Trans fats

All fats are not created equal. Eaten in moderation, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can be good for you. In contrast, saturated and trans fats are known to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The everything no trans fat cookbook : from store shelves to your kitchen table - healthy meals your family will love
Linda Larsen.
Avon, MA : Adams Media, c2007.
There is a nationwide call to cut trans fat from your daily diet. Trans fat raises LDL (lipoprotein, or "bad cholesterol") levels in your body. By lowering your trans fat intake, you decrease the chance of coronary heart disease-the leading cause of death in the United States. Now you can ensure your family's health by preparing trans fat-free meals at home. This informative cookbook arms you with the facts on trans fat and gives you the knowledge you need to read nutrition labels and shop for healthy ingredients.
Get the trans fat out : 601 simple ways to cut the trans fat out of any diet
Suzanne Havala Hobbs.
New York : Three Rivers Press, c2006.
Featuring recipes with zero trans fat and a complete, easy-to-understand guide to the trans fat content of many common products and menu items, this book shows how to identify and avoid these damaging fats--without sacrificing taste or convenience.
The trans fat free kitchen : simple recipes, shopping guides, restaurant tips
Ronni Litz Julien.
Deerfield Beach, Fla. : Health Communications, c2006.
If you or someone you love wants to shed pounds and keep their heart healthy, there's good news: Eliminating or drastically reducing the amount of trans fat from your diet is the most effective thing you can do. The better news? Here's a guide to trans fat made simple.
Dr. Bob's trans fat survival guide : why no-fat, low-fat, trans fat is killing you
Robert DeMaria [with] Laura A. Meyer.
Elyria, OH : Drugless Healthcare Solutions, c2005.
This book explains the dangers of trans fat, commonly called hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fat, as well as how to recognize them in everyday foods by properly reading the labels. Along with trans fat, learn the different types of fats, which ones are beneficial, and which ones should be used for cooking, baking, and eating. Includes information on how to eliminate dangerous fats and take on a healthier approach to life. This book will encourage and empower readers to make better choices and learn to live an optimal and healthy life.

What is trans fat? It is the solid that results from the hydrogenation process where hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil.  Trans fats are used to keep bread and cookies fresher while adding flavor to fast-food french fries and many snack foods.

Should trans be banned?

Several U.S. cities and states have, or are considering, banning the use of trans fats in their restaurants. New York already has a ban in place. Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Boston are considering similar action.

Beginning in January 2006 the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) required manufacturers to include a listing of trans fats on the Nutrition Facts labels on their products. Consumers can scan these panels and make healthy eating decisions. While not required, many restaurants provide details about trans fat in their menu items when requested.

To limit the intake of trans fat:

  • read the Nutrition Facts label before you buy a product
  • compare similar products as they may differ in trans fat amounts
  • replace trans and saturated fats with the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)
  • check to see if trans fats are present in dietary supplements and other unsuspecting foods
  • ask about fats used in meal preparation when eating out

The human body needs fat for energy and to aid in the absorption of vitamins. In our foods good fats help provide flavor and make us feel full. Choosing the right fats and reducing the intake of trans fats are good first steps to better nutrition.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff