How the New Trans Fat Ban Will Affect You (and the Foods You Love)

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, m01229

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, m01229

U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finalized it: No more trans fats.

Partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS for use in human food. Food manufacturers will have three years to remove PHOs from products. This means that PHOs may no longer be added to food after June 18, 2018, unless they are otherwise approved by FDA.

Why Trans Fat is Bad For You (and where you can find it)

Trans Fat is a liquid fat that is turned into a solid, by a process called hydrogenation.

Consuming trans fat increases LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol and decreases HDL (aka “good”) cholesterol – both are risk factors that lead to coronary heart disease, according to the CDC.

Trans fat is used to give foods a different texture/shelf-life.

“In this case, it has become clear that what’s good for extending shelf-life is not equally good for extending human life,” writes Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Trans fat is most commonly found in:

  • Processed foods
  • Fried foods
  • Snack foods, such as chips, crackers & cookies
  • Margarine & salad dressings
  • Pie crusts
  • Frozen pizza
  • Coffee creamers

Do You Know This Trans Fat Trick?

Even if you think you’ve managed to avoid trans fat, you may still be accidentally eating it.

Credit: Jessie Inchauspe

Credit: Jessie Inchauspe

A common trick among food marketers is to splash the words “0 trans fat!” across the packaging – but in US supermarkets, if a product has less than 0.5g of trans fats per serving, the FDA allows the food label to read ‘0 grams trans fats per serving’.

This measure is misleading, among other tricks food marketers use to get you to buy more. These hidden servings of trans fats can add up quickly, especially since most products containing them make sure the serving size is small enough for the ‘0 trans fats’ label to be allowed.

How to spot them: Remember to look for any mention of ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oil. This directly implies the presence of trans fats, despite what the packaging claims.

What’s Next?

This ban was a long time coming. In 2013, the FDA made a tentative determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils could no longer be considered GRAS. This determination came after considering public comments.

As America continues to examine the connection between what we eat and our health, you can be sure to see more changes in the food industry, from removing artificial ingredients to providing more informative nutrition labeling, to reducing sugar additives.

The quality of your food matters.

How WellnessFX Can Help

Curious About Your Fat Stats?

The best way to know your health risks is to get a blood test. Once you know where you are on the risk scale, you’ll know what lifestyle changes you should incorporate. If you re-test after approximately four months, the time it takes for blood cells to regenerate, you’ll know if your changes have been working.

Testing lipid levels is great for understanding baseline cardiovascular health – we have options to test basic cardiovascular health biomarkers, such as your Triglycerides and ApoB, or to test advanced heart health biomarkers, such as the lipid particle number and size.

You can dive even deeper to see your omega fatty acid levels. For this we recommend a WellnessFX Omega Panel, which measures the levels of essential fatty acids in your blood, and tests the ratio of the most healthful omegas (omega-3s) to other omegas (omega-6s). When these levels are optimized, they have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and many other inflammatory diseases.

Eliminating trans-fats and optimizing the levels of omegas in the blood can vastly improve your health.

Get a Blood Test

To learn more about fat and food additives, check out:

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.