Does “No Trans Fat” Really Mean No Trans Fat?


Do you read the nutrition information labels on the packaged food you buy? Do you read the ingredient list? Do you look at the claim of “No Trans Fat!” on the front of the package and believe it?

There is a discrepency between what the manufacturers claim, and the truth.

Ever notice that some products in the grocery store are marked “No Trans Fat” on the front, but the ingredient list includes partially hydrogenated vegetable oil? How can that be?

The FDA allows foods to contain up to 0.5 gm of trans fat per serving and still round down to zero! This is, unfortunately, very confusing.

If this is just an occasional food, maybe you’re not concerned about it.

However, for commonly consumed foods, like margarine, these half grams per serving could add up to several grams a day. Remember why transfat is harmful?
Trans fatty acid is an artery clogging fat that raises LDL or “bad” cholesterol, while lowering HDL or “good” cholesterol levels in blood, and is linked to increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

“Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” Michael Pollan

How much trans fat is ok? According to some leading health professionals and researchers, the answer is none!
Walter Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, “If New Yorkers replace all sources of artificial trans fat, by even the most conservative estimates, at least 500 deaths from heart disease would be prevented each year in New York City – more than the number of people killed annually in motor vehicle crashes. Based on long- term studies, the number of preventable deaths may be many times higher. Trans fat from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is a toxic substance that does not belong in food.

And what does the FDA have to say?
“As things now stand, the FDA acknowledges that trans fats are unhealthy at any level, and yet maintains that the partially hydrogenated oils that contain them are basically safe. The agency can‟t have it both ways.‟ Editorial, New York Times, June 25, 2005.

As far as labeling goes, shouldn’t “no” mean “no”?

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