You might not think so, but this is the math used everyday by food companies.
When it comes to food labels, any amount less than 0.5 g can be written as 0 grams. This is an important difference – Trans Fats are so bad for you the FDA has banned them from all foods starting in 2018!
What is Trans Fat?
There are small amounts of natural trans fats in some meat and dairy products, but trans fats are typically found in man-made partially hydrogenated oils.
What’s the Big Deal?
High intake of trans fats is directly correlated to higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (low density lipoprotein or LDL).
Why does this matter? Higher levels of LDL increases your risk for heart disease.
In 2013, the FDA determined that trans fat was not safe for consumption. They stand by this statement so much, that in 2018, foods will not be permitted to contain industrial trans fats.
The FDA hopes that this will prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease every year!
Where are Trans Fats Found?
Trans fats are often hidden under the guise of partially hydrogenated oils and can be found in processed goods such as spreads, crackers, cookies, cakes, biscuits, frozen pies, microwave popcorn, margarine and more.
Look at the nutrition label under the saturated fat to find out if your food contains trans fats. Even if it says “0 grams,” it actually contains small amounts (less than 0.5 g) if partially hydrogenated oils are in the ingredient list!
A second fat to watch out for is saturated fats. Because of the heightened awareness of trans fats, many companies are swapping for saturated fats, which are still not ideal.
Saturated fats also raise LDL cholesterol (“bad”) cholesterol which leads to risk of heart disease and even stroke.
Saturated fats are found naturally, especially in meat and dairy products along with in baked goods and fried foods. Saturated fats are unavoidable in an ordinary diet, but it is recommended to be as low as possible.
The American Heart Association recommends that saturated fats are limited to 5-6% of your daily calories.
Ready, Set, Action:
Don’t wait until 2018 to prevent heart disease! Instead, choose foods without trans fat and with lower saturated fats.
Here are 5 easy swaps you can make to help you with this journey:
#1 = Peanut Butter:
- Ingredients: Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Less than 2% of: Hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed and rapeseed), Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil (aka Trans Fat).
- The Stats (per 2 Tbsp. serving): 210 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 8 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates.
Better: Adams Natural Peanut Butter
- Ingredients: Peanuts, Contains 1% or less of: Salt.
- The Stats (per 2 Tbsp. serving): 200 calories, 16 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 8 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates.
- Ingredients: Dry Roasted Almonds.
- The Stats (per 2 Tbsp. serving): 190 calories, 16 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 7 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates.
#2 = French Fries:
- The Stats (“Large” 255 g serving size): 770 calories, 41 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 3.5 g trans fat.
Better: McDonalds Large Fries
- The Stats (“Large” 168 g serving size): 510 calories, 24 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat.
- The Stats (233 g serving size): 283 calories, 14.6 g fat, 2.1 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat.
- Look at the recipe here.
#3 = Frosting:
- Ingredients: Sugar, Water, Vegetable Oil, Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils (aka Trans Fat), Mono- and Di-Glycerides, Polysorbate 60), Cocoa Powder Processed with Alkali, Corn Syrup. Contains 2% or Less of: Corn Starch, Salt, Invert Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramelized Sugar (Sugar, Water), Caramel Color, Acetic Acid, Sodium and Pyrophosphate, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate.
- The Stats (per 2 Tbsp. serving): 140 calories, 6 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat.
- Ingredients: Sugar, Water, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Palm Oil, Corn Starch, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Canola Oil. Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Distilled Monoglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate.
- The Stats (per 2 Tbsp. serving): 130 calories, 5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat.
Best: Homemade Skinny Frosting
- Ingredients: Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Nonfat Milk, Honey, Vanilla Extract.
- The Stats (per 2 Tbsp. serving): 84 calories, 1.3 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat.
- Check out the entire recipe here.
#4 = Microwave Popcorn:
- Ingredients: Whole Grain Popcorn, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (aka Trans Fat), Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavor [Milk], Color Added, Propyl Gallate.
- The Stats (2 Tbsp. Un-popped): 170 calories, 12 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat.
- Ingredients: Whole Grain Popping Corn, Palm Oil, Sea Salt, Butter, Mixed Trocopherols, Natural Flavor.
- The Stats (2 Tbsp. Un-popped): 130 calories, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat.
- Ingredients: Organic Popcorn Kernels, Sea Salt.
- The Stats (2 Tbsp. Un-popped): 80 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat.
#5 = Breakfast Sandwiches:
- The Stats: 500 calories, 31 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 6 g trans fat.
- The Stats: 310 calories, 19 g fat, 9 gram sat fat, less than 0.5 g trans fat (Contains PHOs)
- The Stats: 315 calories, 18 g fat, 6 sat fat, 0 g trans fat
- Find the recipe here!
What swaps have you made to choose healthy fats and protect your heart? Comment below!