Trans fats are extremely unhealthy and have no known health benefits. Trans fats increase LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and may decrease HDL (the “good” cholesterol), which increases your risk for heart disease and plaque build up in the arteries.
There are 2 types: 1. Trace amounts naturally occurring in meat and dairy 2. Man made and artificially added to foods in the form of partially hydrogenated oil (hydrogen is added to liquid oil turning it into a solid fat)
The one you need to focus on is artificial trans fat.Current recommendations are to keep yourtransfatty acid consumption as low as possible; I encourage my clients to consume zero grams of artificial trans fat.It’s often used in packaged goods as it is inexpensiveand increases the food’s shelf life, stability and texture.It’s used in restaurants because they can keep it in their fryer and it does not have to be changed as oftenas other oils.
According to the FDA, a food can bear the label “trans fat free” if it contains less than .5 grams per serving size.Just looking at the nutrition facts label isn’t good enough, because many foods list 0 grams but in reality are <.5 grams. All of those little .5 grams oftransfatcan add up significantly.There is a FDA proposal to ban artificial trans fats, but until that would take place,the easiest way to avoidtransfatis to read the ingredient list and avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oil.See the label below for coffee creamer, a food that at first glance looks like it contains no trans fats.
Since it has been announced how unhealthy trans fats are, many food companies have reformulated their recipes to remove the trans fats. Many, however, have not.
Trans fat are mostly found in baked goods, cakes,crackers, granola bars,cookies, pizza dough, pie crusts, pudding, boxed cake mix, hot chocolate,ready to eatfrosting, chips, popcorn, fried foods, refrigerator dough, coffee creamer and stick margarine. Brands such as Smucker's, Hostess, Little Debbie, Poptarts, Kellogg's, Hamburger Helper, Stove Top, Nabisco, Jiffy, Quaker, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Duncan Hines, Nestle and Jimmy Dean all still have artificial trans fat in some of their products.
You can stay safe by shopping at Whole Foods (they removed all artificial trans fat from the products they sell), purchase Trader Joe's brand foods (free of artificial trans fat) or become a label reader.
Knowing all this, it DID surprise me to find trans fat in these 5 foods:
These are advertised as a "sensible dessert to finish your day".
So much for "plain" bread crumbs containing "just" bread crumbs.
Baked with care? Or baked with trans fat?
Quite the oxymoron to list "Heart Healthy Whole Grains" on the box. (Note: not all oatmeal have trans fat; the trans fat in this oatmeal comes from the added Creamer).
Trying to make a quick, healthy breakfast? Make your pancakes from scratch or choose one of the many brands that are trans-fat free.
1. Utilize the weekend. Look at your schedule and think about the upcoming week. Will you be traveling any days? Will you go out for lunch or bring it to work? Dinner plans with family or friends? What meals do you need to make? What snacks do you want? What do you want for breakfast?
2. Survey the kitchen. Look at what is in your refrigerator and cabinets so you know what you have on hand and what staples you are out of. Look at websites and cookbooks and plan out what you want to make for the week; Cooking Light is a great resource. Think about foods that can be used twice (for example, can you use the quinoa for dinner Tuesday night and also have for lunch Wednesday?) Look for crock pot and freezer recipes; these are so easy. Don't make it difficult on yourself! If you see recipes you like but may not be making this week, print them out and keep them in a folder in the kitchen to refer to at another time. Have a chalkboard or notebook handy where you write your meals and snacks out for the week. Also, add to this when you are out of a staple item to remind yourself the next week to shop for it. A visual is very helpful and helps keep you organized.
3. Shop off your list. Divide your grocery list into where you would find it in the store to make it easier for yourself. Go to a few places if necessary to get exactly what you need. Think about your budget and be realistic with how much time you have to shop. Have a high protein snack before you shop; often when we shop hungry we impulse buy unhealthy foods. While shopping, shop only off your list. Don't be swayed by deals, specials, samples or something that just "looks good."
4. Prep your Food. Come home and prep your food immediately. Wash and cut vegetables and fruit and put in small ziploc bags. (If you don't think you will do this, it's so much better to buy pre-cut produce. The extra money is worth it if you know yourself and you won't actually cut a whole head of cauliflower or peel and cut mangoes, etc.). Cook your proteins. Make side dishes. Make entrees and freeze them for later in the week. Take the large container of almonds and divvy into smaller bags. The more you do today the easier it will be on a weekday when you are much busier.
5. Congratulate yourself! Great work on being organized and planning for the week ahead. You will most likely save money and eat healthier. It's a win-win!
This is the first of my weekly emails! Every Friday I aim to start your weekend out right with 5 Nutrition Tips.
Today my "5" are 5 tips for Creating a Healthy Salad. Pick one (or more!) foods from each group!
1. Start with a Foundation of Greens. There are so many great greens. Switch it up. Try romaine, arugula, frisee, spinach, kale, dandeion, mesclun greens, spring mix or any mix of green lettuces. Limit iceberg which lacks many nutrients.
2. Add More Vegetables. Every vegetable has it's own nutrient profile. Switch it up so you don't get bored. Look for new varieties at both the grocery store and farmer's market. Besides the every day carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers try: fennel, watercress, hearts of palm, artichokes, sugar snap peas, beets, green onions, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, onions, and/or sun-dried tomatoes.
3. Add Protein. This makes it a meal to help keep you full. Add animal sources: lean meats (lean beef, boneless skinless chicken, turkey), fish (wild salmon, tuna, crab, shrimp), eggs or dairy (feta, goat or mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese). You can also add vegetarian sources: beans (kidney, edamame, garbanzo, pinto, black, navy), lentils, tofu, tempeh or seitan. Limit the high fat cheeses and bacon bits.
4. Add Carbohydrates. This gives you energy! Try healthy grains (quinoa, farro, freekah, brown rice pasta, barley, bulgur, amaranth, brown rice, sweet potatoes), or fruit (berries, melon, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, peaches, figs, pomegranate seeds, dried apricots). Skip the dried fruit laden with sugar and white, refined grains (croutons, tortilla strips, white pasta).
5. Add Healthy Fats. Fat is essential to absorb the nutrients in your veggies. Try a sprinkle of seeds (flax, chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin), avocado, oil and vinegar dressing or unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans, pine nuts), tahini, pesto or olives. Make your own healthy salad dressing (1 part oil + 1 part vinegar + herbs (garlic, lemon, dill, parsley, mint, cilantro, mustard, basil).