January 24, 2005
The Skinny on Saturated and Trans Fat.
There are two kinds of fats found in food that should be on your radar. These are saturated fat and trans fat. Saturated fat has been shown to increase your LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol that clogs your arteries). Men should eat about 10-13 grams per day and women should eat about 8-12 grams per day. Saturated fat is found in animal products like milk, cheese, butter, red meat and ice cream and also in palm, palm kernel and coconut oil. Fortunately there are similar foods which you can choose which have less saturated fat. Choose 1% or skim milk, low fat or part-skim cheese (like mozzarella), lean ground beef with 7% or less fat, lean steaks like sirloin, filet mignon or NY strip steaks, skinless chicken breasts, low fat fish like snapper, cod, orange roughy or flounder, low fat ice cream and oils like olive, canola or peanut.
Trans fat is the new fat on the block which may even be worse for you than saturated fat. It is formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil in order to change the liquid oil into a solid at room temperature. This process is known as hydrogenation, which also transforms the unsaturated fats of the liquid oils into saturated fat. Trans fat not only increases your LDL cholesterol but may also lower your HDL cholesterol (the healthy cholesterol you want to be high). Trans fat is found in commercially made products like doughnuts, danishes, cookies, and cakes, snack foods like crackers and chips, pie crusts, commercially fried foods, margarine and shortening. By law, food companies will have to list the amount of trans fat in their products as of 2006. If you don’t see trans fat on the food label, check the ingredient list. If hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil is listed in the ingredient list, the food contains trans fat. Some companies (Frito-Lay) are changing their products to contain less/no trans fat and labeling their products early. Some fast food restaurants are attempting to make changes by trying new oils to fry their foods in. As for the companies not making changes or for the foods containing a lot of trans fat, you probably won’t see their new labels until the last minute. Some advantages that hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats have are that they are inexpensive and have a long shelf life. The best thing to do is to read your food labels and be wise when ordering fried foods and pastries when eating out.
Posted by Lisa at January 24, 2005 11:40 AM
To send a trackback, use this url. If you know anything about this subject, please post a comment.