. This is a huge step in the food industry and will change the way many foods are made. As consumers, it’s important to recognize that artificial trans fats are no longer “generally recognized as safe” and that it could be beneficial to limit intake of trans fats from processed foods until they are removed from food products in 2018.

You’ve probably heard that “trans fats” are bad for you, but why?

Trans fats found in processed foods are modified chemically, usually to add a certain taste to foods or to give them a longer shelf life. For example, foods with high trans fat content include fried foods, margarine, and store-bought cakes and cookies. While a longer shelf life is more appealing to food companies, unfortunately trans fats have many negative effects on health. Specifically, trans fats raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) like saturated fats, and also lower your good cholesterol (HDL). Having a high LDL or a low HDL are both risk factors for heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.

The current dietary recommendation is for trans fats intake to be less than 1% of your daily calorie intake – basically as little as possible. You can find the trans fat content of a food on the food label, under the “total fat” heading. The FDA’s new regulations are supported by recent findings about the negative effects of trans fats on health. This new regulation will make food in the U.S. healthier and overall lead to a healthier population! Way to go FDA.

-Nutrition Student Elsey