Nutrition Information


Focus on Trans Fat


There's no doubt--carbohydrates have taken center stage in public discourse about dietary practices. You can't turn on the TV, open a newspaper or walk past the office water cooler these days without hearing a debate about this nutrient du jour. Recently, however, increasing attention is being given to an all but forgotten part of our diet. Move over, carbohydrates: fat is making a comeback in the headlines. More specifically, trans fat.

Of the four types of dietary fat (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans), the focus recently has been on trans fat. Abundant in margarine, shortening, packaged baked goods and French fries to name a few, trans fat is a widely used ingredient for food manufacturers because it is cheap and contributes to increased shelf life. It is listed as "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" and "vegetable shortening" on product ingredient lists.

Hydrogenation is the process of heating an oil and passing hydrogen bubbles through it. The fat's density is increased, and food manufacturers use it frequently because it gives products a richer butter flavor. Saturated butter is much more expensive to use, so manufacturers reduce costs by using partially hydrogenated oils.

Partially hydrogenated oils, however, have a much different effect on the body than even the demonized saturated fats. We all know that we need to limit saturated fat in our diets, but specific amounts, although small, have been deemed acceptable, and even help to facilitate a variety of processes for the body. Trans fat, however, provides no positive effects whatsoever.

Studies have consistently shown that trans fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol. It contributes to clogging of the arteries and type 2 diabetes. Trans fat has also been linked to an estimated 30,000 or more premature heart disease deaths each year.

In March 2004, the Food and Drug Administration updated their website pages concerning trans fat and regulations concerning labeling laws. Although the FDA first proposed trans fat labeling in 1999, it wasn't until July 2003 that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced the new trans fat ruling. Even then, the guidelines proved to be less than acceptable to health experts who were pushing for immediate regulations: the ruling gave manufacturers until January 1, 2006 to comply.

Some food manufacturers, however, have already started listing the ingredient on their nutritional labels, and the FDA has responded to these changes for consumers with trans fat info and guidance to understanding the new labels. See the FDA website at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/transfat.html#unhide).

Issues of further contention exist, most notably because the FDA is choosing not to list a % Daily Value (%DV) for trans fat. Although it admits that scientific reports show a link between trans fat and coronary heart disease, the FDA states that none of these studies have provided a specific reference value. This has enraged anti-trans fat advocates, who consider the decision not to list daily values a cop-out due to pressure from the food industry, not to insufficient evidence of harm (check out http://bantransfats.com/ for a comprehensive and excellent review of the latest trans fat advocacy issues).

Unlike the FDA's specific daily requirements for both saturated fat and cholesterol already in place, some experts feel this lack of specificity for trans fat allotment in our diet is akin to allowing the consumer to believe that any amount is acceptable. Thus, the possibility of a veritable free-for-all on trans fat consumption is feared.

The race is now on for food manufacturers to produce foods free of trans fat

In April 2004, Kraft Foods announced the introduction of three new brands of the popular Oreo cookie containing zero grams of trans fat. Other manufactures will surely follow suit and it is likely that we will be seeing an explosion of trans fat-free (although not necessarily nutritious) products, particularly snack foods.

Since we have a while to wait until all manufacturers are required to change their product labels, consumers need to know how to recognize trans fat in products to reduce intake. Read every ingredient label before a product is purchased. If the list contains the words "partially hydrogenated," you know it contains trans fat. Shortening and margarine almost always contain trans fat. This knowledge is particularly important with regard to processed foods, since they usually contain a large amount of ingredients, most with long, odd looking and hard to pronounce names. For further guidance on how to avoid trans fat in products, check out Dr. Gabe Mirkin's website (http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/N185.html), an excellent resource on nutrition and trans fat info.

Conflicting as it may be, we'll always be inundated with media attention on the latest focus on nutrition. But we still need to be aware of the facts concerning our health. Coverage on fats was all the rage in the 80's, for the last decade all we've heard about is carbs. What's next? Well, there's always protein.

About The Author

Jon Gestl, CSCS, is a Chicago personal trainer and fitness instructor who specializes in helping people get in shape in the privacy and convenience of their home or office. He is a United States National Aerobic Champion silver and bronze medalist and world-ranked sportaerobic competitor. He can be contacted through his website at http://www.jongestl.com.

jongestl@jongestl.com


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


WXYZ

Nutrition has a greater impact on bone strength than exercise
Science Daily
University of Michigan researchers looked at mineral supplementation and exercise in mice, and found surprising results -- nutrition has a greater impact on bone mass and strength than exercise. Further, even after the exercise training stopped, the ...
University of Michigan study: Nutrition has greater impact on bone strength than exerciseWXYZ

all 86 news articles »


New York Times

Nutrition
New York Times
How much attention do you pay to your diet? Do you read nutrition labels? Do you eat at chain restaurants that post information about calories and nutrients — and do you read those signs if so? In general, how healthy would you say your diet is? How ...



Progressive Grocer

Fairlife Smart Snacks Nutrition Shakes
Progressive Grocer
Fairlife has launched its line of Smart Snacks nutrition shakes, snack-sized beverages designed to help curb hunger between meals. Made with Fairlife ultra-filtered milk – dairy milk that has been cold-filtered to remove lactose while delivering 50 ...

and more »


Market Journal

Quinn on Nutrition: Nutrition do's and don'ts
Monterey County Herald
On a recent airline flight, one of the attendants ended her string of instructions with this: “That does it for the do's and don'ts. Make sure you do the do's and don't do the don'ts and everything will be just fine.” Good advice, I'd say. Here are ...
GRN RESEARCH PVT LTD | LinkedInLinkedIn
World Ready Meals Market Research Report 2023 (covering USA, Europe, China, Japan, India, South East Asia and ...MarketResearchNest.com

all 63 news articles »


Lima Ohio

Quinn on Nutrition:
Lima Ohio
Some refer to it as “cultured” or “cell-based” meat. Others call it “fake” meat. What is it? It's a new technology to grow meat in the laboratory and it may show up in the meat sections of our supermarkets someday soon. Cultured meat has nothing to do ...



KRWG

NMSU develops new food science, human nutrition Ph.D. program
KRWG
A new Ph.D. program being developed at New Mexico State University will give students the opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in food science and human nutrition, and will benefit New Mexico-based food processors and human nutrition organizations ...



Undark Magazine

Is It Ethical for Nutrition Scientists to Accept Industry Money?
Undark Magazine
Conflicts of interest from such funding are damaging nutrition science, Nestle says, by skewing research toward producing data more useful for marketing purposes than for basic science or public health. Still, Nestle isn't entirely unsympathetic to why ...



Phys.Org

Protein derived from cottonseed for human nutrition one step closer to reality
Phys.Org
Rathore said cottonseed, with about 23 percent protein content, can play an important role in human nutrition with the gossypol eliminated, especially in countries where cereal/tuber-based diets provide most of the calories but are low in protein content.
Edible Cottonseed Research At Texas A&M Receives Key USDA Approval | Texas A&M TodayTexas A&M Today - Texas A&M University
USDA APHIS | USDA Announces Deregulation of GE Low-Gossypol CottonUSDA APHIS
Rathore, Keerti S. | Institute for Plant Genomics & BiotechnologyInstitute for Plant Genomics & Biotechnology - Texas A&M University

all 114 news articles »


SELF

7 Ways Experts and Influencers Can Make Their Nutrition Advice More Inclusive
SELF
Aside from falling short of being able to produce sustainable results, a lot of the recommendations I see on wellness influencer social media and in mainstream nutrition just aren't accessible, either because they're blanket, one-size-fits-all ...



Forbes

Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete Calls For Improved Nutrition In Africa
Forbes
Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has called on African leaders to develop sound policies and take actions to address nutrition challenges in Africa. Giving his keynote address on Tuesday at the Nutrition Africa Investor Forum (NAIF) in Nairobi ...

and more »

Google News

home | site map
© 2007