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Monday, October 24, 2005
In principle, it should be easy to avoid synthetic trans ftas. After all, humans did without them (except the small amount found in meat) until the early 1900s. But now it's more complicated because packaged and convenience foods-especially cookies, cakes, crackers, chips, and other snacks-are ubiquitous and usally loaded with trans fats. Trans fats are also found in many restaurant and fast foods, certain cereals and even some energy and nutirition bars.

Since the updated trans fat labeling is strictly voluntary until 2006, how do we know what foods to avoid now? If we stop eating margarine, fried foods such as doughnuts and French fries, and certaine prepared foods, we'll cut out at least half the trans fats available in the American diet.

Here are some additional strategies for lowering your intake of trans fats:

** Be label savvy. If a product lists shortening or partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil as one of its first ingredients, it has a lot of trans fat. Avoid it, or eat only a very small quantities.

** If you're eating out, beware of foods fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Some fastfood restaurants list nutrition information on wall posters or make it available in a handout.

** Do some math. Some labels include enough information to allow you to figure out trans fat content, even if it's not listed. If the grams of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat are given, add them to the grams of saturated fat and subtract the sum from "total fat". What is left is total trans fat.

** Choose the better spreader. Generally, the softer a margarine is at room temperature, the better-that is, the lower in trans fat. One that's labeled trans fat-free is your best bet. Or try using olive oil on your bread or cooked vegetables. If you must choose between butter and a margarine whose trans fat "credentials" are not clearly marked, gow ith the butter. Products that are free of trans fat usually feature that fact prominently on the label and gram, trans fats are worse than the saturated fats in butter.

** Fry and saute wisely. Use canola oil or olive oil. And be on the lookout for "true but-tricky" advertising in restaurants and on packages of frozen fried foods. Food that's fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils is often labeled "cholesterol free" and "cooked in vegetable oil".

** Make it yourself. Trans fats are also found in unexpected places-commercial breads, soups, cereals, bean and other dips, and packaged entrees. Whenever possible, make these foods from scratch, using nonhydrogenated fats.

(Source: "The Harvard Medical School Guide to Lowering Your Cholesteral" by: Mason W. Freedman, MD, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School with Christine Junger)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:13 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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